Busy sports weekend - from Squaw Valley to wine country

By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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These summer days are anything but lazy. A more appropriate word would be crazy, especially to describe this weekend.

Wheels are turning — with and without engines. Endurance athletes early today took their first steps toward Auburn, 100 miles from their start in Squaw Valley, and Little League all-star teams today will take their first steps toward their desired destination of Williamsport, Pa., 3,000 miles away.

Finally, footballs and the sound of colliding pads will fill the air tonight.

Here is a look at this weekend’s busy sports schedule:

NASCAR — The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its annual visit to the wine country for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday, in front of a crowd of about 100,000 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. Qualifying was held Friday, and practice sessions continue today.

Also today, K&N Pro Series West will run its Thunder Valley Resort Casino 200. Bill McAnally Racing of Antelope will field three cars in the 64-lap race around the 1.99-mile road course: three-time series champion Eric Holmes, Moses Smith and Paulie Harraka. Holmes has finished in the top five three times and but has yet to win at Infineon. He won the pole and finished second in 2008.

The field includes points leader Greg Pursley, road-course specialist Boris Said, Sprint Cup youngster Joey Logano and Hershel McGriff who, at 83 years of age, is the oldest driver in the history of NASCAR. McGriff has 35 career victories in the West series, including three at Infineon.

Wheelchair tennis — Sacramento Capitals 2011 brings to Johnson Ranch Racquet Club wheelchair tennis players from recreational to world-ranked status. The tournament is sanctioned by the ITF and USTA, and players are expected from Canada and Mexico, in addition to the United States.

The three-day event continues today and concludes Sunday.

Western States Endurance Run — The 38th annual event began its 100-mile ultra climb and descent at 5 a.m. this morning in Squaw Valley and ends Sunday in Auburn.

There are four athletes entered from Roseville (Carl Costas, Bruce Falzarano, Andrew Garman and Scott Warr) and four from Granite Bay (Kirk Edgerton, Carrie Hyatt, Angie Pozzi and Garry Sewell).

Optimist football — Four Roseville-area players were selected to play for the North team in the 55th annual Optimist All-Star Football Game at 7 p.m. today at American River College:

Cory Brehm was Granite Bay’s leading receiver (37 catches for 630 yards and four touchdowns) second-leading rusher (641 yards, five touchdowns, 8.1 yards per carry) last fall. He also had an 82-yard kickoff return.

Beau Smith was the favorite target of Roseville star quarterback Nick Blaser and had 43 receptions for 1,039 yards and eight touchdowns for the Tigers. On defense, Smith had 46 tackles and three interceptions.

Blake Cervantes powered Woodcreek’s running game with 1,130 yards (at 6.2 per carry) and 12 touchdowns. He also had a 99-yard kickoff return.  Timberwolves teammate Brandon Whitebear caught 15 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns as a tight end.

They’ll be North teammates with such stars as Boise State-bound quarterback Jimmy Laughrea of Rocklin and Ference Lang and James Sample of powerhouse Grant. In all, there are 12 players from the Sierra Foothill League on the North roster.

Infineon Raceway
Today: NASCAR Sprint Cup practice sessions from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 and from 10:45 to noon; K&N Pro Series West Thunder Valley Resort Casino 200 at 12:45 p.m.
Sunday: NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 at noon

American River College
When: 7 p.m.
Local players: Blake Cervantes and Brandon Whitebear (Woodcreek), Cory Brehm (Granite Bay), Beau Smith (Roseville)
Tickets: $10 adults

Squaw Valley to Auburn
When: The race began at 5 a.m. today

Johnson Ranch Racquet Club, 2600 Eureka Road, Roseville
When: The tournament began Friday and continues today and Sunday
Information: (916) 782-2300.