PLACERVILLE, CA (9-3-11) – Saturday, September 3rd marked the final Red Hawk Casino Championship point race of the season at Placerville Speedway with a four division program that had its share of wheel excitement, championship point racing drama and in the end, a large celebration in victory lane between season champions, the winners of the second annual Pepsi Big Trophy Night and the 2011 Rookie of the Year honorees.
Back in 1976, Diane Forsberg was watching her husband compete in a sprint car race at the old West Capitol Raceway in Sacramento. During that event the Auburn resident went into labor and one of the region’s most competitive sprint car driver’s was born as Andy Forsberg was undoubtedly born to race. Saturday night at Placerville Speedway, the Forsberg family celebrated a landmark season in the pit area at Placerville Speedway as the driver known as “Mr. Excitement” celebrated his third Placerville Speedway title and a landmark tenth driving title overall.
For Forsberg, the 2011 title is one of the most noteworthy. Over the winter months the five time Civil War Champion and two time Silver Dollar Speedway Champion signed as the new wheelman for the already successful F&F Racing Team owned by former drivers Alan Bradway and Steve Tuccelli. Through the years this well known team has been a powerhouse at Placerville Speedway. With the knowledge and the track record of its owners and dedicated sponsors combined with the talents of Forsberg this team was destined for this title from the first green flag of the season. Saturday, they reached that destiny.
Forsberg entered the final race of the year with a 65-point advantage over the field, clinching the title before the final race even saw a green flag. The feat was one of the most dominate title chases of this racing career. Forsberg capped the 2011 Placerville Speedway season with 10 top ten finishes, 9 top fives and 4 feature wins, more than any other driver out of the 50 different drivers that competed throughout the year.
Saturday night, Forsberg gave it everything he had to score the final win of the year. After a hard fought race with Chico’s Stephen Allard who won aboard John Taylor’s #35 sprint car, Forsberg settled as a bridesmaid Saturday night and joined Allard on the front stretch in celebration of his season success.
“I gave it everything I could to win the race tonight too but this one was Stephen’s to win,” said Forsberg. “This has been an incredible year for me with this F&F Racing Team and we aren’t finished yet. We still have a Civil War Championship to try and win and I’m hoping we can be a factor in some of these late season events at different places. I really have to thank Alan and Tooch for putting me in this car this year and my whole family for all their support they always give me. Tonight’s a great night for Auburn with my good friend Tom Arbogast winning his first championship in the Late Models, I couldn’t be happier for him tonight.”
While Forsberg had the title locked far before the night began Saturday, the contest for the Rookie of the Year was one that many eyes were on Saturday night. For much of the season, Elk Grove’s Matt Land had led the Rookie of the Year standings at Placerville over Jake Morgan of Elk Grove. Entering the feature event, Land still maintained a nine point lead over Morgan.
After being collected by Joey Magaruh in an early collision, Land rallied his way from the rear of the field to stay in contention for the honor midway into the race. With only one more position to gain to claim the title an unfortunate spin in turn four ended his night and allowed the second generation Morgan to claim the title at just 15-years-old. The rookie chase was so closely followed that Morgan received a response from the crowd as big as that of the winner and the champion.
“I really want to give credit to Matt Land tonight, we have had a great race going for this all season long. This isn’t really how I wanted to win it tonight. I would have rather raced him to the end for it and it’s unfortunate it went that way for him. He’s a good driver,” said Morgan. “I really want to thank a lot of people for helping me this year. My Dad puts so much work into this car and this team along with my grandpa and my whole family and all my sponsors. I really want to thank Alan Handy for giving us a great racetrack each week. I have loved racing at Placerville all year long.”
For Late Model champion Arbogast, the final race of the year ended with a fourth place finish, his eighth top five of the year in a season that saw two feature wins in his name. Arbogast has a stellar racing career in multiple divisions ranging from dirt modifieds to wingless sprint cars.
Saturday night, Arbogast had a great deal of pressure on him with only five points over defending two time champion Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley. The second heat race of the night laid out much of the story. Both Arbogast and Brown lined up in the preliminary event. While Arbogast had his share of close calls in the eight lap affair, Brown wasn’t as fortunate to dodge the ides of ill luck when he was involved in a collision in turn one that sent him to the pit area with front suspension damage.
Arbogast drove on to victory in that early event to increase his point lead to 10 points entering the final feature event in the division which he has helped develop with the help of his family owned company, Dirt Solutions. Arbogast finished fourth in the final 20 lap race while Brown finished in eighth place to finish second in the standings, dethroned by Arbogast after a valiant effort towards a third title.
“This is something I wanted since the beginning of the year,” said Arbogast. “To stand here tonight with my friend Andy means so much to both of our families. I’m bummed my wife and my daughter couldn’t be here tonight because they have been a big part of this all year. I’m fortunate to have such a supportive family and crew, without them I wouldn’t be here. This Dirt Solutions division is coming together finally and I’m fortunate to be standing here because any driver in this division could be here right now as competitive as this class is. We will be back next year and hopefully I’ll be standing right here again for a second time.”
In the Pure Stock division, the championship title was well up for grabs Saturday night Clarence Holbrook III of Galt had a 16-point advantage over Burney McClure of Nevada City entering the final race of the year while Rick Grunert of Woodland was in the title hunt as well, sitting in third place, just 17-points out of the lead. Dennis Armstrong of El Dorado was fourth, 21-points back from the top position followed by Woodland’s Scotty Grunert and defending champion Chris Curtiss of Placerville. Mathematically, the top six drivers in this division were still mathematically capable of winning the title.
A total of 23 cars formed the roster Saturday night, a record high for the season, causing the first B-main of the season in this division. After a hard fought battle in his heat race, Holbrook transferred into the A-feature and needed to be cautious in the 20 lap affair and keep McClure and the others in his sights to the checkered flag.
While Citrus Height’s Tom Tilford raced his way to the win Saturday night for his second straight “Pepsi Big Trophy Night” win, Holbrook was racing his way through everything from spinning cars, lapped traffic and even a little physical door rubbing from his rival McClure, Holbrook lived up to the mission and clinched the title with a sixth place finish at the checkered flag. Holbrook locked the championship and the Rookie of the Year title all in one.
“Earlier in the night I didn’t think I was going to be standing here, it just seemed like everything was going wrong,” said Holbrook. “First the heat race and almost ending up in the B-main and then in the main it seems like everyone either spun in front of me or was crashing into me. I never expected to be a champion this year, I was only going to race a few races and Les Friend talked me into coming back after I won the first four races. I have so many people to thank, my whole family all my crew guys, sponsor, my friends, the list goes on. This is just a great night for me and my family.”
While the Red Hawk Casino Championship Series has come to a close at Placerville Speedway, the lights will come on one more night on Saturday, September 24th with the return of the Civil War Sprint Car Series and the annual Tribute to Al Hinds Race. For further information on this event visit www.placervillespeedway.com