Auburn's Forsberg races to Saturday night Placerville winBy: Gary Thomas
Whenever you put Auburn’s Andy Forsberg on the front row the result is often going to be as it was on Saturday night at the Placerville Speedway. The five-time track champion made a bold move to grab the lead on the start of the feature and proceeded to out-duel young Tony Gualda to claim his first Thompson’s Auto Winged 360 victory of the season in front of a packed house during Fan Appreciation Night.
Joining Forsberg in victory lane were Jason Palmer with the Pure Stocks, Danny Wagner with the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association and John Littlejohn with the Mini Trucks.
Mather’s Kalib Henry and Forsberg led the field down to green in the 25-lap Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Car feature. The race took a couple of attempts to get going, but both times saw Forsberg make a power move to the outside of the speedway, grabbing the lead in typical “Mr. Excitement” fashion. Watsonville’s Justin Sanders moved to second but would slow to a stop in turn two on lap three. During the restart a red flag was seen as Andy Gregg got upside down. He was okay and after going to the work area returned to the race.
On the restart Hollister’s Tony Gualda flexed his muscle to rocket into third while running the extreme high-line around the Placerville Speedway. He then charged into the runner up spot, but a big pileup in turn two brought out the caution and forced him back to third. After going back green Gualda stayed true to the high-side and carved his way back into second off the fourth corner. Things continued to slow down though, with a couple more cautions and another red flag period on lap seven.
Once some green flag laps were clicked off Gualda stalked Forsberg for the lead of the race and when lapped traffic came into play he made his move. Gualda sliced to the inside of Forsberg and took the lead off turn four as they completed lap 14. Forsberg returned the favor next time by, but a caution flag at the same time saved the lead for the C&M Motorsports No. 7C machine. On the ensuing double-file restart Forsberg used his veteran prowess to rocket around the outside of the speedway and put the Friends & Family Racing No. X1 back out front. After that it was all Forsberg as he checked out to capture his 55th career Placerville Speedway win.
Gualda crossed the stripe in second, with Roseville’s Sean Becker, Kalib Henry and Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli rounding out the top-five. Justin Sanders and Andy Gregg rebounded from the early issues to snag sixth and seventh respectively, while Cameron Park’s Shane Hopkins, Napa’s Kirt Organ and Foresthill’s Jodie Robinson rounded out the top-10. Heat race wins went to Sean Becker, Justin Sanders and Jimmy Trulli. The ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award to start the evening was set by Tony Gualda at 10.921. A total of 21 Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars were on hand during the night.
One week after having tough luck take away a possible chance at the win Sacramento racer Jason Palmer returned to victory lane on Saturday with the Pure Stocks The defending track champion charged to the lead at the waving of the Ron Stahl green flag. Dan Jinkerson moved into second early on and began to apply pressure to the rear bumper of Palmer’s No. 22K mount. The Pure Stocks put on a non-stop main event Saturday night and should be commended for a great display of exciting and clean racing. Jinkerson hounded Palmer for the duration of the 20-lapper but couldn’t quite find a way by.
As the leaders encountered heavy lapped traffic coming to the two to go signal Palmer had to pick his spots wisely. Jinkerson gave it one final shot off the final corner, but Palmer beat him to the line by half a car length to scoop up his fifth victory in six races this season. Rick Grunert was able to hold off Scott Grunert to claim the third position. Both Grunert’s raced close together for much of the feature. Rounding out the top-five was Ronnie Richards. Sixteen Pure Stocks were in action during the evening. Heat race wins were claimed by Jesse Van Roekel and Scott Grunert.
The Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association main event took a little while to get going, but during green flag racing the action was hot and heavy. Mike Reeder took the initial lead while Danny Wagner climbed into second. Mike Grenert then got a great restart following a caution period to take second and eventually the lead on lap four. Grenert held command over a few more caution periods but would get over the cushion on lap 16 and allow Wagner the opportunity he needed to move into the top-spot. Wagner went on to take the checkered flag by half a second back to second place Ryan Winter. Reeder, Grenert and Kevin Bender completed the top-five.
A total of 24 Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association competitors signed into the pit area. Heats were won by Danny Wagner, Mike Grenert and Jack Haverty.
Also in action during the night were the Mini Trucks, who despite having just four competitors in the A-main put on a good show for the fans. Travis Emery got the lead at the start, but John Littlejohn took command on lap two. The duo spent the remainder of the 15-lap contest racing closely together, but at the stripe it was Littlejohn bringing home the win by just 0.081 seconds over Emery. Aaron Rupley and Chris Schaaf finished third and fourth. Five Mini Trucks were in competition on Saturday with the heat race win picked off by John Littlejohn.
Full results from last night can be viewed at https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1540637
The Placerville Speedway will take this coming Saturday off from competition for the annual El Dorado County Fair. Racing resumes on Saturday June 23 with the Carnett Clash. Divisions set to compete will include the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Ltd. Late Models, Pure Stocks and Mini Trucks. Don’t forget to check out all our upcoming events online at www.placervillespeedway.com