Forsberg drives to first season win; Tilford, Micheli repeat in stock cars
by Bill Sullivan/HRP Media Release
PLACERVILLE, CA – Clear skies and warm temperatures brought both a packed grandstand and packed pit area Saturday afternoon at Placerville Speedway for the second Red Hawk Casino-Hoosier Tires-Coors Light-Pepsi Cola point race of the 2012 Fast and Furious Championship Racing Season. When the final checkered flag of the night waved defending track champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn celebrated his first victory of the season in the winged Sprint Car division.
Forsberg was joined in celebration by two repeat winners in Placerville's stock car divisions. Matt Tilford of Orangevale muscled his way to victory in the Pure Stock division. Matt Micheli of Live Oak became a repeat winner in the Limited Late Model Class. The three track regulars were joined Saturday night by the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars in which Shawn Jones claimed victory.
With 31 cars in competition Saturday night, Forsberg did what he had to do early in the program to insure a strong starting position in the 25-lap feature event. After posting the fastest qualifying lap of the night with a lap time of 10:638. The three time Placerville Speedway champion then secured his starting position in the feature race with a third place finish in his eight lap heat race.
Starting on the outside of the second row, Forsberg advanced into the bridesmaid position as early as the first lap to set his sights on early race leader Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove. After a dogfight between the two leaders for nearly half the race, DeCaires went extremely high in the third and fourth turns on the 10th lap and became slowed by cushion of loose track material at the top of the racing surface. It was then that the driver known as Mr. Excitement moved in on his prey, darting low and powering his way into the lead as he entered the fourth turn.
Once he was in front, Forsberg maintained a lead of several car lengths and consistently sliced and diced his way through lapped traffic to protect his lead position while DeCaires was busy holding off the efforts of Justin Sanders from Peardale, Mason Moore of Princeton and eventually Antelope's Sean Becker, all of which were battling for a top three position. At the finish line Forsberg scored the win while second place became the hottest contest to watch. Sanders took home the second place position after getting around DeCaires in the late laps. Becker finished in third while DeCaires earned the fourth position and Shingle Springs driver Justin Johnson wrapped up the event by working his way to a fifth place finish.
"It's awesome to be back here in the winners circle with this new team and get our first win with Pit Stop USA as our sponsor," said Forsberg. "It seems like I was stuck on 92 wins for the longest time, which is cool because that’s always been my number but its good to finally that monkey off my back and get another win. Now we can work on another seven in the season ahead. I really want to thank all the fans and drivers that support this track; it's great to see a full grandstand here again so keep telling your friends and neighbors about Placerville. This is the place to come on Saturday night."
In the Pure Stock division, Tilford started the 20-lap feature in the seventh starting position and patiently drove his way towards the top running on a track that dried quickly Saturday and became very slick for competitors. With three laps complete Tilford moved into the second position when he worked his way below Placerville drivers Megan Curtiss and Danielle Clauson.
Once in second, Tilford set his sights on early leader Scott Grunert of Woodland. After chasing Grunert for only a lap the current division point leader made his lead taking move with four laps down and never looked back. Although he had reached the point, the remainder of the race was far from a cake walk for Tilford as he worked his way into lapped traffic on the slick track. As Tilford earned his second straight checkered flag of the season he was distantly followed across the line by Grunert, former champion Chris Curtiss of Placerville, Dominic Stone of Folsom and Clauson.
"It may have looked easy but really it wasn't tonight," said Tilford. "The track was really slick and everyone was driving hard. Even when I got into the lead I had a lot of lapped traffic to race with and had to be careful. I really want to thank everyone involved with this car, my family, my fiancée for all her support and all of the great sponsors we have on this thing. It's great to get another win early in the season. It was awesome watching my brother Tom tonight make his first start in the Late Model. He didn't win but we'll get there with that."
In the Limited Late Model division. Live Oak's Matt Micheli drove off the pole position into the lead at the green flag. Micheli took a lead he would never relinquish for the entire 15-lap affair. Driving himself to a lead of several car lengths, Micheli insured his win long before the checkered flag flew.
At the finish line, Micheli was trailed by Jay Norton of Cameron Park. Norton started second in the race and was passed on the starting lap by Orangevale's Marek Bernert. The former Rookie of the Year raced his way back around Bernert on the 12th lap to take the bridesmaid position. Bernert finished in third place followed by Doug Grandboise of Jackson and Ken Micheli of Live Oak.
"I had a really lucky starting place tonight," said Micheli. "We still don't have a lot of cars in this class but the cars we do have are all really competitive and if your start a few rows back its tough getting to the front. We're having a lot of fun coming up here and supporting this class this year."
The three track regulars were joined Saturday by the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars as they competed in their first championship race of the season in their traveling campaign. An impressive 24 cars turned out for the opening race of the season in the class that visits numerous tracks in California and Nevada throughout the year.
Shawn Jones drove his way to victory in the 20-lap feature event. Jones started fourth in the line up and swapped the lead back and fourth with Ryan Winter early in the race until breaking away in lapped traffic. Winter finished in second Saturday night followed by veteran driver Mike Grenert, Jeremy Blackshere and Doug Martin. To learn more about the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars visit their official website at www.dwarfworld.com.
Next weekend the regular race program will take a break at Placerville Speedway to make way for the King of the West Sprint Car Series. This will mark the first time in two years that the 410 cubic inch winged sprint cars race on the quarter-mile bulling with well known names like Tim Kaeding, Jonathan Allard, Kyle Larson, Rico Abreu, Bobby McMahan, Shane Golobic, Brent Kaeding and more. For more detailed information on this series check out their website at www.kingofthewestsprintcarseries.com.
Adult tickets are $20 for Saturday and available at the track box office. Seniors are $16, Juniors $12 while Children are $6.
For further information visit www.placervillespeedway.com or call the track office at (916) 783-DIRT. Fans and competitors are also urged to join Placerville Speedway on Facebook where you can network with fellow fans, drivers and staff in a friendly forum packed with information. Follow us on twitter as well @pvllspeedway.