By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA – September 14, 2019…Auburn, California’s Andy Forsberg performed a rare double on Saturday at the Placerville Speedway by claiming his 65th career Winged 360 Sprint Car victory at the track, along with his first ever Mini Truck triumph during “Ladies Night” at the races.
Not only did Forsberg accomplish that but he was also able to wrap up his seventh Thompson’s Family of Dealerships Winged 360 Sprint Car championship on the red clay. It was certainly a strong season for Forsberg and the entire Friends & Family Racing X1 team en route to the title.
Also picking up victories on Saturday were Dan Jinkerson with the Jay’s Mobile Welding & Fabricating Pure Stocks and Ben Wiesz with the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association. Nick Baldwin locked up his second Placerville Speedway title with the Pure Stocks, while Ryan Murphy scored his first with the Mini Trucks. With the Dwarf Cars Mike Grenert came out on top of the season-long championship battle that went right down to the wire.
The final 25-lap Thompson’s Family of Dealerships Winged 360 Sprint Car feature of the season turned out to be a barnburner with 16-year-old Jodie Robinson jumping into the lead at the waving of the green flag. Track prep prior to the main event gave drivers multiple grooves to utilize and the first 18-laps clicked off non-stop in exciting fashion. Andy Forsberg took over second from Tony Gualda on lap four and then inched in on Robinson as traffic came into play.
The solid crowd on hand was treated to some fantastic racing in lapped traffic between the youngster Robinson and the veteran Forsberg. “Mr. Excitement” threw everything he had at her trying high and low, but the daughter of multi-time track champ David Robinson Jr. kept him at bay each time. The complexion of the race changed with 18 laps down however, when Robinson and a lapped car made contact. It sent both spinning, but the Roseville driver kept going to maintain the lead as the caution waved for the stalled car.
On the restart Forsberg blasted around the high side of the speedway to take over the lead from Robinson that he would never relinquish. The 43-year-old future Hall of Famer pulled away from the field and crossed under the Ron Stahl checkered for his seventh overall Placerville Speedway triumph of the year. Gualda and Robinson began to mix it up after the restart with the Hollister driver eventually getting the better of it to tally a second-place finish and match his career best result at the track.
Elk Grove veteran Bobby McMahan came on strong over the final laps to narrowly beat out Robinson for third at the stripe, with Roseville’s Sean Becker in fifth. Completing the top-10 were Justin Sanders, Blake Carrick, Shane Hopkins, Steven Tiner and Kalib Henry. A strong field of 34 Sprint Cars were in action getting ready for next week’s Nor-Cal Posse Shootout.
The win column with the Jay’s Mobile Welding & Fabricating Pure Stocks this year has been dominated by Dan Jinkerson and that continued Saturday. Jinkerson fought his way to the front early on but did feel pressure from John Ewing after a handful of laps. Ewing kept pace but would get into a spin that relegated him to the rear of the field. As the laps wound down Nick Baldwin found a nice groove to close in on Jinkerson and keep him honest up front. The lead duo got closer and closer but Jinkerson hung on to grab his ninth victory of the season.
The triumph for Jinkerson was also magic number 30 in his career at the Placerville Speedway, which ranks fourth all-time in the division. Baldwin crossed the stripe in second and wrapped up his second career track championship. Along the way he picked up a pair of wins and several consistent finishes. Kevin Jinkerson, Ewing and this season’s Rookie of the Year Jesse “The Savage” Bryant rounded out the top-five during the season finale for the Pure Stocks. Jay Bryant, Randy Sargent, Ken Bernstein, Chris Hanson and Aaron Taylor filled out the top-10.
As noted, Andy Forsberg was not only locked in a championship battle with the Sprint Cars, but he also took the time to make his Mini Truck debut. He started from the pole in the 20-lapper that ran the opposite direction like usual and quickly jumped into the lead. Nothing came easy however, as point leader Ryan Murphy and Chris Curtiss applied heavy pressure to the rear of the No. 61 truck that Forsberg wheeled. A good, hard fought and competitive race saw Forsberg cross the checkered in first over Murphy, Aaron Rupley, Tom Stanwood and Curtiss. Murphy’s runner up effort allowed him to lock up the track title for 2019.
The visiting Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association provided an entertaining 20-lap main event that saw several movers and shakers during it. Mike Grenert and Tim Fitzpatrick shared the front row and battled hard early on with Kevin Bender looking to join the mix. Ben Wiesz showed his muscle though and charged to the front of the pack in impressive fashion. Ryan Winter also ran the high scary side and thrilled the fans all night long.
Up front Wiesz never faltered however and drove off to record victory during the final point race of the season for the Dwarf Cars. Grenert came home in second and locked up the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association championship. Winter, Fitzpatrick and Mike Reeder completed the top-five. Rounding out the top-10 in the feature were Bender, Shawn Whitney, Jeremy Blackshire, Josh Wiesz and Dan Geil. The division will now get ready for the always big Dwarf Car Nationals in Marysville next weekend.
The Placerville Speedway now gears up for one of the biggest events of the season this coming Friday and Saturday with the third annual Nor-Cal Posse Shootout ready to hit the quarter-mile. Winged 360 Sprint Cars and the BCRA Midget Lites are on the docket both nights, with a post-race taco party on tap following Friday’s action.
Saturday September 14, 2019
Winged 360 Sprint Cars
1. X1-Andy Forsberg
2. 5V-Tony Gualda
3. 25M-Bobby McMahan
4. 34-Jodie Robinson
5. 88N-Sean Becker
6. 4SA-Justin Sanders
7. 38B-Blake Carrick
8. 21-Shane Hopkins
9. 7C-Steven Tiner
10. 5J-Kalib Henry
11. 15S-Kurt Nelson
12. 33T-Jimmy Trulli
13. 21X-Cole Macedo
14. 1-Andy Gregg
15. 77-Mike Benson
16. 43-Bradley Terrell
17. 12-Jarrett Soares
18. 94-Bubba DeCaires
19. 98-Chris Masters
20. 85-CJ Humphries