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Cox, McDaniel, Jinkerson take opening night race victories

By: By Gary Thomas, Special to the Telegraph
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Cox, McDaniel, Jinkerson take opening night race victories

The Red Hawk Casino championship season fired-off on Saturday, April 22 at the Placerville Speedway and ended with Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox headlining the night’s winners, following a clean sweep of the action with the Winged 360 Sprint Cars.


Also sharing victory lane at the weekly point race opener on Saturday were Ryan McDaniel in the Ltd. Late Models, Dan Jinkersen in the Pure Stocks and Craig Dillard with the Bay Cities Racing Association Midget Lites.

Cox put together a perfect night aboard the familiar Berco Redwood No. 31c machine, leading all 25-laps of the feature, en route to winning the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged Sprint Car opener.

Things did get interesting towards the end, as he missed his mark slightly at one point, jumping the cushion in-between the first and second corners. He was able to gather things up and continue on in the lead however, eventually taking the checkered flag for his second career Placerville Speedway win.

“My guys gave me a great car all night long and it’s a pretty awesome feeling to come out on top tonight,” Cox said to track announcer Brad Kennedy in victory lane. “I love racing at Placerville Speedway and want to thank all the fans for coming out tonight. I also want to send a huge thank you to everyone that supports this 31c race team.”

Visalia’s Steven Tiner won out in a great late race duel with Elk Grove’s Greg Decaires to come home in the runner spot. The pair traded second multiple times over the closing laps while racing just behind Cox. Roseville’s Colby Copeland and Placerville’s own Jimmy Trulli completed the top-five.

A total of 20 Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprints signed into the pit area for the opening point race. Heat race wins went to Justyn Cox, Kirt Organ and Steven Tiner. Cox also set the ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time by clocking an 11.267 around the quarter-mile.

Ryan McDaniel battled his way to the lead in heavy traffic during the Ltd. Late Model main event to bring home victory on opening night.

At the waving of the green flag in the feature Matt Micheli jumped into the lead ahead of McDaniel, with an entertaining fight at the front of the field seen early on, as Micheli held command. The major moment of the race occurred on lap 13 though when Micheli was pinched off by a lap car and McDaniel made a tremendous move to thread the needle and grab the top spot.

McDaniel eventually took the checkered flag over Micheli, Ray Trimble, Paul Guglielmoni and Tom Tilford in the top-five. Twelve Ltd. Late Models were in action during the night with the two heats going to Matt Micheli and Paul Guglielmoni.

The Pure Stock division provided an exciting main event and saw Dan Jinkersen come out on top after scooping up the lead on lap-two. Jinkersen’s race didn’t come without drama however, following a lap 16 incident that saw a lapped car tag him in the rear, resulting in a complete 360 degree spin.

At that same time a yellow flag waved for another competitor though, which allowed him to keep the lead. Jinkersen eventually took the win followed by reigning track champ Nick Baldwin, Orville Owens, Jason Palmer and Scott Grunert.

Twenty-one Pure Stocks were on hand during the night with heat wins going to Mike Lightfoot, Scott Grunert and Jason Palmer.

Craig Dillard charged from the outside of the second row into the lead on the opening lap and cruised to victory with the BCRA Midget Lites. Dillard’s biggest challenge came on lap eight when Hunter Kinney motored to his inside, only to have contact ensue and result in Kinney getting upside down. After that it was Dillard up front, who took the win ahead of Terry Bergtrom, Scott Kinney, Jim Ridell and Emilee Lindgren.


A total of eight BCRA Midget Lites were on hand with the lone heat race going to Hunter Kinney.

The Placerville Speedway is located on the nearby El Dorado County Fairgrounds. The track will return to action on Saturday April 29 for the second Red Hawk Casino championship point race with Wingless Spec Sprints, Ltd. Late Models, Pure Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  Find more information at