Andy Forsberg Wins the Forni Classic at Placerville Speedway

By Bill Sullivan, Handy Racing Promotions, Inc. Media Relations

PLACERVILLE, CA (7-16-11) – Saturday was a special night at Placerville Speedway as the evening paid tribute to the late friend of the speedway, Mark Forni. At the end of this much anticipated night of competition, three different drivers took home the largest winnings of the year and the bragging rights to winning a race that is now one of the elite events annually at the 46 year old dirt track in the Sierra Foothills.

Andy Forsberg from Auburn, winner of the Forni Classic sprint car race. Photo by Donna Peter.

When the checkered flag flew on Saturday’s 25 lap winged sprint car feature, defending track champion and current point leader Andy Forsberg of Auburn added a new accolade to his already stellar racing resume. Forsberg led every lap of the affair to bring home the $5000 victory aboard the F&F Racing Team #X1 sprint car.

“This is really special to win this race in honor of Mark Forni,” said Forsberg. “I’m not going to stand here tonight and tell everyone that I knew him well and he was my best friend or anything but I know of all the great things he did for this race track. I had the opportunity to meet him before his passing and he was a great guy from a great family and winning this race is about a lot more then just the money that all these great people put up every year. I really want to thank everyone involved with this race.”

Last year, Mason Moore of Princeton was the hired gun behind the wheel of the F & F Racing #X1 that Forsberg drives today. In the 2010 Forni Classic, Forsberg was chasing down Moore and ended up going upside down in the effort. One year later he was hoisting the crystal trophy in victory lane with the team owned by Alan Bradway and Steve ‘”Tooch” Tuccelli that is known for big wins at Placerville.

“I was chasing this car in this race last year when I ended up on my head,” said Forsberg. “Who would of thought they would end up putting me in this thing the next year. I really have to than Alan and Tooch and this whole team for the car they give me to race each week. On any given night this thing is ready to win and the rest is up to me. Sometimes I come through; sometimes I don’t and tonight was one of those really good nights for us as a team.”

After earning the fast time award Saturday night and finishing fourth in his heat race, Forsberg started on the pole of the 25-lap feature with his track rival and two time Forni Classic Champion Sean Becker of Roseville on the outside.

At the waving of the green flag the two time Placerville Speedway champion powered into the lead as Becker trailed him from the opening green until the checkered flag. Becker made several attempts to catch Forsberg in traffic that were no avail as a number of caution flag insured a clear for Forsberg all the way to the victory.

While Forsberg and Becker ran their own race out in front, the action behind them was even hotter. Fifth place started Chad Compton of Fair Oaks powered up to the third position midway through the race until he was overtaken by Placerville’s Scott Russell who started in the sixth position and was motoring his way to the front in the final laps. At the finish line it was Forsberg followed by Becker, Russell, Compton and Colby Wiesz of Colfax.

“I know a lot of people have their opinions about winning from the front and they like to call me Andy “Polesberg,” said Forsberg. “But let tell me you at this place the pole doesn’t do you any favors because you’re in traffic so fast. I hope everyone comes back here in two weeks for the ASCS Nationals and you’ll see some incredible racing.”

Chris Curtiss from Placerville, CA, winner in the Pure Stock division. Photo by Donna Peter.

In the Pure Stock division Saturday night, Placerville’s Chris Curtiss was one driver in the field with close family ties to Forni. The defending track champion has a great deal of competition on this evening with 21 cars in attendance and everyone driving their hardest for the $1000 win, an amount that is pretty unheard of when it comes to Pure Stock racing.

Nevada City’s Burney McClure was the first driver into the lead at the start of the 20-lap feature event. McClure started on the outside of the front row while Curtiss started back in the 8th position. In the early laps McClure was challenged by point leader Clarence Holbrook III of Galt along with Mike McClure of Nevada City and El Dorado’s Dennis Armstrong. After racing hard with Armstrong for the fourth position for several laps and avoiding a turn two crash that involved Holbrook, Curtiss closed in on the leader prior to the halfway point.

With seven laps complete, Curtiss overtook Mike McClure for the second position and closed in on the lead. Two laps later he went to the inside of the second turn to power his way into the lead he would never relinquish. Once in front, Curtiss was pressured for the rest of the race by the father and son McClure duo but maintained his line all the way to the checkered flag where he finished ahead of Burney McClure, Mike McClure, Rick Grunert and Scott Grunert.

“This is really special to win this race not only for me but for my whole family, Mark Forni was very close to my wife Megan and her family and to win a race in his honor I am almost at a loss for words,” said Curtiss. “The competition was pretty tough tonight with the added money. This is definitely the biggest win I have ever had I don’t think anything else can every replace it.”

Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley, winner in the Limited Late Model division. Photo by Donna Peter.

The Dirt Solutions Limited Late Model division had an inflated purse on Saturday as well, paying $1000 to the winner in an event that was co-sponsored by Arbo-Tech Body and Paint of Auburn. A total of 13 cars turned out for this race in an effort to cash in on the added winnings and in the end it was the defending two time champion, Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley taking home the biggest payday of his racing career.

“This is definitely a big win for us tonight,” said Brown. “A lot of cars for this division and a lot of money. I was fortunate to get a good starting spot up front because everyone was driving pretty hard tonight for this win. I really have to thank all my sponsors and my parents for all their support with this car each week. This extra money is really going to help out so a big thanks to everyone who put that up for us tonight too.”

After a wild race two weeks ago between Brown and Galt’s Les Friend, the two started side by side on the front row of Saturday’s 20-lap feature event. At the waving of the green flag, Friend jumped into the initial lead with Brown in his wake. It was just a matter of gaining momentum for Brown, who took the lead from Friend on the seventh lap in the second turn.

Once Brown was in front, Friend stayed within striking distance for much of the race and the two rivals drove a hard clean race all the way to the checkered flag. Brown was first to the line followed by Friend, Matt Davis of Auburn who started seventh, Jason Englund of Citrus Heights and Yuba City’s Jerry Bartlett who rounded out the top five.

The three track regulars were joined on Saturday by the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars. In this division a field of 11 cars competed in a 15-lap feature race. Kevin Bender was the early leader as we went to battle with Ryan Winter. Winter found his way around Bender to still the lead and the eventual win. At the finish line Winter was followed by Bender, Mike Grenert, Josh Hiatt and Shawn Salisbury.

Placerville Speedway will go dark next Saturday as Handy Racing Promotions prepares for the biggest in over a decade to come to El Dorado County. It’s the first ever Bullring Nationals featuring the top national drivers of the American Sprint Car Series in a two event July 29th and 30th. All seating is reserved for this event and tickets are now on sale with two day ticket packages at $55. Added seating has already been brought into the pit area of Placerville Speedway and additional enhancements will be taking place in the coming week for this event that brings some of the nations best drivers and national media attention to the 46 year old track at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

Over the next two weeks watch for an in depth look at what’s to come with this first ever race of it’s type, a look at the drivers that will be coming here for the first time ever and some of the legends that will be going up against many of the local heroes in one of the most anticipated races in Northern California. To reserve your tickets contact the office of Handy Racing Promotions at 916-783-DIRT.

In addition to the race, a post race party will be presented on Friday, July 29 will feature a free concert and dance after the checkered flag waves to the music of The Pick Ups. Ice cold beer and soda will be on tap along with the active 20/30 club tacos and a mechanical bull. On Saturday a pre race festival will take place on the grounds featuring breakfast followed by la concert on the green by the pick ups, lunch featuring the 20/30 club tacos, corn hole tournaments, a classic car show and an autograph session featuring all of the local drivers and the national ASCS touring pros. Watch for all of the information on this coming event.

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