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Justyn Cox wins Mark Forni Classic for second straight season

Justyn Cox makes it back-to-back at the Mark Forni Classic on Saturday in Placerville

Placerville, CA – Clarksburg, California’s Justyn Cox put together a motivated drive on Saturday night to take the lead on a lap 17 restart and never look back en route to his second consecutive $5,000 triumph at the annual Mark Forni Classic presented by Geico and Econo Lube N’ Tune.

Also sharing Placerville Speedway victory lane during the night were Ryan McDaniel with the Ltd. Late Models, Scott Grunert with the Pure Stocks and Shawn Jones with the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association. A total of 81 cars packed the pit area on Saturday to help honor the late Mark Forni for the 13th time.

When the green flag waved in the 25-lap Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Car feature it was Minden, Nevada’s Tanner Thorson jumping into the lead. The always hard charging driver pulled away from the field, but with five laps down a spun car left him nowhere to go while entering lapped traffic. It resulted in Thorson spinning to a stop to avoid the melee, forcing him to the rear. This moved Fremont’s Shane Golobic to the top spot and on the ensuing restart Justyn Cox made a bold move to slice under Kyle Hirst for second.

The action throughout the field remained hectic with drivers dealing with a very slick, but still racy Placerville Speedway. Yellow flags on lap 11 and then lap 17 set up the double file restart where Cox ultimately made the winning move. Coming off turn four he got a great jump and shot to the inside of Golobic, clearing him in turn one. Shortly after that contact between Justin Sanders and Golobic while battling for second brought out another caution period. Golobic was forced to the work area with Sanders also suffering a flat tire.

All eyes at that time were on Thorson, who was on a mission from the rear of the field. Once going back green he continued that charge and moved all the way back to third on lap 19. He then went after Hirst for the runner up spot, as the duo ran close together over the remaining laps with Sean Becker also right in the mix. Up front it was all about Cox, who turned the fastest lap of the race on the final circuit and crossed under the Ron Stahl checkered flag to claim the $5,000 top prize.

Hirst finished in the second position, with Thorson, Becker and point leader Andy Forsberg rounding out the top-five. Andy Gregg, Bud Kaeding, Jodie Robinson, Tim Kaeding and Shane Golobic rounded out the top-10.

The ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award to start the evening was set by Tanner Thorson at a 10.620. A total of 28 Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars signed in during the night. Heat races were picked off by Justin Sanders, Jodie Robinson, Andy Gregg and Shane Golobic. The B-main went to Cody Hodgson.

The Ltd. Late Models were on hand for the final time at the Placerville Speedway in 2018 on Saturday. Point leader and defending champion Matt Michell jumped into the initial lead, before Ryan McDaniel began applying pressure on lap four. As the lead pair crossed the line on lap six McDaniel pulled ahead to grab command of the race. The action throughout the field was hot and heavy and saw Ray Trimble charge into the runner up spot following a lap seven restart.

McDaniel did a great job as always up front and went on to tally his 32nd career victory at the quarter-mile. Ray Trimble, Paul Guglielmoni, Michelli and Matt Davis completed the top-five. Michelli wrapped up his second straight Ltd. Late Model championship at the speedway. Ray Trimble, Eddie Gardner, Jay Norton and Tyler Lightfoot were the final top-five in the standings. Fourteen Ltd. Late Models were in action for their last event of the season. Heat races were captured by Ryan McDaniel and Wayne Trimble.

Arguably the race of the night went to the Pure Stock division on Saturday, which featured a tremendous battle for the lead all main event long. When the green flag waved point leader Scott Grunert and Ryan Peter battle for the top spot, which Peter eventually took as they completed lap one. Dan Jinkerson was able to overtake Grunert for second shortly after and then came after the lead on lap four. Jinkerson and Grunert fought side by side all the way around the track, as the duo exchanged the lead multiple times.

Grunert then joined the tussle and made it a three-car battle for the top-spot. The exciting display of stock car racing kept fans on the edge of their seat and on lap 13 Peter jumped the cushion while leading, which allowed Grunert the opportunity to take over p1. Jinkerson tried his best to find a way around for the lead over the remaining laps, but Grunert held on and took the checkered flag for his first victory of the season. Jinkerson crossed the line in second, with Peter in third, Chase Grigsby fourth and Jason Palmer in fifth.

Grunert brings a 15-point advantage over Palmer into the final Pure Stock event of the season, which takes place on September 15. A field of 12 Pure Stocks signed into the pit area during the evening. Heat races were won by Scott Grunert and Ryan Peter.

The Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association brought another strong field of entrants to the Placerville bullring with 27 drivers in action and put on a solid show in the main event. The always tough Shawn Jones battled his way to the front early on and held off all challengers to claim his all-time leading 17th career Dwarf Car victory at the track. The versatile driver from San Jose is also leading the points with the C&H Veteran Ent. presents Hunt Magnetos Wingless Tour.

Josh Wiesz had a nice run in the feature to score second, with Ryan Winter, Danny Wagner and 19th starter Ben Wiesz rounding out the top-five. Heat races went to Ryan Winter, Mike Grenert, Jack Haverty and Shawn Jones. The B-main went to Colby Wiesz.

Full results from the 13th annual Mark Forni Classic presented by Geico and Econo Lube N’ Tune can be viewed at

The Placerville Speedway returns to action this coming Saturday August 25 for “Campora Night” at the races. Divisions on hand will include the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars, BCRA Midgets, Mini Trucks and Sport Mods. The evening of competition marks the penultimate Red Hawk Casino championship point race of the season. Online tickets are available at

Photos courtesy of Cleveland Digital Imaging

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