Andy Forsberg repels “shark” attack in Civil War series victory

civil war series

From Petaluma Speedway

Petaluma, CA — (July 9, 2011) — It’s often said it’s more difficult winning from the front row than any other starting position. That task can be especially daunting if your closest pursuit comes from Roseville’s Sean Becker, known as “the Shark” for his predatory reputation of relentlessly hunting down race leaders and stealing the lead in the closing laps.

But sometimes “the Shark” comes up empty, as he did Saturday night during the 30-lap California Civil War Sprint Car Series feature at Petaluma Speedway when defending series champion and current points leader Andy Forsberg of Auburn, who started on the pole, lived up to his own “Mr. Excitement” moniker by steadfastly denying Becker any opportunity to feast by repeatedly shutting the door on Becker’s constant threats until a late-race crash eliminated Becker and assured Forsberg of his fourth victory of the season.

“You’ve got to have you’re “A” game working whenever Sean’s behind you. He stuck his nose in there a couple of times, but I knew if I stayed on the bottom nobody was going to get past me,” said Forsberg, after notching the $2000 victory, his fourth in the last six Civil War events at Petaluma.

The victory highlighted a spectacular night of racing for the 77 entrants in three divisions at the venerable 3/8-mile adobe oval in which Bob Newberry, in the Wingless Sprints, and Ryan Diatte, in the Dwarf Cars, also drove home winners.

Five-time series champion Forsberg led from the start, with Becker and Fremont’s Shane Golobic right behind him. Forsberg reached lapped traffic after just six laps but a yellow flag helped unwind the field and get Becker off his back. A second yellow on Lap 13 also gave the defending champion some breathing room. Becker offered his biggest challenge on the all green-flag laps between 14 and 24 but Forsberg denied him each time. As the tension mounted for a late-race challenge Auburn’s Cole Wood got sideways in Turn 4, on Lap 28. Forsberg safely made it past the blockage but Becker was unable to avoid it and slammed into Wood’s racer, ending his quest for victory.

“My only shot was in lapped traffic and it bit me,” lamented Becker, a two-time series champion, who dropped to a 17th place finish.

The final two laps were anticlimactic as Forsberg claimed the victory over Golobic, fast qualifier Kyle Hirst of Loomis, Penngrove’s Alissa Geving, and Chad Compton of Fair Oaks.

Santa Rosa’s Brett Rollag led the final 11-laps of the 12-lap B-main to earn a transfer spot to the feature along with 16-year-old runner-up Chase Johnson of Penngrove, Trent Canales of Roseville, Compton, Mike Monahan of Sparks, Nevada, and Nicole Miller of Loomis.

Photos: (c) Steve Farley 2011

The All-Pro Wingless Sprint Car division has a new points leader following a dramatic finish to its scheduled 25-lap main event that saw a race-long battle between race leader Matt Streeter of Galt, and second place Scott Hall of Lincoln, end abruptly, when the two cars tangled on Lap 21 sending Scott’s race car into a hard rollover and cutting Streeter’s tire. The race was checker-flagged at that point lifting third-running Bob Newberry of Richmond into victory circle, followed by Santa Rosa’s Terry Schank Jr., Matthew Haulot of Cotati, Joe Stornetta of Napa, and Zack Lynskey of Fairfield.

Newberry’s triumph, coupled with a pair of fourth place finishes earlier in the season, lifted the veteran driver into the points lead in the tightly contested division. It also marked the one-year anniversary of his teaming with car owner Jeff Lee. Newberry’s 158 points leads Schank (154), and Santa Rosa’s Arvo Backholm (152).

The 25-car Dwarf Car feature looked like a scene from Family Night as four combinations of family members competed in the 20-lap event which was won by Ryan Diatte of San Jose, who led for all but one lap. Ryan’s younger brother Cameron Diatte of Salinas finished second, ahead of three-time feature winner Shawn Jones of San Jose, Gene Pires of Los Banos, and Robert Mesloh of Los Gatos.

Also competing were the Mendenhall’s, Carroll and Kaitlyn, who finished 11th and 20th, Marty and Eric Weisler, who finished ninth and 23rd, and Jason and Igor Gandjuk, 17th and 25th.

Results for July 9



Fast time—Kyle Hirst 13.548.
Heat 1—Mason Moore; Hirst; Cole Wood; Mike Henry; Trent Canales; Chad Compton; Brett Lay; Cody Lamar.

Heat 2—Josh Ruhs; Kirk Simpson; Sean Becker; Alissa Geving; Jeff Parady; Mike Monahan; Bill Cornwell.

Heat 3—Steven Tiner; Mike Benson; Shane Golobic; Shawn Wright; Nicole Miller; Jim Richardson; Chase Johnson.

Heat 4—Dean Freitas; Andy Forsberg; Jeremy Burt; Bradley Terrell; Brett Rollag; Jake Haulot; Michael Forslund.

B-Main—Rollag; Johnson; Trent Canales; Compton; Monahan; Miller; Richardson; Haulot; Lamar; Cornwell; Parady; Forslund; Trevor Canales.

A-Main—Forsberg; Golobic; Hirst; Geving; Compton; Wright; Henry; Rollag; Trent Canales; Simpson; Tiner; Benson; Johnson; Freitas; Ruhs; Burt; Becker; Monahan; Wood; Moore; Miller; Terrell.


Heat 1—Joe Stornetta; Nick Larsen; Ryan Bernal; Matthew Haulot; Jason Toft; Scotty Dupont; Bret Barney.

Heat 2—Matt Streeter; Zack Lynskey; Bob Newberry; Alex Schutte; Klint Simpson; Bill Cornwell.

Heat 3—Scott Hall; Terry Schank Jr.; Arvo Backholm; Rick Sharp; David Press; Marcus Hardina; Dustin Baxter.

A-Main—Newberry; Schank; Haulot; Stornetta; Hardina; Dupont; Sharp; Schutte; Toft; Barney; Backholm; Baxter; Simpson; Cornwell; Larsen; Bernal; Press; Lynskey; Streeter; Hall.


Heat 1—Mark Ramirez; Shawn Jones; Chris Dorto; Robert Mesloh; Terre Rothweiler; Carroll Mendenhall; Eric Weisler; Matt Hauff; Tommy King.

Heat 2—Dan Zuger; Gene Pires; John Peters; Scooter Gomes; Mike Ronald; Jason Ganndzjuk; Mike Mangini; Marty Weisler.

Heat 3—Cameron Diatte; Ryan Diatte; John Wear; Mark Biscardi; Igor Gandzjuk; Matt Darton; Richard Klinetobe; Kaitlyn Mendenhall.

Main—R. Diatte; C. Diatte; Jones; Pires; Mesloh; Biscardi; Rothweiler; Ramirez; M. Weisler; Peters; C. Mendenhall; Dorto; Hauff; Klinetobe; Darton; Zuger; J. Gandzjuk; Mangini; King; K. Mendenhall; Wear; Gomes; E. Weisler; Ronald; I. Gandzjuk.