MAY 13, 2011
SILVER DOLLAR SPEEDWAY
Championship heartbreaker; Forsberg steals Civil War title in finale
Mechanical woes prevent point leader Becker from taking original green flag start
Media Release from Handy Racing Promotions Inc.
Photo by Donna Peter
PLACERVILLE, CA (9-25-10) - It was one of the most anticipated Civil War finales in recent history. In the end it was one many will long remember, especially two-time champion Sean Becker of Oroville. After leading the series point standings most of the season Becker's potential history making year quickly turned into mere history itself when he failed to start the final feature event of the season permitting Auburn's Andy Forsberg to steal the crown.
"We wanted this championship since the start of the season, but this is not the way we wanted to get it," said Forsberg. "Sean Becker, Scott Miller and that entire team is one of the best in the sport. They work hard to succeed and this championship was theirs. My heart goes out to those guys because I know just how hard they worked for this andůman to not be able to fire at the last minute is just devastating."
Entering the final event of the year, Becker held a 10-point lead over Forsberg for the title and Sacramento's Herman Klein sat in the third position, in the hunt as well with a 19-point gap between the leader and himself. In the past, Becker and Forsberg rarely finish a race far apart and although anything is possible in racing it was expected they would both be running strong together when the checkered flag waved. Such was not the case as the driver known as the Shark hit rough waters before the start of the feature event.
As the 22-car field lined up on the track, Becker's familiar red #2 sprint car was absent from the field. The team had already attempted to push off once to take to the track and the motor wouldn't fire. After a feverish attempt to resolve the issue in the work area they made a second effort to start the race to no avail as the field paraded around the track still under yellow and returned to the pit area unable to start the race. It was later discovered that a sheared magneto pin was the failed part.
After the green flag fell all eyes were on Forsberg to see if he could remain in competition to capture the crown that Becker and his team had already sized up with a great deal of success throughout the season. Unfortunately for Becker, the failure to take the original green resulted in a lack of championship points according to the series rule book which was reviewed by series officials as well as the track promoter during the event.
Under the subject of "original start" in the Civil War Series general rules it states, "a car will be given credit for the green flag start if that car was on the race track at that point of time when the caution lights have been turned off by the starter and the pole-car starts the race in the fourth turn." Had Becker been able to at least start he would have clinched the title by two points as Forsberg finished 13th at the checkered flag.
For Becker, fate had it a different way. In the end, both teams were somber in the pit area as this is not the fashion in which they wished for it to end. Arch rivals on the track, Becker and Forsberg have true respect for one another off the track and maintain a strong friendship. In racing, anything can happen and Saturday night it did.
The high drama didn't end at the start of the race Saturday night, in fact that was merely it's beginning. San Jose's Tim Kaeding started on the outside of the front row and took command of the lead at the waving of the green flag. Kaeding maintained the top position to the checkered flag through multiple caution flags and mishaps, one of which involved Forsberg late in the race.
"I always love winning at this place whether I start up front or in the back, " said Kaeding as victory lane turned to pandemonium. "But I don't think my win is all that exciting here tonight with all of this going on. What a crazy night this is, but its fun to watch."
Mike Henry finished second in the race Saturday night. During the event, Henry and Forsberg were dueling for the second position when they got together in the third and fourth turns. The collision sent Forsberg spinning with minor suspension damage requiring repair. For Forsberg timing was impeccable for the incident as just prior to it officials had made the determination that more than 75 laps had taken place overall and a red flag fuel stop would be required if an additional caution flag flew which resulted in Forsberg's crew having ample time to make the needed repair in the pit area.
Stephen Allard of Chico avoided all of the high octane drama on Saturday night and drove his way to a third place finish. Allard's effort unofficially earned his car owner, Steve Smith, the championship in the owner category. Both Allard and Steven Tiner drove the #14s during the 2010 Civil War season.
"I really want to thank Steve Smith and the whole team for the opportunity to drive this car this year," said Allard. "It's an honor to bring them the owner championship like we have after both Steven and I drove this season. Tonight we just stayed out of trouble and got a top three. Now we'll head to Chico for the Fall Nationals and see if we can keep it going."
Saturday's event officially concluded the 2010 racing season at Placerville Speedway Saturday night. The season was presented by the Red Hawk Casino, Hoosier Racing Tires, Coors Light, Riebes Auto Parts and the Mountain Democrat. Handy Racing Promotions Inc. would like to thank all of the dedicated teams, fans and sponsors who contributed to a successful season of auto racing at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
Many of those fans enjoyed a fun filled night in the stands at Placerville Speedway Saturday night as the impromptu "Hug Your Flagman Night" returned for the second year. This event that was started in 2009 by Placerville fans Dave Angus and Karl Schmudlach. Last year, Placerville Speedway flagman Ed Entz was hugged by 418 fans. Saturday night he set a new record of 723 hugs that took place between the many caution flags Saturday night.
"I'd just like to thank all the fans that came out tonight and made this a fun event again, " said Entz. "Not only tonight but every night at Placerville. We have the greatest fans here and between all the fun we had tonight, the racing was pretty good too."
The championship awards banquet for both Placerville Speedway and the Civil War Sprint Car Series will take place at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds on Saturday, November 20. Details on this event will be released in the coming days at www.placervillespeedway.comFor complete results of Saturday's Civil War Series finale, visit www.civilwarsprints.com. Complete series point standings are available online as well as full results of each of the 13 races that took place in the 2010 tour that saw 105 different drivers compete in and earn points.