By Bill Sullivan
PLACERVILLE, CA (5-9-11) – If you look back in the history books on Placerville Speedway you will find many years when Auburn resident Andy Forsberg scored more wins than any other driver during the season. As of late, Forsberg has been a first hand witness to the changing of the guard at the track he calls home with different faces in victory lane each night and a field of talent on the track that has kept Mr. Excitement singing the bridesmaid blues thus far this season.
“It’s been an adjustment for me these past two seasons. We use to dominate so many races but things have really changed at Placerville in the way of competition, especially this year,” said Forsberg, who will look to score that elusive win this Saturday night when the Red Hawk Casino Championship season resumes at Placerville. “I’m behind the wheel of one of the best teams out there now and it’s not a place you can go out there and count on winning on any giving night anymore, it’s a tough nut to crack.”
Saturday’s race at Placerville Speedway is bannered as the fifth championship race of the season and will feature 360 sprint cars, pure stocks, the Dirt Solutions Limited Late Models and the return of the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars. One event during the series was cancelled due to weather, the other three have seen a different face in victory lane each night including Fremont’s Shane Golobic who won on opening night. Forsberg’s arch rival Sean “The Shark” Becker of Antelope scored the win in the third point race of the season and last week Colby Wiesz, the Colfax Comet, dominated the 25 lap feature while Forsberg could only watch from the bridesmaid position.
“Placerville has so much talent now that you have to be on your game every moment and sometimes that’s not even enough if you have a bad starting spot,” said Forsberg. “There are 6 or 7 guys out there in particular and once they get out in front of you in traffic its going to be pretty tough to catch them. Hopefully this will be our week, this F&F Team needs a victory at home.”
For Forsberg, the delay in his route to victory lane so far this season at Placerville has nothing to do with his new talented team, they have championships under their belt already and are two of the most detailed car owners in the sport. It has nothing to do with track conditions, the moon or his win it and wear it driving style. It is also doubtful that those Mr. Excitement voodoo dolls that some of his colleagues may have in their haulers are actually functional. This is a classic case where the rest of Placerville’s winged warriors have stepped up their program and are pushing harder in their in an effort to tone down Mr. Excitement’s fury that has been so dominate over the years.
“It’s nothing we have has changed at all, I’ve got one of the best teams out there made up of people that do it for the love of racing and not the money, they love to win,” said Forsberg. “What’s happening is everyone else has finally figured out the tricks to being fast at Placerville. I use to be one of the few guys to run up high, now you see everyone going up there because they’ve figured out it’s pretty damn fast up there. It works for some and for some it doesn’t, it’s done the same thing to me a few times.”
Last Saturday night Forsberg chased Wiesz in a dogfight all the way to the checkered flag. For the first half of the event Wiesz raced down low and Forsberg drove the line he likes to call “The Fonz” that launched him from 8th to 2nd place in no time at all. After the race Wiesz admitted he watched Forsberg’s number advance on the scoreboard and when it moved into the second spot it was time to go to the high side to insure the win.
“I have to admit I have used that scoreboard the same way before,” said Forsberg. “When you see a guy going from sixth to fifth to fourth, third and then second you know they have found something up there so you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s all part of the game of winning at Placerville. Hopefully this week we’ll get out in front and get that win, it’s been a great year so far with this team.”
Entering Saturday’s race, Forsberg leads the Placerville championship standings by just 12-points.He has a fast time award to his name, two top five finishes and three placements in the top ten. Sitting right behind the defending champion is a pair of local drivers that are having extremely strong starts to the 2011 Fast and Furious Dirt Track Racing Series at Placerville Speedway.
Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli is in the second position where he too has a pair of top five finishes and three top tens on the season so far. Sitting in the third spot is Placerville resident Scott Russell who is also showing the signs of a championship run early in the year. Russell is two points behind Trulli. Sitting fourth is Fair Oak’s Chad Compton who is just 15-points out of the lead. Mike Henry of Citrus Heights rounds out the top five over Sean Becker of Antelope, Chico’s Brett Miller, Golobic, Justin Johnson of Shingle Springs and Elk Grove’s Matt Land who has advanced into the top ten in his quest to earn Rookie of the Year.
The Sprint Cars will be joined Saturday by the Dirt Solutions Limited Late Model Series as they compete on Autism Awareness Night in their division. So far in the weekly tour of this division Thomas Arbogast of Auburn leads the standings by a three point advantage over defending champion Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley. Matt Davis of Auburn sits three points back in the third position. Les Friend of Galt is fourth, 10-points from the lead. Doug Grandboise of Jackson rounds out the top five in this division.
The Pure Stock division at Placerville has veteran driver Burney McClure of Nevada City at the top of the point standings after last Saturday night. McClure is three points ahead of two time winner Clarence Holbrook III of Galt while Rick Grunert of Woodland is third over Scott Grunert and Dennis Armstrong of El Dorado who rounds out the top five, just 12 points away from the leader.
Saturday night the colorful coupes of the Nor Cal Dwarf Car Association will join the three track regulars at Placerville. In this division look for all the division regulars to bring their three wide pedal to the metal competition to the high banked clay oval at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
The grandstands at Placerville Speedway will open up once again at 5 p.m. on Saturday night. Qualifying begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by heat races at 7. Adult tickets will be $13, Juniors and Seniors will be $11, Children $6. Those five and under will be admitted for free. All seating at Placerville Speedway is first come-first serve at 5 p.m. Learn more about Saturday’s event at www.placervillespeedway.com. It’s all happening at Placerville Speedway, where more than one million fans have entertained with fast and furious dirt track racing all summer long since 1965.