Crockett takes round eight of Civil War at Placerville PLACERVILLE, CA 6-28-03 - Wrapping up the first half of the 14-race season, The Hoosier Racing Tires California Sprint Car Civil War Race Series returned to Placerville Speedway Saturday night for the eighth round of competition. Stepping aboard Paul Silva's #57 sprint car, Roger Crockett of Eugene, Oregon posted his first series victory of the season at second win of the season at the quarter mile oval on the Eldorado County Fairground.
Starting the event on the outside of the second row, Crockett, the 1998 Civil War Series champion, wasted no time whatsoever powering to the front of the field as he took the high line of the track and immediately passed Steve Fehrman of Grass Valley and Calistoga's Mike Benson to overtake the bridesmaid position behind pole sitter Ricky Wondergem. After shadowing Wondergem for much of the opening lap, Crockett continued to use his high line driving style to move into the lead position upon completion of the opening lap and never look back.
While Crockett distanced himself from the field by more than half track lead prior to the four lap mark, eighth place starter Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove was the only other driver in the 20-car field at the time who was driving on the risky high line of the track while the remaining 18 hugged the low groove in search of any remaining moisture on the foothill clay that quickly fell victim to triple digit temperatures. By utilizing the high side of the track, DeCaires maneuvered his way into the second position to chase down Crockett in lapped traffic, remaining ahead of heated battle for the next four positions between Destiny Hays, Wondergem, Scott Russell and Chuck Gurney Jr. of Livermore.
In the closing laps, DeCaires closed within a car length of Crockett in lapped traffic to no avail as Crockett went on to post the win ahead of DeCaires who earned his second top three finish in as many events. The closing laps had local favorite Russell working the third position before spinning in the fourth turn and relinquishing the position to Gurney who powered his way up from the 10th place starting position. David Robinson powered his way up from the rear of the line up to finish fourth ahead of Elverta's Steven Tiner who rounded out the top five.
"We were really good running up top out in the open," said Crockett. When we got into traffic and I just couldn't see the cushion and few guys were trying to run out there which made it even worse I was afraid if i stayed up there too long someone else was going to come along and get around me. "
With his second place finish, DeCaires likely takes over the point lead of the series. The top finish was the former Silver Dollar Speedway champion's second in as many weeks after winning at Calistoga last weekend. "I am usually a bottom feeder here at Placerville so I thought tonight I'd try to get this car around the top tonight, my crew's been harassing me about poking around down on the bottom for a long time now," said DeCaires. "Everything is coming together for this team this month. I want to thank Roger for getting through the traffic safely He did a great job and led the way for me, I was just hoping nobody would slide me on the bottom. We're moving up in the series and it looks like its going to be a point battle all the way to the end."
In preliminary action on Saturday, heat races were won by David Robinson Jr. and Jeff Halleib both of Auburn. Stephen Allard won the third heat of the night with Shingle Springs resident Marc Mackay picking up the win in heat four. Jeff Parady earned the victory ahead of Sacramento's Kyle Schild. in a 10-lap C-main that was plagued with insignificant cautions. In the B-main, DeCaires muscled his way up from the fourth starting position to take the win in 12-laps ahead of fellow transfers Jim Vanlare, Destiny Hays and Russell.
Next week racing moves to Friday night July 4 for the annual Independence Day Spectacular. After several weeks off, championship point racing returns with Pacific Sprints, Pro Stocks and Pure Stocks competing in a full program which concludes with a fireworks display in conjunction with the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.