Shane Hopkins, Dan Jinkerson, Matt Davis and Mike Miller bring home Placerville Speedway wins on Mtn. Democrat Kids Night
By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA – June 22, 2019…Last season’s Placerville Speedway Rookie of the Year Shane Hopkins put together 25 perfect laps on Saturday to claim his first career Winged 360 Sprint Car victory in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd on Mtn. Democrat Kids Bike Night.
Also sharing victory lane on Saturday were Dan Jinkerson with the Jay’s Mobile Welding & Fabricating Pure Stocks, Matt Davis with the Ltd. Late Models and Mike Miller with the Mini Trucks. All four classes featured entertaining racing during the night and over 60 kids went home with brand new bikes thanks to the generosity of several companies and individuals.
The Thompson’s Family of Dealerships Winged 360 Sprint Car main event came to the line with Hollister’s Tony Gualda and Shane Hopkins sharing the front row. At the waving of the green flag the action was fast and furious as Hopkins jumped out to the lead. The Placerville racer found the high-side of the speedway to his liking and ran it to perfection keeping the field at bay. Auburn’s Andy Forsberg then moved past Gualda into second and hounded the rear tail tank of Hopkins’ machine.
Working lapped traffic, the leaders went high and low to get around the slower cars until a caution came out on lap 13. Billy Butler had spun in turn four and Forsberg had nowhere to go, contacting the stalled car. He was able to keep going but fourth running Gualda suffered a flat tire that forced him to the work area. When going back green Hopkins got a great restart and gapped the field, as Forsberg, Kalib Henry and past track champ Steven Tiner went at it for the runner up spot. With five laps left however, Henry got into a spin that forced him to the rear of the field.
Hopkins went on to lead the final five circuits without worries and crossed under the Ron Stahl checkered flag for that elusive first Winged 360 Sprint Car victory. Forsberg crossed the stripe in second, with Tiner, Roseville’s Jodie Robinson and Sacramento’s Stephen Ingraham putting together a solid run to round out the top-five. The top-10 was filled out by Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan, Calistoga’s Mike Benson, Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli, Elk Grove’s Bubba Decaires and Lincoln’s Tanner Carrick.
The evenings B-main was picked off by Tanner Carrick, while the four heat races held went to Shane Hopkins, Bubba Decaires, Stephen Ingraham and Tony Gualda. Kalib Henry began the night by pacing the 29-car field in ADCO Driveline & Custom Exhaust qualifying with a lap of 10.920 around the quarter-mile.
The Jay’s Mobile Welding & Fabricating Pure Stocks once again provided a thrilling main event with side-by-side racing the norm during the 20-lapper. Kevin Jinkerson and Scott Grunert made up the front row and proceeded to battle back and forth for several laps up front. Dan Jinkerson, Nick Baldwin and Ryan Peter also fought hard for position just behind the top-two over the first half of the race.
The complexion of the feature then changed when Grunert got over the turn two banking and came to a stop, bringing out the yellow. Dan Jinkerson had yet to lose in his starts this season at Placerville Speedway and he certainly showed why, as he carved his way to the front and held off all challengers. Nick Baldwin didn’t make it easy on him, but Jinkerson crossed the checkered to snag his fourth victory of the season. Baldwin, Peter, Kevin Jinkerson and Jason Palmer completed the top-five. Two heat races were held during the night that went to Dan Jinkerson and Nick Baldwin.
The Ltd. Late Model feature was all about Matt Davis, who got out front and dominated the 20-lap contest to record his first win of the season. Despite Davis having his way with things out front the racing behind him was entertaining with Jay Norton and Ray Trimble fighting tooth and nail for the runner up spot. As the laps wound down Tyler Lightfoot joined the mix as well. When the checkered flag dropped following Davis were Norton, Lightfoot, Trimble and Dan Brown Jr. in the top-five. The lone heat race was won by Ray Trimble.
The Mini Truck division continues to showcase exciting racing for the fans while competing the normal way around the speedway on this night. Mike Miller started on the pole and ultimately captured the A-main, but it certainly did not come easy as numerous trucks fought their way to the front of the field. Close and competitive racing was seen throughout the 20-lapper and even featured a little bumping and banging at times. Chris Curtis had captured the most recent Mini Truck event and looked to make it back-to-back as the race wound down.
Mike Miller was smooth as glass up front however and took the checkered by just 0.351 seconds for the margin of victory over Curtis. Ryan Murphy, Sam MacFadyen and John LittleJohn rounded out the top-five. Miller also captured the lone heat race during the night.
The Placerville Speedway is right back at it next Saturday June 29th with one of the biggest events of the season. The King of the West-NARC Fujitsu 410 Sprint Car Series and the Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards are set to tackle the track for the “Marcel Cassulo Classic” in what will be a can’t miss night of racing. Online tickets are available for the much-anticipated show at www.placervillespeedway.com
Photo courtesy of Jason Tucker Photos