By Bill Sullivan, Handy Racing Promotions, Inc. Media Relations
PLACERVILLE, CA (7-17-10) – The past two seasons have had their ups and downs for Princeton’s Mason Moore and the Roseville based FnF Racing team. After being sidelined for much of last season due to serious back injury, Moore has been on the upward climb towards victory in recent weeks with the strong support of this veteran team and their faith in a very talented young driver. Saturday night the term “teamwork” was defined in grand fashion when Moore won the richest race of his career, the Mark Forni Classic at Placerville Speedway.
“I am so proud of Mason and this entire team here tonight, this is just incredible,” said Steve Tuccelli, co-owner of the famed Friends and Family racing team with Alan Bradway. Tuccelli had just been soaked in champagne showers along with Moore in victory lane before a very supportive crowd at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. “Last year was tough for all of us but we have always believed that we have one of the best drivers in the sport in Mason, we believed in him from the start and now you can see why. He did an outstanding job tonight, this whole team did.”
Tuccelli is no stranger to being in victory lane with a winning driver. Prior to Moore taking over the driver’s seat of the famed #X1 sprint car, David Robinson Jr. drove the team to numerous victories and championships, as did former track champion Colby Wiesz. Now, Moore has scored his first memorable win with the team in the grandest fashion possible, a win worth $5000 thanks to multiple members of the business community that came together for the fifth straight year to present the richest race of the year in the name of the late Mark Forni.
“I can’t thank everyone at FnF Racing enough for then opportunity they have given me and how they have stood behind me these past two seasons as I get back in shape,” said Moore, who sat out much of 2009 following his injury while FnF parked their car and patiently waited for their driver to heal. “A lot of teams wouldn’t have done what they did for me. It’s really special to be able to get this win for them tonight. They gave me a great car tonight and wow, $5000 this is awesome.”
Moore started on the pole of Saturday’s feature event at shot into the lead at the waving of the green flag. Once in front, the driver known as “Primetime” began to distance himself from the field and approached lapped traffic as early as the fifth lap. Moore used the lapped traffic to his advantage much of the race, creating a buffer between second place Herman Klein and third place Sean Becker for much of the event.
In the closing laps of the 25-lap affair, both Klein and Becker cleared the slower cars and engaged a heavy pursuit on Moore but time was of the essence. Moore’s strategy of working into the heavy traffic early paid off in the form of a $5000 payday. Klein finished in second place followed by two time Forni Classic winner Becker, Colby Wiesz of Colfax and Andy Forsberg of Auburn who charged from 18th to fifth place.
The Dirt Solutions Limited Late Models raced for a $1000 bounty on Saturday night with added funds from the Forni Classic bankroll and an additional $250 courtesy of Dirt Solutions. In this event, Matt Davis of Auburn drove to his second win of the season and the richest victory in history for this growing division.
“This is great to win this one, I couldn’t be happier,” said Davis. “We had a good close race out there for almost every lap. This division is really fun and really exciting and it’s getting a lot of interest out there. By next year I think we are going to have some pretty strong car counts in this class. I really want to thank Tom Arobogast and Dirt Solutions for the extra money tonight, I wish he and I could have raced more for it. It’s unfortunate that he broke tonight.”
Davis started the feature event in the fifth starting position. The green flag saw Matt Micheli of Live Oak work his way past pole sitter Dan Brown Jr. for the lead. Micheli drove a somewhat distant lead early in the race until Brown and Davis closed in once again. After Davis overtook Brown for second a heated three car battle ensued for the lead with Davis slipping beneath Micheli for the lead on the backstretch with nine laps down. When the checkered flag waved six laps later Davis was followed across the line by Micheli, Brown, Jay Norton of Cameron Park and Arbogast.
Pure Stock action ended in the name of Tilford for the third straight week at Placerville on Saturday. Matt Tilford of Citrus Heights claimed his second straight win of the season aboard the number 92 stock car owned by his brother Tom, the feature winner on the Fourth of July.
Tilford started sixth in the line up on Saturday night and quickly found his way into second place behind early leader Michelle McClure of Nevada City and Chris Van Roekel of Grass Valley. With six laps complete McClure’s early healthy lead came to a sudden end when she spun in the second turn and Van Roekel took the lead with Tilford narrowly missing McClure and taking second place.
Once the race was restarted Van Roekel was challenged by Tilford and fell victim to such pressure on the eighth lap when Tilford executed a masterful slide job of the fourth turn that put him in a lead he would never relinquish. In the end Tilford was followed by Van Roekel. John Ohnmacht and Jared Vilt charged up from the last row to finish third and fourth ahead of point leader Chris Curtiss.
“Two in a row and tonight was a big one,” said Tilford, who picked up $550 for the win. “I really want to thank all the sponsors of this team for their help and my brothers for everything they put into it. It’s been great to come back like this. I think I’m fired though, my brother Tom said tonight he wants back in the seat so I guess we’ll see if he can win two this year now and match me. I really want to thank the added sponsorship tonight for the Forni race, it’s really appreciated.”
Saturday’s race was the brainchild of the friends and family of Mark Forni five years ago after he lost his life to cancer at the early age of just 45 years old. The Forni Family has a great history with the El Dorado County Fairgrounds as it was built on the land that was once part of the Forni homestead. As a child Mark Forni fell in love with the sport of auto racing. As an adult he became an avid support of the local racers and later became a member of the El Dorado County Fairboard.
When Forni passed away in the sprint of 2005 one of El Dorado County’s greatest servants of community service was lost but his legacy lives on with this incredible event that is a race designed to reward the local drivers that support their local speedway. From the response of the crowd Saturday night, the event continues to be a success. Karen Forni-Feathers and much of the Forni Family gathered on the infield of Placerville Speedway Saturday along with Chuck Sept, Mark Forni’s childhood friend who volunteers countless hours into putting together this event in honor of his late friend.
“I cannot not believe we are standing here tonight and it has been five years since we started this,” said Forni. “I cannot thank all of you enough for what you have done to honor Mark here. The fans, the drivers, everyone at Placerville Speedway and Chuck Sept. I can tell you all that Mark would be absolutely overwhelmed if he was standing here right now. Your support and dedication to what he loved is absolutely incredible. Thank you, all of you.”
Racing action returns to Placerville next Saturday night with a special event that will feature the return of Dirt Modifieds to the quarter-mile clay oval along with Late Models, Pure Stocks and the exciting Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprint Car Tour.
On Saturday July 31 another rich night of racing returns to Placerville Speedway with the annual Tribute to Al Hinds Civil War Race at Placerville. This event will pay $3000 to win and features a giant race car show and bbq at Family Auto Center in Shingle Springs early in the day. Drivers and teams are being sought to participate in this event and should rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information visit www.placervillespeedway.com.