Nearby Placerville Speedway will honor a late Folsom man that was one of the sport’s racing legends this Saturday night with the “Tilford Tribute” race. The event is in honor of the late Donnie Tilford, who was highly successful during his time as a race car driver and local business owner.

The special race will act as the season opening for the El Dorado County Fairgrounds quarter-mile dirt track after three recent rainouts. Divisions competing will include IMCA Sport Mods, the Anrak Ltd. Late Models, the Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks, Mountain Democrat Mini Trucks and Vintage Hard Tops. 


Tilford was a longtime Folsom resident and area contractor. He lived in Folsom and he owned and operated Tilford Excavating that was based in nearby Orangevale. During his time behind the wheel, Tilford was one of the most beloved stock car drivers in the history of Placerville Speedway and one of the fiercest behind the wheel.

Tilford’s love was racing Stock Cars on the dirt. He began racing in 1971 at the age of 17 at Placerville Speedway and was a highly successful driver winning numerous open shows, main events and championships. He continues to be the all-time leader in Stock Car victories at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds quarter-mile, having claimed 71 checkered flags in the division.


In 1991 Tilford hung up his helmet and dedicated his time in the sport mentoring, sponsoring and help numerous drivers find success behind the wheel, including the next generations of his own family that followed in his footsteps.  

Tilford succumbed to heart complications, and passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 58 on March 18, 2014.


“This weekend’s event will be a perfect way to honor one of Placerville Speedway’s great legends,” said Placerville Speedway track promoter Scott Russell. “We look forward to hosting the show while showcasing our Ltd. Late Models, Pure Stock and Mini Truck divisions, along with welcoming in the IMCA Sport Mods for the only time this season. We hope everyone can make it out for what should be a tremendous night of racing at the Donnie Tilford Tribute.”


Saturday’s season opening event marks the first show held under the new title sponsorship of Berco Redwood-Berry Lumber. Grandstand seating is general admission this Saturday April 20th, except for the reserved seats marked for season ticket holders. Adult tickets cost $18, while seniors 62+, military and juniors 12-17 will be $16. Kids 6-11 cost $8 and those five and under are free.

Purchase tickets online at or at the gate on race day. Pit passes can be purchased at the pit gate or via the Pit Pay App to take advantage of the expanded seating area on the hill.


The pit gate will open at noon, with the front gate opening at 3pm. Happy Hour is offered when the gates open until 6pm in the grandstands featuring live music along with discounted Coors Light and Coors Original at the beer booth. The pit meeting will be held at 4:45pm with cars on track at 5:15. Hot laps and racing will follow.

For those who can’t make it to the track, CaliDirt.TV will provide live flag-to-flag coverage of every Placerville Speedway point race this season. The live streaming service also includes each event with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour. Fans can purchase through a cost savings monthly membership or on a per race basis via

Placerville Speedway is located on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville, California. Take Hwy US-50 to Forni Road/Placerville Drive exit. Then go north on Placerville Drive to the Fairgrounds. The physical address is 100 Placerville Dr., Placerville, CA 95667. For more information on the Placerville Speedway log onto

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan

Bill Sullivan has over 25 years of professional journalism and content creation experience in which he has earned 37 professional awards. He is the co-founder/publisher of Folsom Times an All Town Media LLC product.