SACRAMENTO, Calif. (May 19, 2016) – Just days ago, the motorcycle racing world was buzzing around the first Mile race of the 2016 AMA Pro Flat Track season, where Bryan Smith scored a dominating victory and left his rival and second-place finisher Jared Mees more than 12 seconds behind in the Arizona dust. Now, the show rolls into California and the Cal Expo Fairgrounds for the Sacramento Mile with the excitement reaching a fever pitch.
Round 5 of the AMA Pro Flat Track season, set for this Saturday, May 21, will be the 51st running of the iconic Sacramento Mile.
Smith will ride the all-new black and green Kawasaki Ninja 650 and try for his sixth-consecutive Sacramento Mile victory Saturday in the elite Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class. He set the consecutive win record with his fourth-straight win at the Cal Expo in 2014 and won the contest in nail-biting fashion again a year ago, proving that he’s capable of grinding out the close races as well as winning by a landslide.
This weekend’s Sacramento Mile is the second of four consecutive Mile events on the 2016 schedule, as the series will roll into Illinois for the legendary Springfield Mile and then Remington Park for the Oklahoma City Mile for rounds six and seven, respectively. The series will also cap off the season with two Mile events, bringing the total number of long tracks to six in 2016.
The upcoming schedule spells blood in the water for a Mile shark like No. 42. If he’s able to keep the heat up on his opponents during this stretch, he should hold a firm grip on the GNC1 points lead at the season’s midway point and be in great position to capture his first-career championship at season’s end. Right now, Smith sits fourth in the standings after four rounds of action.
Smith’s biggest on-track rival and defending GNC1 champion, Mees, secured a runner-up finish in Arizona, and he enters Sacramento sitting second in the point standings. The No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson rider has won three of the last four GNC1 championships, and is on pace to be in contention for another one in 2016.
Another rider aiming to knock Smith off his mile-high pedestal this weekend in Sacramento is Brandon Robinson. The Pennsylvanian came within milliseconds of beating Smith to the line in last year’s Main Event in the Golden State, but he fell just short – 0.02 seconds to be exact – of capturing the checkered flag. This year, Robinson is off to another strong start on all-new equipment, as he switched from Triumph to Harley-Davidson during the off-season, and he’ll look to improve on his fifth-place position in the point standings aboard the No. 44 Kennedy Racing machine on Saturday.
Despite finishing fifth in last weekend’s Law Tigers AMA Pro Arizona Mile, Sammy Halbert remains top dog in the GNC1 point standings heading into Sacramento. The No. 69 BriggsAuto.com Harley-Davidson pilot hasn’t finished outside the Top 5 so far in 2016, and he’ll look to carry over that momentum and remain consistent in California.
Entering Round 4 third in the GNC1 point standings is Jake Johnson. The No. 5 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson pilot and two-time GNC1 champion finished eighth in Arizona for his worst finish of the season, but he still looks sharp and he’s always a threat to go the distance every time he takes to the track.
It’s been a rough start to the season for the Factory Harley-Davidson Team, as Brad Baker and Davis Fisher have had some struggles through four rounds. GNC1 class rookie, Fisher, has failed to make a Main Event aboard the No. 67 Harley-Davidson in either of the two twins races thus far, and Baker is coming off 17th and 6th-place efforts. There’s no denying the world of talent that both Baker and Fisher possess, as it has been on full display in recent seasons, and Baker’s sixth-place position in the point standings isn’t the worst spot to be in, but the tandem need to have a strong Sacramento performance if they want to be in the championship discussion later on this year.
Henry Wiles and Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. sit seventh and eighth in the GNC1 point standings after four rounds, with Cory Texter catapulting into the Top 10 after his career-best third-place finish in Arizona last weekend.
Dalton Gauthier earned his second GNC2 win of the 2016 season — and the breakout professional flat track win for BMW — last weekend in Arizona and his victory has him sitting pretty atop the GNC2 point standings after four rounds. Gauthier hasn’t finished worse than fourth in any race so far this year.
Ryan Wells will enter Round 4 in Sacramento second in the point standings, and he, too, has been very consistent early on in 2016, as he hasn’t finished outside the Top 5 in any race so far.
Kolby Carlile, Brandon Price and Jamison Minor round out the top five in the GNC2 points and only three points separate the trio from each other.
Clash of the Titans III
Scott Parker had some of his most memorable AMA Grand National victories on the legendary Sacramento Mile and on Saturday, May 21, he will return to Cal Expo to take part in the Clash of the Titans III, an exhibition against his former hero and rival and fellow Flint, Michigan native Jay Springsteen. It was Springsteen who won the first two Clash of the Titan events over Chris Carr and is looking for three in a row at this year’s event.
The 51st running of the Sacramento Mile will take place this Saturday, May 21, and every session will be live streamed in high definition and free of charge at FansChoice.tv. Fans that can’t make the trek to the Cal Expo Fairgrounds this weekend are invited to tune in at http://www.fanschoice.tv/ama-pro
The day’s on-track festivities will begin with practice and qualifying at 2:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. ET), followed by an Open Paddock and Rider Autograph Session set for 5:00 p.m. PT (8:00 p.m. ET). A special Pre-Race Show will air at 5:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. ET) and then Opening Ceremonies will kick off the night’s racing activities at 6:30 p.m. PT (3:30 p.m. ET).
The field will qualify through a series of Heat and Semi races, whittling down the field to the best of the best for the night’s GNC2 and Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Main Events. The GNC2 Main Event will begin at 8:45 p.m. PT (11:45 p.m. ET) followed by 18 of the world’s fastest flat trackers in the GNC1 Main Event at 9:10 p.m. PT (12:10 a.m. ET).
To purchase tickets to the Sacramento Mile, please visit http://www.sactomile.com/tickets.
The World of Outlaws and the USAC Western States Midgets make their return to Placerville Speedway on Wednesday, March 23rd for the 2nd Annual running of the ‘Placerville Short Track Showdown’ Presented by Riebes Auto Parts.
“I grew up watching races here when I was younger, and this is one of the first couple of race tracks I ran on when I started my Sprint Car career”, Promoter Brad Sweet said about bringing the two powerhouse short track organizations to Placerville’s 1/4 mile clay oval. “This place is special to me. I won the first big race of my career here with the Civil War Series when I was 15 or 16. As a fan, I’ve always wanted to see the World of Outlaws run at Placerville. It’s a short 1/4 mile high banked track, and I know that is what the California fans want to see. There was an opportunity to try it last year, and fortunately it was successful enough to do it again this year.”
The unique setting of Placerville Speedway provides great visibility from any seat in the house. “The fans here love it”, Sweet stated enthusiastically. “They are right on top of the action, because it’s built on the hill. There really isn’t a bad seat in the place. You can be anywhere and see all the action. We’re bringing the best drivers with the World of Outlaws and USAC here, and if we get the track right, I think the fans will leave smiling for sure.”
Despite inclement weather in the forecast before the race, Sweet is pleased with the forecast for the day of the race. “Luckily we’ve had a great forecast for the event both years”, Brad acknowledged. “We will do whatever it takes leading up to the event to get it in. We have such a great atmosphere here at Placerville. The fans have bought tickets in advance, and we want to provide them with the best show possible on Wednesday night.”
In addition to the usual grandstand seating, extra seating has been added again this year. “Last year the place was pretty full, and we maxed out the capacity”, Brad stated. “But this year we’ve brought in six or seven hundred more seats, we’ve added bleachers on the back stretch. I know that in the main grandstand there aren’t a lot of great seats left, but if you come Wednesday, there will be plenty of general admission seating on the hill. There will be food up there, and picnic tables, and you’ll be able to walk around the pits and see all the drivers. With spring break going on, we encourage everyone to bring the kids out. We have a great family atmosphere here at Placerville Speedway.”
After learning from his first promotion last year, Sweet has made some changes to the event, including raising the purse and bringing in a support series. “I make my living as a race car driver, not as a promoter”, Sweet stated matter of factly. “I didn’t want to have the drivers think I am here making money on them, so, instead of paying a midweek purse, we are paying a full World of Outlaws purse, $10,000 to win.
Sweet is hopeful that the ‘Placerville Short Outlaw Showdown’ turns into an annual must see event. “We upped the laps for the fans, this year will be a 40 lap race, and we brought the USAC Western States Midgets to add to the show. We hope to make this a yearly deal, but it’s hard to say if we can be successful enough to keep it going. But, we have a lot of momentum on our side. We are looking forward to Wednesday night to see how many people come out to support it.”
Also adding to the flavor of the event, Brad will be on hand, along with other drivers from 11:00AM to 1:00PM on race day at the local Placerville Riebes Auto Parts store displaying his race car and signing autographs. The store is located a short distance from the raceway at 2885 Ray Lawyer Drive in Placerville.
The Kasey Kahne Foundation will be holding a special 50/50 raffle on race night, and will be giving away 750 items to the race fans in attendance Wednesday night, including koozies, stickers, pens, rulers, and other items, such as an autographed die cast, autographed race worn driving shoes, and a women’s jacket.
The 2nd Annual “Brad Sweet Presents the Placerville Short Track Outlaw Showdown” is Wednesday March 23, with the pit gates opening at 2PM PST. The Will Call ticket office will be open at 2PM as well, with the grandstands opening at 4PM. Qualifying begins at 6:30PM. Tickets for the event can be purchased at dirtcar.ticketforce.com
Join the over 7000 followers of Placerville Speedway on Facebook, where you can interact with fellow fans, drivers, and staff. You can also find Placerville Speedway on Twitter for schedule updates and more by following us @pvillespeedway. In addition, Placerville Speedway is now on Instagram. Please follow us @PvilleSpeedway.
Placerville Speedway is located on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds at 100 Placerville Drive in Placerville. The racing facility is operated by Russell Motorsports Incorporated, which can be reached at the track business office at 530-344-7592.