by Troy Hennig
CHICO, CA – MAY 20, 2011…The Wells Fargo / Riebes Auto Parts / Hoosier Tire/ Coors Light / Pepsi Friday night point championship number six was dominated by two friends from Auburn. Andy Forsberg returned to his old form of being exciting and won his 26th career sprint car main event at Chico. Tom Arbogast, Andy’s best friend from Placer High School in Auburn, won the 15-lap Dirt Solution Limited Late Models main event. Arbogast also won an exciting heat race earlier in the night when he passed Ken Micheli on the high scary side in turn one. “I just closed my eyes and thankfully made it around Micheli,” said Arbogast in victory talking about the heat race pass. It was Arbogast first win of the year after two previous crashes this year at Chico. “I have to thank my crew. I seem to crash this car all the time and they seem to fix it back up for me,” Arbogast joked. David Larabee pressured Arbogast the final few laps to make it very interesting. Larabee made a daring move on the final lap but came up short.
Forsberg took advantage of starting on the front row and outfoxed Sean Becker on the start. From there on out, Forsberg showed flashes of his old brilliance in passing slower cars on a tight and super hooked up race track. “I know some of the other guys don’t like tracks like this but this is what I love,” said Forsberg. “It helps to start up on the front row but anytime you can hold off Becker and navigate through tough traffic like this it feels good to get the win. I feel like we are having fun again this season.” Tonight was Forsberg’s second win at Chico and third of the year. “Thanks to Care Free Pools and Bill Bell for sponsoring tonight,” added Forsberg. Becker shadowed Forsberg all night and came home in the second spot. Brett Miller kept pace with the top two and finished in the third spot. Miller also officially turned the quickest lap in qualifying.
Heather Bartlett stole the show again tonight. Her dramatic return to the street stock division on this night seemed to energize the crowd as she won the 20-lap main event. Bartlett led the early part of the main event only to get passed by Kevin Lesch on lap nine. The dramatic turn of events happened on lap 15 when Lesch was side swiped by a slower car and spun around. This allowed Bartlett to get back into the lead. She was able to hold off the always potent Phil Marino to get the win. “I miss racing here on a weekly basis,” said Bartlett. “I had a deal with my dad to run all the shows when the late models raced here but tonight he blew up his motor and I am not sure what are plans are from here on out.” Hopefully Bartlett and her father can make the return back to the speedway in a timely fashion.
The dirt modified main event was filled with close racing that ultimately caused the entire field to crash on lap 10. Triggering the carnage was contact between the two leaders Ryan McDaniel and Oreste Gonella. McDaniel was sent flying off the race track in turn three while Gonella came to a stop on the track. McDaniel proceeded to get out of his car and walk up the embankment to confront Gonella, who was still inside his car. A tussle ensued and that was quickly broken up by track officials and safety crew. During the on track altercation Kevin Pendergrass was able to keep his car running and limped across the start finish line. As the other cars sat helpless in turn three the officials decided to checkered the event and Pendergrass was declared the winner. No matter how the race ended it was nice to see the Ira Compton #81 back on the front stretch in victory lane. “I have a good group of guys that put in a lot of hours to work on this car and I want to thank them,” said Pendergrass.
Results Point Race #6
Fast Time: Brett Miller 12.027
Heat 1: John Michael Bunch, Andy Forsberg, Ian Madsen, Sean Becker, Brett Miller
Heat 2: Robert Stice, Jason York, Cody Lamar, Brad Bumgarner, Robbie Whitchurch
A Main: Forsberg, Becker, Miller, Whitchurch, Madsen, Bumgarner, Stice, Alyssa Geving, Bunch, Tyler Wolf, Jim Richardson, David Tarter, Lamar
Dirt Solution Late Models
Heat 1: David Larabee, George Magenheimer, Matt Micheli, Brian Cooper
Heat 2: Tom Arbogast, Ken Micheli, Matt Magenheimer, Donny Fortney, Jerry Bartlett
A Main: Arbogast, Larabee, G. Magenheimer, K. Micheli, Donny Fortney, Cooper, M. Magenheimer, Alan Pace
Heat 1: Oreste Gonella, John Sloan, Ryan McDaniel, Randy McDaniel, Mark Abouzeid
A Main: Kevin Pendergrass, Richard Papenhausen, Ryan McDaniel, Gonella, Ryan McDaniel, Abouzeid, Sloan, Jeff Olschowka
Heat 1: Kevin Lesch, Heather Bartlett, Richard Workman, Gary Newman, Kevin Ward
Heat 2: Phil Marino, Mike Slightom, Shawn Smith, Kevin Berns, Bill Hall III
A Main: Bartlett, Marino, Lesch, Ward, Slightom, Smith, Workman, Newman, Hall III, Berns