Marysville, CA (May 23, 2015) – Auburn’s Andy Forsberg claimed the 30-lap, $3,000 to win, Civil War Sprint Car Series main event during the 16th Annual Mel Hall Memorial Saturday night at Maryville Raceway. Even though it was his 130th career main event win, tonight’s triumph was his first Mel Hall Memorial victory. “Mel meant so much to me and my career,” said Forsberg. “Mel was the first one who told my dad to let me practice in a sprint car before I was 16-years-old. Back then it was really a no-no to let an underage kid in a sprint car but I was able to do it and I will always appreciate him for that.” A near capacity crowd enjoyed a great night of racing that saw 43 winged 360 sprint cars check into the pit area.
In victory lane, Forsberg was joined by the Hall family who also seemed excited to see an old friend win Mel’s race. “I had won a lot of races in my career,” said Forsberg. “This was one of those big races that I always wanted to win and was starting to wonder if I could ever get it done. I am thrilled beyond belief to get this win in Mel’s honor.”
It was all Forsberg tonight. He started the night off by turning the fastest lap in qualifying. Forsberg bested the 42 other cars by turning a 13.140. The fast lap earned his PitStopUSA/PT Shocks #7c an extra $300 because of the special bonus money acquired by the Hall Family. In total, the Hall family gave an extra $2500 towards the overall purse on Saturday night. “On behalf of my family I would like to thank all the friends and business owners who contributed the extra money,” said Mark Hall.
Forsberg went on to win the first 10-lap heat race of the night. In fact, the only driver to beat Forsberg tonight was Kyle Hirst during the six lap dash. Other heat race winners during the night included Sean Becker, Jonathan Allard and Robbie Price.
The 10-lap C main event was won by Oroville’s Heat Hall. Marysville’s Jeremy Hawes finished second.
The 12-lap B main event was captured by Fremont’s Shane Golobic. Hanford’s D.J. Netto, Colfax’s Colby Wiesz and Missouri’s Jonathan Cornell rounded out the top four.
Hirst led the 22-car starting field to the green flag. The first stoppage of the race occurred on lap two when Brad Bumgarner spun and collected Mason Moore and Shawn Wright. On the restart, Hirst once again led the field back to a green flag start. Hirst was able to lead the first three laps of the intense and spirited main event. Forsberg found the top groove to his liking and passed Hirst on the fourth lap. Chico’s Jonathan Allard was running up inside the top five but on lap six his left rear tear was going flat. As he slid into turn one the left rear dug into the dirt and off-set the car. Allard almost flipped but was able to stay on all four and bring the car to a stop. To his credit, the team corrected the problem and Allard drove back through the field to finish in the seventh spot.
The race continued for a long distance of green flag laps until Cody Lamar came to a stop in turn one on lap 21. This set up a double file restart with nine laps to go. The move of the race occurred on the restart when Hirst drove around Forsberg and got the lead heading into turn one. As the leaders exited turn two, Hirst was clearly in the lead. However, behind them Wilton’s Matt Peterson flipped in turn two. Also collected in the wreck was Kurt Nelson. An official lap was never completed, so by rules the race went back to the previous starting lineup. This allowed Forsberg to remain the leader. Also by Civil War rules, the second restart after not completing a lap means the field will restart in a single file line.
Forsberg brought the field back to the green flag. As the laps wound down it seemed Hirst was faster. Yet, on lap 27, coming out of turn two Hirst missed his line and lost three to four car lengths to Forsberg. That mistake proved to be the costly one and Hirst was never able to challenge Forsberg again for the win. At the line it was Forsberg, Hirst and a hard charging Sean Becker. Domini Scelzi drove a solid race to finish in the fourth spot. Tenth place starting Shane Golobic drove up to a fifth place finish.
With his win, Forsberg is also the first driver to lock into the 55th Annual Johnny Key Classic coming later this season at the Ocean Speedway.