By Bill Sullivan, Handy Racing Promotions
PLACERVILLE, CA (6-25-11) – Defending track champion and current point leader Andy Forsberg of Auburn redeemed himself as Placerville Speedway’s ‘Mr. Excitement’ Saturday night as point racing returned to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds’ quarter-mile clay bullring following a two week break. Forsberg led every circuit of the 25-lap feature event during the ninth Fast and Furious Dirt Track Racing Championship event of the season.
After qualifying fifth and finishing third in his preliminary heat race, Forsberg earned the pole position in Saturday’s Hoosier Racing Tires feature race. With Placerville posse members James Sweeney, CJ Humphreys and Marc Mackay surrounding him in the first two rows and Chico’s Brett Miller joining Forsberg’s rival Sean “The Shark” Becker one row back, Forsberg was well aware he would need to power the F&F Racing #X1 sprint car out in front early and protect himself within lapped traffic as quickly as possible after the green flag waved.
Muscling ahead of Sweeney out of the first set of turns, Forsberg did exactly what he needed to and pulled into a moderate lead as Humphreys overtook Sweeney for the second position in the opening laps. Mackay’s front running position fell short early when he went upside down to draw a red flag and end his night with damage.
With four laps into the race, fifth place starter Miller worked his way around Humphreys for the bridesmaid position. Shortly thereafter, Becker worked his way up from sixth place in the fourth position and was setting his sights on Forsberg with Placerville’s Scott Russell close behind.
With 12 laps down, Becker overtook Humphreys for the third position and a battle ensued between Humphreys and Russell in his wake. While Forsberg fended off Miller and Becker in traffic, the local battle for fourth between Humphreys and the ‘Wreckin’ Ball’ heated up. It all came to an end on lap 14 when their hard side by side racing resulted with Humphreys colliding with the front stretch wall, ending the ‘Happy Camper’s’ night not so happily with front end damage.
Once the race resumed, Forsberg continued his dominate lead while Becker moved into second place with five laps to go. At the finish line Forsberg earned his first home track win of the season over Becker, Miller, Colby Wiesz who started 11th and Russell who rounded out the top five.
In the Limited Late Model division a new rivalry appears to be brewing between defending track champion Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley and Galt’s Les Friend. On this given night, both previous feature event winner started side by side on the front row and the brewing war between the two drivers gunning for the track title came out of the ditched and to the front lines.
Friend took the lead out of his second place starting position and was looking for his third feature win of the year. Brown closely pursued “The Hitman” from the opening lap. With six laps into the 15 lap event Friend drove hard into the turn while Brown drove even harder and fender to fender to fender contact ensued that resulted in Friend spinning out of the lead and Brown powering into it.
Once in front, Brown maintained his lead by running the lower, middle groove of the track where he held off the hard charging efforts of Thomas “on the gas” Arbogast of Auburn and Auburn’s Matt Davis who was racing hard in the third position until late in the race when Friend muscled his way back into the top three.
At the finish line Brown took the win followed by Arbogast, Friend, Davis and Jason Englund of Citrus Heights. As Brown took a victory lap and prepared to park his car on the front stretch for his trademark bow to the crowd, Friend turned his car around in turn two and came back around where he addressed Brown with a finger pointing that razed the local crowd who loves the rivalry of his division. Brown refrained from the routine bow in the wake of the event and both drivers returned to their respective pit areas.
In the Pure Stock division, Clarence Holbrook III of Galt posted his fourth win of the season. The green flag saw Dominic Stone of Folsom power out of the second position and overtake pole sitter Rick Grunert of Woodland for the early lead. Grunert would trail the leader for the first six laps of the race, at which time Holbrook moved into the bridesmaid position after starting third.
As the race reached its halfway point, Holbrook overtook the lead on the 10th lap over Stone. Once in front the current point leader and winningest driver of all three divisions never relinquished the top spot. Stone maintained the second position all the way to the finish line to earn his best career finish. Defending champ Chris Curtiss of Placerville drove from the 8th position to finish third while Grunert finished 4th ahead of Nevada City’s Burney McClure who started 12th and survived a mid race collision with his son and teammate Mike McClure to round our the top five.
This coming Saturday, Placerville Speedway returns to action in grand patriotic fashion as they join in the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Blast Party for a night of racing followed by fireworks. For the first time ever this special night will feature the California Sprint Car Civil War Series as they compete in their seventh round of competition. The winged warriors will be joined by fire breathing dirt modifieds that will compete in “Mini Modified Madness” for the first time this year.
The gates will open one hour earlier than normal on Saturday night at 4 p.m. Qualifying is set to begin at 5:30 with racing kicking off at 6. p.m. Adult tickets will be $17, Seniors are $14, Juniors are $12. All children for this event are free admission. For further information visit www.placervillespeedway.com where you can also learn about advanced ticket sales for the upcoming ASCS Bullring Nationals July 29th, 30th. Additional information can also be obtained by calling the track business office at (916) 783-DIRT.