Forsberg earns second Calistoga Cup victory and first for F&F Racing
CALISTOGA, CA (8-6-11) -To win a race at Calistoga Speedway is an honor for any driver, in fact it is something that most California sprint car drivers dream of one day accomplishing in their career. Some do, some don't and then there are others who have the golden opportunity to do it more than once in their lifetime.
Saturday night, Auburn's Andy Forsberg joined the elite list of repeat winners at Calistoga Speedway as he scored his second Calistoga Cup victory of his racing career. This win was by far more meaningful then the first victory was as Forsberg took his F&F Racing team owned by Steve Tuscola and Alan Bradway to their first ever Calistoga win. Calistoga Speedway was always a favorite track to the late Dave Bradway Jr. during his short career and bringing the Bradway family back to victory lane at the famed half mile dirt track definitely will be long remembered by many.
"This is really a special place and this is a very special night for everyone," said Forsberg. "This is a track that I have wanted to win at since I was a little kid watching my Dad race at. The first win was something I had always dreamed of and to be able to come here and win it again and give this team their first win here is really special. This was one of Junior's favorite tracks and to be involved with the Bradway family and this team and to be standing here right now is really a great thing."
Forsberg started Saturday's event on the outside of the second row, positioned next to his arch rival, Sean Becker of Roseville. The two veteran drivers were lined up behind two young guns of the sport, pole sitter Trent Canales of Roseville and Chase Johnson of Penngrove.
At the waving of the green flag Johnson took the initial lead and appeared to be on a mission to make his first career victory take place at the largest and most intimidating track in California. After distancing himself by more than 2 seconds over the field, Johnson fended off the efforts of a hard charging Canales as well as Becker and Forsberg who dueled with one another behind the two sophomore drivers.
As Johnson reached lapped traffic his hopes of an upset victory came to a sudden halt when he collided into the rear nerf bar of Dennis Harvey Jr. in the fourth turn and caused terminal damage to the front suspension of his car to draw a caution period that put Canales on the pole for the restart. For Canales, such hopes of a big win also came crashing down when he lost power several laps later and Becker assumed the lead with Forsberg hot on his tail.
For Forsberg, Saturday's race marked a strong points night as he knew long before it was over he had some breathing room between he and second place points runner Steven Tiner of Visalia. Tiner rolled over twice in Saturday's event and fell out of contention before the checkered flag. He had entered the night just five points behind Forsberg in the battle for the championship.
With Canales and Johnson both out of the event, the battle came down to Becker and Forsberg in a classic rivalry that had its share of excitement. Ronnie Day of Salinas wasn't out of the mix either as he charged up to third place behind the dueling rivals with Kyle Hirst of Sacramento in their wake along with former cup winners Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove and Mike Benson of Calistoga.
For Becker, the streak of recent bad luck continued when the left rear tire of his Scott Miller owned Sprint Car exploded and sent him to the pit area and then back to the rear of the field. This placed Forsberg on the point for one of the final restarts but his final charge to the win was far from over as Day pressured the five time Civil War Series Champion in the waning laps.
Day made several attempts at a pass on the high side of turns three and four until he lost an inside rear tire on the final lap. As Forsberg raced around the half mile for the final time Hirst gave it everything he had to tray and catch the leader to no avail. Forsberg crossed the line ahead of Hirst, Benson, DeCaires and Brett Miller of Chico.
"I could see something going on in Becker's tire during the yellow," said Forsberg. "It looked low like we use run them a few years ago to account for the heat and pressure but as I followed him around I just had a feeling something was going wrong so I just drove smart and gave myself enough room to get around if it blew and it did. This place is a track where tires play a big role in how you finish and we we're pretty lucky that we didn't have any issues as hard as I was running trying to hold off Day for those last few laps. I really want to thank everyone on this team for a great car, we are really starting to click off some wins together and everything is going so well for us."
The B feature was claimed Saturday night by Herman Klein of Sacramento who was followed by Jeff Parady of Pope Valley. Miller and Jeremy Burt of Grass Valley. Heat races were claimed by Jeff Griffen of St. Helena, Tiner and Hirst. Day was the fast qualifier of the race with a 17:983 second lap.
Following Saturday's race, Forsberg now sits with a 20-point advantage over Tiner with three events left on the series tour. Hirst is third in the standings followed by Alissa Geving of Penngrove and Becker who rounds out the top five, 85-points out of the lead. The next Civil War event will be Wednesday, September 7th at Silver Dollar Speedway for the Pacific Sprint Cup which opens the 2011 Gold Cup Race of Champions. For further information on this event visit www.civilwarsprints.com.