"California Sprint Car
January 18th, 2013
American Legion Center,
Fairgrounds Parking Fee: $5.00
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Forsberg takes the heat with jeering fans after fifth Placerville win
Three time champion clings to mere single digit point lead entering final race of the year
Media Release from Handy Racing Promotions
Photo by Donna Peter
PLACERVILLE, CA (8-25-12) - Auburn's Andy Forsberg led every lap of Saturday's feature event at Placerville Speedway to post his fifth victory of the 2012 racing season and maintain his season long point lead in the 2012 Red Hawk Casino-Hoosier Tires-Coors Light Championship event of the season. Although the victory makes him the winningest driver of the season thus far, the battle for the sprint car championship is far from over at the quarter-mile clay oval. In fact, it's hotter than ever and the title won't be determined by one's success over a 12 race period, it's going to come down to one single race next Saturday night.
Forsberg may have won the battle Saturday night, but Cameron Park's Stephen Allard let it be known the war is on in these final two weeks as he put the pressure on Forsberg for the entire night Saturday with an amazing charge to the front of the field, which resulted in a second place finish and a frenzy of fans who offered their fare share of cheers and jeers towards the two rival drivers at the end of the night.
"It's ok, all of you guys can just keep on booing me like this when I win," said Forsberg, who was overpowered by the onslaught of jeering spectator during his victory lane interview. "The bottom line is, we won another race tonight and, well, we're going to win again and like the old saying goes the check will clear on Monday."
Forsberg's decorated comments and Allard's disappointment in Saturday's finish Saturday night paints a clear picture of what's to come at Placerville Speedway next Saturday night. Without a doubt the final segment of the 2012 season will come down to one final race of the year to determine who will where the championship crown. Forsberg looks to secure his third consecutive and fourth overall career title while "Allard Mania" will be looking to give it everything he has in an effort to dethrone "Mr. Excitement" and put the division title back in the name of an El Dorado County team for the first time since 1995.
Saturday's feature event got off to a troubled start as a multi-car accident sent a half dozen cars to the work area before an official lap was even scored. Among the damaged rides was the Scott Russell and Kami Arnold owned #14r that started sixth in then line up, just five positions behind Forsberg who earned the pole position. After a lengthy red flag, all the cars involved returned to the field, however, Allard was forced to restart back in the 13th position following the caution flag. One would think this gave Forsberg some breathing room in the championship chase, however that would false in the end.
Picking off nearly a car a lap, Allard charged his way to the field with a battered top wing and worked his way into the top five on the 20th lap and then into the top three positions three laps later when Placerville's Jimmy Trulli slipped out of contention and brought out the final caution flag of the night that set the stage for a three way battle for the win between the top three championship contenders as Forsberg felt the pressure of third place runner Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove in second and Allard who was in third and far from finished with his task at hand.
When the green flag waved for the final time, Allard muscled his way around DeCaires and locked in on Forsberg for a two lap dogfight for the win that resulted in Forsberg celebrating before the fans that love to hate him and Allard ready for war in the week to come.
"As I know from last night anything can happen in this sport. This championship is ours to lose and Allard is our biggest threat," said Forsberg who lost the Silver Dollar Speedway title in Chico Friday night after leading the standings for the majority of the season. "I lost a championship I should have won just last night, it came down to the last race and here we are again. I can tell you one thing, it doesn't matter if they love me or hate me because next week these fans are going to see one incredible race. We have our work cut out for us."
DeCaires finished third on Saturday night followed by Placerville's James Sweeney. Rounding out the top five was Elk Grove's Matt Land who scored his career best finish with fifth place at the line.
In the Pure Stock division, the chase for the championship was nearly just as heated as that of the sprint car division only without the tone mirroring that of the World Wrestling Federation by those drivers involved in the campaign and their fans. It was a much calmer tone in victory lane with Orangevale's Matt Tilford after his 11th win of the season.
Tilford entered the night with a single digit point lead over Placerville's Chris Curtiss. The two drivers dueled side by side for the entire 20-lap feature event until the final turn of the final lap when Curtiss finished in sixth place after a spin and Tilford went on to claim the win and handful of points to his advantage entering next Saturday's final race of the year.
"Obviously this championship is quite as wild as that sprint car deal but it's down to the final race and we have our work to do this week," said Tilford. "Taking that one night off really hurt us this year but we've recovered and next week we hope to be standing here again with a track championship. It seems like both of my brothers have been in this position when they won their championship so its something I'm prepared for. We just have to make sure this car is perfect for one more night and come out here and do what we've been doing. I really have to thank all my family members and my sponsors for all their support this year and thank Alan Handy for a great race track and everything he does to keep this sport alive up here."
Scott Grunert finished second Saturday night over his father Rick Grunert. Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley finished in fourth over Chris VanRoekel of Grass Valley in fifth.
In the Limited Late Model division, the 2012 track championship went to Matt Micheli of Live Oak Saturday night one week early. Micheli's unsurmountable point lead entering Saturday's race only required him to start the 20-lap feature event. Ryan McDaniel of Olivehirst drove his way to a second straight win over Jeff Olshowka. James Edens of Santa Rosa was third followed by Micheli and Jerry Bartlett of Yuba City.
"This was a good race for us tonight," said McDaniel. "The track was really fast and we had a great set up thanks to my Dad and the crew. We're talking about maybe coming back for next week for one more night, we'll see how the week goes but we're having fun with this late model."
Racing resumes at Placerville Speedway for the final championship event of the year next Saturday night and the crowning of the 2012 division champions.Adult tickets are $13 for Saturday and available at the track box office. Seniors and Juniors are $11 while Children are $6. Those five and under will be admitted free. 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 and future contests. Follow us on twitter as well by finding us at: @pvllspeedway.