Placerville Speedway fans, drivers and staff  raise over 11k Saturday for injured driver


C.J. Humphreys returns to victory lane in sprint feature.


By Bill Sullivan


PLACERVILLE, CA   Following an accident that seriously injured veteran sprint car driver Billy Sellers of Sacramento last week the outpouring of concern from the local racing community became very apparent in the days that followed. Saturday, such support reached a climax as the promoters of Placerville Speedway came together with local race fans, the business community and Sellers’ fellow drivers in a special event that raised more donations than any effort in history at the foothill speedway and reunited two racing families that were torn apart in public controversy over the last seven days.

Sellers remained at UC David Medical Center on Saturday night where he will begin his lengthy recovery from three fractures in his spine suffered after a collision with Andy Forsberg last Saturday night. While her son and husband remained at the hospital Saturday night his mother Mary and his sister, Traca returned to the infield of Placerville Speedway this week to participate in a very emotional ceremony that opened the second point race of the season.

The event began with a special invocation by speedway chaplain Don Wilson of Placerville who touched on driver safety, family values and the many risks that one takes when they compete in the sport of auto racing. Following Wilson’s address, a very emotional Mary Sellers spoke to the fans and drivers.She shared her appreciation for the gratitude they have shown but more importantly put an end to the many negative comments and blame that has been directed toward Forsberg and his family following the accident.

“We are all a family in this sport. This is what we do every week We come out here as families, we race and we know the danger,” said Sellers with Forsberg and his parents by her side. “When you do this, you know anything can happen. Its racing and no one person is to blame for what happened here last Saturday.  We have raced three decades at this speedway and the Forsberg family has been a great part of that. I know I don’t want to leave here blaming anyone for Billy’s injuries. I ask everyone else to do the same thing, do it for my son and for the Forsberg family. Billy has a long road ahead of him and I am grateful for what is happening here tonight and that Andy is a part of it.”

Following the ceremony, Sellers presented Billy’s helmet to Rich Rosser, the car owner of the #23r which Sellers was scheduled to drive this season and was destroyed last week in the accident. Rosser then led the drivers into the grandstands where they all collected donations for the Billy Sellers Recovery Fund.

While the majority of his medical bills will be covered by insurance, Sellers still has many financial challenges in the future with the everyday costs of raising two children and maintaining the family owned business, Sellers Race Wings, that was operated solely by himself prior to the accident.

At the conclusion of the evening, the collections combined with donations for a charity raffle that took place for items donated by the community exceeded $11,000. In addition to the donation, John Padjen, the operator of Placerville Speedway approved the use of the Golden State Sprint Car Benevolent Fund last week, which will financially assist Sellers during his recovery as well.

“I am completely overwhelmed by all of this and I know when Billy learns what everyone has done for him tonight he will be so grateful,” added Sellers. “There are so many people to thank here tonight. I have to thank the Padjen Family for their caring and support and Bill Sullivan for putting this together and being our public voice this past week and pastor Don Wilson for being there for us in this difficult time. To all the fans and businesses that helped put this together, there are no words that describe what you have all done here tonight and how this feels, it is very overwhelming but I thank all of you.”

Following the special opening on Saturday, the action on the track saw Placerville’s own CJ Humphreys end a long dry spell and return to victory lane in the Pacific Sprint Car division. Humphreys started on the pole of the feature event and led all 25-laps thereafter, holding off Marc Mackay of Shingle Springs, Colby Wiesz of Colfax, Forsberg and Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove to the finish line.