Forsberg returns to victory lane
In 1983, Andy Forsberg tasted life in the victory lane. He stood on the front stretch holding a precious trophy after winning the Kid’s Night bicycle races with his father Richard by his side.
On Saturday night, the younger Forsberg exercised his nostalgic ways, driving to victory at Placerville Speedway before a packed grandstand for the Mountain Democrat Kid’s Night at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville.
“It’s always special to win on Kid’s Night at this place; it brings back a lot of really cool memories of racing my bike as kid,” Forsberg said.
Forsberg started on the pole of the 25-lap feature event. At the waving of the green flag the 2013 three-time winner took off in a lead he would never relinquish with Mason Moore in his wake as they worked their way deep into lapped traffic.
The event went without a great amount of caution flags and only one red flag that flew on the 19th lap when Billy Butler went upside down in the third turn after an incident when Forsberg was lapping Butler, who was uninjured in the incident. He addressed Forsberg during the red flag.
“I know that team is pretty mad at me right now but they are always mad at somebody and tonight I’m the one they want to beat up,” Forsberg said. “The bottom line is if you’re a lapped car and the leader is coming you don’t need to be racing with him, you need to do the right thing and get out of his way. I won’t deny it, I wasn’t clear of him when I made the pass but I didn’t do that intentionally. A few laps before that he cut me off in turn one. That’s racing and it’s going to happen now and there’s no reason to want to fight about it.”
In the end, Forsberg was followed across the line by Greg DeCaires, who drove up from the 15th starting position to steal second place from Moore in the closing laps. Moore finished third followed by Steven Tiner and Colby Wiesz.
In the Pure Stock division, Les Friend drove from the sixth place starting position to victory. Friend overtook early race leader Chris Van Roekel to drive into the lead he would never relinquish. At the checkered flag, Tom Grady of El Dorado snagged the second position over Van Roekel. Tim Mack of Placerville was fourth, followed by Chris Wirth of Pollock Pines.
“What a great crowd here tonight; they are pretty passionate too,” Friend said. “You know in racing things happen out here on the track and we need to let it go. It’s racing, we do it for fun. We’re having fun; I have to thank all my sponsors, crew and my family for this. We just have to show up next week and we have the championship and that was my goal this season. I love this place and I’m looking at doing a late-model next year.”
In the Late Model Division, Tom Tilford started on the pole with his championship rival Matt Micheli on the outside. Tilford powered into the lead at the green flag while Micheli searched for a line in an effort to remain in the point chase with Tilford.
Former Pure Stock Champion Jason Englund started in the fourth place position aboard the #66 Late Model owned locally by John Hollow Hornbear of Shingle Springs. Englund advanced into the top three with just three laps complete and one lap later overtook Tilford for the lead on the backstretch. The two leaders battled for the next several laps. At the finish line Englund picked up his long-awaited win with his new team followed by Tilford, Ken Micheli and Matt Micheli.
“It’s really nice to finally be standing here in victory lane again; it’s been a long time since I have done this,” Englund said. “I just really want to thank John and Rose for putting me in their car. They make this car fast for me each week and I get to come out here and have the easy job so I want to thank them and their sponsors for all the support.”
In the visiting Nor Cal Dwarf Car division, Ryan Winter drove to another strong win. Winter overcame a race long battle with early leader Shawn Jones who eventually fell out of contention with a wayward wide route of the first and second turns. In the closing laps, Kevin Bender closed in on the lead to finish second followed by Ben Wiesz and Scott Dahlgren.
“That was a really good race we had tonight; this place is always fun,” Winter said. “I just want to thank all the fans that came out tonight to watch us again. We love this place.”
All kids were admitted free with bicycle races at intermission and free soda and popcorn for the kids. The result was a near capacity crowd at the speedway thanks to the marketing efforts and partnership with the Mountain Democrat.
“We couldn’t do this without them, the Mountain Democrat’s partnership with this speedway is one of the best things to come to Placerville Speedway,” said track promoter Alan Handy. “I can’t thank (publisher) Richard Esposito and his staff enough for all they do for this place year after year. This was one of the best kids nights ever.”