From Troy Hennig
Chico, CA — (May 18, 2012) — Sean Becker is really good. In fact, he’s one of the best sprint car drivers to ever suit up and race at the Silver Dollar Speedway. On Friday night he once again showed us all why he has to be considered the favorite to win the track championship. Becker passed Andy Forsberg going into the third turn on the last lap to win the thrilling 25-lap main event. Becker started the race in the eighth spot during the main event. It was Becker’s 39th career main event win at Chico and third victory of 2012. That puts him 6th all-time on the wins list.
Another champion was victorious tonight as Terry Schank Jr. won the 20-lap wingless main event. Jake Vantol dominated the 20-lap street stock main event. Ryan Winter picked up his second win at Chico in 2012.
RC Smith led the winged sprint car field to the green flag. Smith was impressive tonight. The family sported a brand new race car with a 360 motor for tonight’s race. Earlier in the night, Smith easily won the heat race he had entered. They should be commended for a strong night. Smith led the first three circuits until Andy Forsberg slid under him going into turn three. Forsberg passed Smith coming out of turn four and had the lead. On the next lap Brad Bumgarner moved around Smith for the second spot. Becker was picking off cars on each lap and soon was battling Bumgarner for the second position.
At the half way point, Becker drove around Bumgarner for second. The track had slicked up and the bottom was the place to be. Forsberg had a descent sized lead but was being hindered by slower cars on the track. Becker was able to close to the rear bumper of Forsberg on lap 20. The final few laps saw Forsberg stick to the bottom of the track and show good patience. However, when the white flag waived, Forsberg went to the outside of Matt Shelton coming out of turn two. By doing this, Becker snuck to the inside and raced Forsberg for the lead. Give Becker credit, he drove deep, but didn’t force contact with Forsberg. A lesser driver would have plowed through Forsberg. Forsberg lost traction and spun the wheels. Becker snuck by on the inside and won the race coming out of turn four. Forsberg struggled to get around back to the finish line and lost out on second place to Bumgarner. Mason Moore had another solid drive to finish in the fourth spot. John Michael Bunch rounded out the top five. It was his second week in a row that Bunch was a top car. Bunch also won his eight lap heat race.
Jake Vantol did a wonderful job tonight in winning the 20-lap street stock main event. He also won his heat race. He was as impressive as I can remember. The main event saw a lot of spins because of the tricky track that developed in turn four. Two of the top competitors had mechanical problems as Phil Marino and Corey Hall each were not able to finish the race. Taking advantage of their misfortune was Bill Patterson. Patterson avoided all the spins and secured the second place finish. Shawn Smith finished in the third spot. Kevin Ward beat Bill Hall to the fourth spot. The tricky track took its toll on Bill Knoop as he spun in turn four and collected Richard Workman and Brian Powell on the opening lap. Other heat race winners included Phil Marino and Knoop.
Terry Schank Jr. dominated the 20 lap wingless sprint car main event. He led all 20-laps and scored his second win of the year at Chico. Brett Youngman finished in the second spot. Schank also won the only heat race while Youngman finished second again. Travis Moore came across the finish line in the third spot. Rowdy McClennon finished fourth. Brent Steck rounded out the top five.
Ryan Winter took over the lead on lap eight during the 20-lap Dwarf Car main event. From there, he was able to lead the final 12 laps. Winter scored his second win of the year at Chico. Shawn Jones was impressive all night and finished second. Mike Grenert started eighth and finished third. Jeremy Blackshere had a solid night and finished fourth. Kevin Bender had a good race and came home in the fifth spot. Grenert and Blackshire each won their heat races.