By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA…The thunder in the foothills returns to Placerville Speedway this Saturday when the familiar El Dorado County Fairgrounds bullring presents the 16th annual “Mark Forni Classic.”
An action packed four division program will be offered to race fans showcasing the Thompson’s Family of Dealerships Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Ltd. Late Models, Pure Stocks and Dwarf Cars. Including the Forni Classic this Saturday, just three more championship point races remain at Placerville Speedway in 2021.
The Forni family has had a great history in El Dorado County, with deep ties to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds and much of the land on which it sits. Much like his forefathers, Mark Forni had a great passion for the county fair and its attributes, especially the race track.
From the time he was a young child and the days when Placerville Speedway was known as “Hangtown Speedway,” Mark was actively involved with the weekly auto races, always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need involved with the sport he loved.
Later in life, Mark continued his contributions to local auto racing, sponsoring many race teams with his business, Forni’s Trucking. He later became a member of the El Dorado County Fair Board and focused on the issues regarding the future of the fair and the speedway. Mark Forni believed in working relationships. He understood the importance of race promoters, sponsorships, and the one key element for every event to be successful, the spectator.
In November of 2004, Mark was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. During his final months, Mark had the opportunity to say goodbye to friends and family and spend some special moments with his wife and children, a bittersweet time for those who knew and loved him so much. In the summer of 2005, Mark passed away at the early age of 45.
“Mark was the guy who got it done no matter what,” said former Placerville Speedway promoter Alan Handy. “It didn’t matter how big of a problem we may have had. He would call me up see what it would take to fix it. He didn’t just provide the resources either. Mark would be right there lending a hand right down to his final days. I miss him, I think everyone here misses him, he was a great guy.”
Auburn’s Andy Forsberg, Diamond Springs’ Dan Jinkerson and Oakley’s Nick Baldwin go into the Mark Forni Classic sitting atop the standings with the Thompson’s Winged Sprint Cars, Ltd. Late Models and Pure Stocks respectively. Following the most recent event Forsberg overtook youngster Joel Myers Jr. in the title race, however, just a single point separates the duo. The 45-year-old Forsberg in search of championship number eight, while the 15-year-old Myers is looking for his first.
Forsberg and Roseville’s Sean Becker are tied for the most Mark Forni Classic triumphs, with each driver having captured a trio of wins in the event. Last year saw Lincoln’s Blake Carrick capture the Forni for the first time in his career. As always, a solid field of cars are expected in all four classes this weekend.
Adult tickets this Saturday August 7th cost $15 while seniors 62+, military and juniors 12-17 will be $13. Kids 6-11 cost $6 and those five and under are free. Grandstand seating is general admission, except for the reserved seats marked for season ticket holders. Please note if patrons sit in a reserved seat, they may be asked to move.
Purchase tickets online at https://www.universe.com/embed2/events/2021-placerville-speedway-pts-race-14-the-forni-classic-tickets-placerville-8PQZ1Y or at the gate on race day. The pit gate will open at noon, with the front grandstand gate opening at 3pm. Happy Hour is offered from 4-6pm in the grandstands featuring discounted Coors Light and Coors Original at the beer booth. The pit meeting will be held at 4:30pm with cars on track at 5:15. Hot laps, ADCO Driveline qualifying and racing will follow.
The Placerville Speedway is located on the beautiful El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville, California. Take Hwy US-50 to Forni Road/Placerville Drive exit. Then go north on Placerville Drive to the Fairgrounds. The physical address is 100 Placerville Dr., Placerville, CA 95667. For more information on the Placerville Speedway log onto http://www.placervillespeedway.com
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