By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA – August 25, 2018…Auburn, California’s Andy Forsberg started from the pole in the main event and held off a late-race bid from Justyn Cox to snag his fourth Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Car win of the season on Saturday night.
Also sharing Placerville Speedway victory lane during “Campora Propane Night” were Maria Cofer with the BCRA Midgets, Fred Ryland with the Sport Mods and Cody Dingess with the Mini Trucks.
Forsberg shot to the lead at the waving of the green flag in the 25-lap Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Car feature and held a steady advantage early on, as cautions plagued much of the contest. Lincoln’s Tanner Carrick was fresh off his first career Sprint Car victory the night before and started applying the heat to Forsberg after several laps. The biggest moment of the race occurred on lap 13 when the lapped car of Bubba Decaires got sideways and eventually tipped over right in front of the leaders.
Forsberg got a slight piece of the action and suffered some top wing damage but was able to continue. The same couldn’t be said for Carrick however, who contacted Decaires’ machine and came to a stop. Carrick restarted from the rear and eventually went on to finish 11th. The remainder of the race saw last weeks Mark Forni Classic winner Justyn Cox come hard after Forsberg trying to find a way by. His best shot looked to be in lapped traffic, but a red flag with three circuits remaining took that chance away.
When the green waved for the final time Cox kept pace and got a great run on the final lap to make up ground but couldn’t get by and the Friends & Family Racing X1 crossed under the Kenneth Newberry checkered flag for victory. The big night allowed Forsberg to wrap up his sixth career Winged 360 Sprint Car title at the Placerville Speedway, tying Brian Crockett for the most all-time. It also marked his 20th overall championship in Northern California.
Cox finished in the runner up spot, with Roseville’s Sean Becker, Visalia’s Steven Tiner and Hollister’s Tony Gualda rounding out the top-five. Kalib Henry, Jodie Robinson, Shane Hopkins, Matt Petersen and Mike Benson rounded out the top-10.
The ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award to start the evening was set by Tony Gualda at 10.781. A total of 23 Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars signed in during the night. Heat races were picked off by Andy Forsberg, Justyn Cox and Tanner Carrick. The B-main went to Shane Hopkins.
The traveling BCRA Midget main event was all about Maria Cofer, who dominated the evening’s action en route to a clean sweep. Cofer jumped to the lead in the feature and did feel pressure from Robert Dalby the first couple laps, but after that she was able to check out and hold the field at bay.
The only other challenge she had was from David Prickett, as he looked to steal the lead away at one point. Just two cautions waved in the 20-lapper and Cofer eventually picked up the win over Prickett, Dalby, Randi Pankratz and Marvin Mitchell. Nine BCRA Midgets signed into the pit area with the lone heat race going to Cofer. She also set the standard in qualifying with a lap of 12.043 around the quarter-mile.
The Sport Mods were on hand for the final time this season and put on a good show in their 20-lap contest. Tom Tilford and Aaron Crowell battled side-by-side for the lead over the first couple laps, before Crowell assumed the point. Fred Ryland began making moves in no time from his ninth starting position. Ryland battled to second following a lap 10 restart and then set his sights on the leader. He reeled in Crowell and on lap 14 made a beautiful power move around the outside of the second corner to grab the top-spot.
Ryland went on to claim the win over Crowell, Andrew Peckham, KC Keller and Tilford. A total of 11 Sport Mods were on hand for their last appearance of the season. Heats went to Andrew Peckham and Guy Ahlwardt.
Arguably the race of the night went to the Mini Truck division, which had the crowd in a frenzy all main event long running in reverse direction on the speedway. Tom Stanwood claimed the initial lead but had a hungry pack of trucks behind him going three-wide. John LittleJohn made a bid for the lead on lap four but couldn’t make it happen, as you could throw a blanket over the seven cars in action. A crash up front took out the leaders on lap-eight and it moved LittleJohn into the lead. Corey Eaton then made his presence known and charged past LittleJohn to take over p1 on lap 10.
Newcomer Mike Moore was also exciting the crowd running the high-scary line of the Placerville Speedway to perfection. Moore made several bids for the lead but on lap 18 bicycled in turn three, got upside down and then miraculously rolled back over onto all fours. The biggest roar of the night from the fans came when Moore fired back off and rejoined the field with no repairs needed. On the restart Cody Dingess kept the thrilling action going as he made a final lap pass of Eaton to take home the win. Aaron Rupley, Miller and Stanwood completed the top-five. Seven Mini Trucks were in action with the heat race going to John LittleJohn.
Full results from last night can be viewed at https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1580916
The Placerville Speedway will now take the next two weekends off before resuming action in a big way. On Wednesday September 12 the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series make their much-anticipated return for the “49er Gold Rush Classic” presented by Riebes NAPA Auto Parts. Tickets are available at http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?orgid=52711&agency=WRG_SNG&eventId=29581
Don’t forget the night before on September 11 there will be a hauler parade through Placerville at 5:30pm, ending at the fairgrounds, where a kick-off party and celebration in honor of Brad Sweet recently winning the 58th Knoxville Nationals will take place. Live music will be performed by Tim Duggar with Tri-tip sandwiches and drinks for sale. Concert tickets are $5 and kids 12 and under are free.
Just a few nights later on Saturday September 15 the final Red Hawk Casino championship point race of the season will take place. All ladies receive admission for just $10 during the event. Divisions on hand for “Ladies Night” will include the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks and Dwarf Cars.
One-week after that the second annual “Nor-Cal Posse Shootout” will invade the speedway for two big nights of racing on Friday and Saturday September 21 and 22. The event is sanctioned by the Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards, with the BCRA Midget Lites also in action. Plenty of camping will be available on the fairgrounds and a post-race party will be held after Friday’s action, featuring live music and tacos/drinks for sale.
More info on all these events can be found at our website www.placervillespeedway.com