By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA…The annual “Mark Forni Classic” is routinely the biggest night of the Hoosier Tire championship season and this Saturday the Placerville Speedway is pleased to host the 17th edition of the long-standing show.
A stacked four division program will be offered to race fans featuring the Thompson’s Family of Dealerships Winged Sprint Cars, the Mountain Democrat Ltd. Late Models, Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks and Dwarf Cars.
The Winged 360 Sprint Car portion will dish out $5,000-to-win, $2,000 for second and $1,200 for third. The Ltd. Late Models will be vying for $800-to-win their feature, while the Pure Stocks main event offers $500-to-win.
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 racetrack.
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 Padjen. “It didn’t matter how big of a problem we may have had. He would call me up and 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, Mountain Democrat Ltd. Late Models and Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks respectively.
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 Mather’s Kalib Henry capture the Forni for the first time in his career. As always, a solid field of cars are expected this weekend.
This Saturday’s Ltd. Late Model and Pure Stock portion will also be part of the Competition Carburetion Fast Lap Award Tour. The driver with the fastest lap in the feature for both the Late Models and Pure Stocks will earn an extra $100 respectively.
Adult tickets for the Mark Forni Classic this Saturday July 23rd cost $18 while seniors 62+, military and juniors 12-17 will be $16. Kids 6-11 cost $8, while ages 5 and under are free. Purchase tickets online at https://www.eventsprout.com/event/points-race-13 or at the gate on race day.
Grandstand seating is general admission at each event, 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. Pit passes can be purchased at the pit gate or on Pit Pay to take advantage of the expanded seating area on the hill.
The pit gate will open at noon, with the front grandstand gate opening at 3pm. Happy Hour is offered when the gates open until 6pm in the grandstands featuring live music along with 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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