PLACERVILLE, CA (7-14-12) - Saturday was a special night at
Placerville Speedway as the evening paid tribute to the late friend of the
speedway, Mark Forni. At the end of this much anticipated night of competition.
This night is the richest race of the year annually at the 47 year old dirt
track at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds that is known today as the "Bullring."
Saturday night the track lived up to its name with plenty of charging
competitors firghting for the $5000 win.
When the checkered flag flew on Saturday's 25 lap winged sprint car feature,
defending track champion and current point leader Andy Forsberg of Auburn became
a two time winner of the Mark Forni Classic. Forsberg charged his way up for the
fourth place starting position and brought the spectators at Placerville to
their feet with an electrifying takeover of the lead from Chico's Jonathan
Allard in the closing lap of the race.
"This is really special to win this race in honor of Mark Forni," said
Forsberg. "I didn't spend a lot of time with Mark like many of the drivers here
but I knew who he was and know his family and everything they have done for this
place. They work hard to put this race together and it's an honor to win it
again. For this team its three in a row so it's a big night for them and I feel
like we came out here tonight and defended our home turf a little bit by passing
an out of town driver for the win, there's some satisfaction in that for
Two years ago, Mason Moore of Princeton was the hired gun behind the wheel of
the F&F Racing #X1 that Forsberg drives today. In the 2010 Forni Classic,
Forsberg was chasing down Moore and ended up going upside down in the effort.
Now, two years later, Forsberg has become the teams winningest driver since they
were formed with David "Powerfeed" Robinson behind the wheel under the guidance
of team owners Alan Bradway and Steve Tuccelli. This team has always been known
for big wins, now they are known for big repeat wins.
At the waving of the green flag Saturday, Placerville's CJ Humphreys drove
off the pole position and bested Cameron Park's Stephen Allard for the early
lead of the event. With three laps complete, Forsberg overtook Stephen Allard
for the second position and began chasing Humphreys for the lead. Seven laps
into the event Forsberg took advantage of a slight error made by Humphreys when
he became slowed up against the high birm of the track surface.
Once in front the, the race for Forsberg was far from a simple drive to the
bank to cash his big check. With $5000 on the line the caliber of competition
was obvious on Saturday night and everyone was gunning for the top spot, taking
chance after chance to do so. Forsberg's biggest challenge developed on the 10th
lap with Jonathan Allard had advanced from his 8th place starting position into
second place and closed in on the leader.
With 14 laps complete, Allard powered around Forsberg to bring the capacity
crowd to their feet in the grandstands as they enjoyed the dogfight between the
traveling King of the West driver and their local track champion.
Entering the final laps of the race it appeared Allard was on his way to the
win as Forsberg and Placerville's Andy Greg raced in his wake. With just two
laps remaining, Forsberg pulled the hat trick on Allard and reeled him in with
just two laps to go. As he redeemed the lead on the second to last lap Forsberg
razed the crowd once again as he sliced and diced his way into traffic in an
effort to hold off Allard's pressure. At the checkered flag Forsberg picked up
the win followed by Allard, Gregg, Kyle Hirst and Nicole Miller who rounded out
the top five.
In the Limited Late Model division on Saturday, Matt Davis of Auburn charged his
way to the win. Davis started third in the event and didn't assume the lead
until the tenth lap of the race. The event had its share of mechanical carnage
that Davis managed to avoid all the way to the checkered flag that flew at the
15 lap mark. At the line Davis was followed by Ken Micheli, Mike Lightfoot, Matt
Micheli and James Edens.
"It feels good to win another one of these special races," said Davis. "I
just feel bad so many guys tore their cars up tonight just as we were starting
to get a good car count. Tonight I plan to take my winnings and share it with
some of those guys to help them get back out here."
In the Pure Stock division, point leader Matt Tilford entered the night with a
historical eight race win streak and was looking to being it to the nine mark.
However, gentlemen that likes to call himself 'The Hitman' returned to
competition to change Tilford's plans. Les Friend of Galt retired last year and
decided he wasn't quite ready to do so when he saw the recent headlines of
Tilford's domination at Placerville.
Hence, Friend has made his return to the dirt track community and met his
mission on Saturday night, leading every lap of the 20-lap feature event to end
the much coveted win streak that Tilford had built. As Friend pulled into
victory lane, Tilford pulled next to him to congratulate him on the feat,
displaying great sportsmanship that is such a big part of this sport.
"I have no plans about racing every week or when I will be back," said
Friend. "I just had to come back and beat Tilford with this win streak and we
did it. I can't thank my guys and my family enough for their support. I love
this place and it's good to be back, we're just focused on having fun and that's
the way I like. Doing this tonight, now that was fun."
Friend was followed across the line by Chris Curtiss, Tilford, Chris Van
Roekle and Scott Lynch.
In the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars, eighth place starter Shawn Jones drove to his second
Placerville victory. Ryan Winter finished in second place followed by early race
leader Kevin Bender, Jeremy Blackshere and Josh Hiatt.
Saturday's event was put together by the Forni Family and local resident
Chuck Sept who collected the many sponsors for the annual event that now draws
thousands to Placerville Speedway. Sponsors for the 2012 Forni Classic included
Doug Veerkamp General Engineering, Hunt and Sons Petroleum, Les Scwhab Tires,
Pape Machinery, Steve Gumalo, Armonds Tire Service, Vans Paving, Elderd Brothers
Inc,, Roger Miller Concrete, Riebes Auto Parts, MRO Inc. and Mike and Jessica
"We can't thank Chuck Sept and the Forni family enough for all their work on
this race," said Alan Handy, promoter of Placerville Speedway. "This has become
a great event and it's their hard work and dedication that makes it happen.
We're already looking forward to next year with them.
Racing action returns
to Placerville Speedway this Saturday with champion point racing and then
Wednesday, July 25th the ASCS National Tour. For Further information on these
events visit www.placervillespeedway.com. (Photo by Donna Peter)