Troy's Tidbits by Troy Hennig
The Sun Sets on a Racing Career and the Season at Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA 08-18-01).
We knew it was coming but it's never easy to say goodbye. For 25 years the name Shane Scott was synonymous with racing and Silver Dollar Speedway, however, this Friday night, August 24th, the sun will set as the "Flyin' Hawiaan," a seven-time track champion in Chico, calls it a career as a sprint car driver. The Scott name will live on though as his son Chris Scott plans to take the reigns of the family sprint car next year with Shane now taking over as an owner. If that wasn't enough to pack the house for the final Colusa Casino and Bingo point's championship night of racing then how about tons of free giveaways and special appearances.
This Friday night will serve as Pepsi Night, with three trophy's six feet tall awarded to each winner in the main events, Napa Auto Parts Night with special appearances by Speedo the Clown and Miss Prolong who will be meeting the fans and signing her posters. Even with all of these activities John Padjen Motorsports decided that wasn't enough to entice the race fan to the final night of racing. So they have decided to slash the admission price in half and only charge $5.00 for adults, seniors and juniors with children being free. Also, the first 400 fans through the grandstand side entrance will receive a free Napa Auto Parts souvenir hat along with a raffle coupon. Those coupons will be placed in a jar to be raffled off later in the night for many great prizes courtesy of Napa. With all of these activities it is recommended that you try to show up a little earlier than usual to get the free hat, a good seat in the grandstands in what promises to be the funniest night of racing in California.
A sprint car champion will be crowned this Friday night and chances are it will be the second for the "dominator" Tim Kaeding. The 1998 champion will try to cap off a truly magical season at the track that he calls "home." Kaeding's victory last Friday night gave him a 17-point lead over Shane Scott going into the final. Auburn's "Mr. Excitement" is in third spot being 23 points behind. Scott and Forsberg still have a mathematical chance, however, Kaeding would have to not make the A main event in order for those two drivers to have any shot. Defending track champion and Napa Auto Parts driver Jason York suffered through a miserable night last Friday when he broke his primary motor and tried to put in another one before the start of the main event but in the mad scramble to get him out there the car did not respond, thus, leaving York unable to start he A main and he received no championship points.
06/17/01 ...For the first in the history of the 410 cubic inch sprint car division at Chico an Australian sprint car driver sits atop the point's standings at John Padjen's Silver Dollar Speedway. Australia's Peter Murphy has shadowed early point's leader Tim Kaeding the whole entire season and last weekend was able to take over the lead.
In doing so, Murphy has become the hottest driver and is now the man to beat when the Colusa Casino and Bingo regular Friday night series returns to Silver Dollar Speedway this Friday night, June 22nd.
Murphy's rise to the top is also the combination of Tim Kaeding's recent spiral down. The former track champion has suffered two miserable back-to-back finishes in the most recent of races. To shed more light on the situation Kaeding's last two point totals for the night have been 31 and 27. In comparison, Murphy has earned 38 and 44 in the same nights to give him a five-point lead over Kaeding going into this weekend's races. Add to the mix that the last time the sprint cars were at Chico Murphy clean swept the field by winning fast time, his heat race and the 20 lap main event. Another driver on the move is local resident and defending track champion Jason York who now has battled back into third spot and sits just eights points behind Murphy for the lead.
Throw in the name of "Mr. Excitement" Auburn's Andy Forsberg, who is currently is in fourth place, just 15 points behind Murphy which is making it a four-car battle towards the championship in Chico.
...After a rough start to the 2001 sprint car season, 17 year old Steven Tiner and crew have decided to take two weeks off and regroup. In 2000, Tiner raced in 52 events and flipped one time. After 15 races this year, he has flipped five times and gone through two motors. Yikes! So the word was this past Saturday night, Steven and Julie Tiner and family were headed to Cycleland Speedway to try their luck with go-karts.
The sportsmanship award for this young season has to go to Auburn's Tyler Haylett. Alluding back to Tiner's situation, after blowing up a motor on Saturday night of the two fair races at Chico, Tiner was out looking for a motor to keep him in the Civil War points chase. With no hope of finding a motor, Haylett decided Sunday morning to let Steven run his motor, giving up his 26th spot in points to do so. Why is this such a tough decision if he is 26th in points? Remember that only the top 32 in Civil War points are invited to race in the Pacific Sprint Cup on Wednesday before the Outlaws are in Chico. As Haylett sat in the stands on Sunday night, he saw Tiner time in 2nd quick and start the main event up near the front, however, the Tiner luck continued as he flipped all by himself going into turn two while running in second spot. He did make it back out, but smoke from the motor prompted Tiner to pull into the pits. Turns out it was a loose oil line and the motor was saved for Haylett to race another day. If the motor had gone south, Haylett's racing future was also going to be put on hold as that was his only motor. Haylett dropped out of the top 32 after the race while Tiner remained in the top 10 because of Halyett's generous gift. "The Tiners have done so much for me that it's about time I did something for them," said Haylett when asked about his decision.
Another driver with serious motor problems this year has been Johnny Rodriguez. ON Friday night, he was in Placerville where he seized the motor. ON Saturday night, now in Chico, he pulled off the track what was at the time believed to be a loose spark plug wire. ON Sunday in hot laps, his second motor of the weekend blew up and he was done. So he proceeded to join me in the announcers booth and be my color commentary man. When asked what happens when you see a chance to pass another car on the track, he responded by saying," I just close my eyes and hold on." Of course, he was joking but it was really cool to get the insight from a champion sprint car driver. Speaking of Rodriguez, we all know him as "Lightning" thanks to Bobby Gerould, but now he might have a new name. As we were cruising through the fair at Chico, one of the carnie's, who was trying to get us to play a game, said hollywood actors play for free. He was referring to Rodriguez. He then went on to say, " hey Tom Cruise, I'm talking to you!"
Mike Wasina Jr. won the Saturday night 360 main event at Chico when he passed Steve Ferhman on the last lap going into turn three. Thanks to Andy Forsberg's great memory, he said that at the same exact race last year on Saturday night, Sean Fenn passed Wasina Jr. on the last lap of the race for the win. Both Wasina and this year Fehrman has had led the entire race before being passed. How remarkable is that!
Ryan Flynn became the first driver in recent memory to drive two distinctively different open wheel racecars over the weekend. Not only did he drive his #f1 sprint car on Saturday, he also climbed into Ira Compton dirt modified and raced very competitve for never driving one before. After the race I asked him what it was like and he openly admitted," well first off I sat in the car, got all of my safety equipment on and was ready to make the heat race unitl I realized there was a problem, I didn't know how to start the thing." He had to motion over a crew member to help instruct Flynn on starting the car. Ryan hopes to get into a pure stock before the year is out and drive in all three divisions during one night.
"Cowboy" Craig Smith had a tough weekend at Chico. On Saturday night he not only flipped once, but twice. Then on Sunday night he tipped 'er over again which led me to say "Cowboy Upside down" instead of the popular phrase "Cowboy Up" Further reports had Smith telling people that on Sunday he had to borrow a top wing. After rolling over in the main event, Smith went from borrowing the top wing to owning it!
Look for Randy "Boo" Tiner back in sprint car racing. He is driving the #83v owned by Dave Vertullo. ...It was Richard Brace Jr's birthday at the speedway Sunday night. He told me I announced it so many times that everyone in the pits was congratulating him. He then said, "now I know what it's like being the President after having to shake so many hands." Speaking of Brace Jr., and his #1b owned by Ron Brooke, his crew cheif Doug, who worked for Lance Blevins and Andy Hillenberg on the OUtlaw trail is married to Stormy Hood, daughter of Hooker Hood. Can you believe that one of her brothers first name is Robin. Thats right, Robin Hood and they lived in Sherwood Forest while growing up. One night when Robin got pulled over by the cops, he didn't have his drivers I.D. with him, so you can image that the police officer didn't think it was too funny when he asked for his name and where he lived. Of course he responding by saying "I'm Robin Hood and I live in Sherwood Forest." Later that night he would be released from jail after the cops found out he was telling the truth.
It's still amazing that we get an average of 50 - 60 360 sprint cars that race for $1500.00 to win, while the 410 Golden State sprint cars average 25 to 30 cars and they race for $3,000.00 to win. Of course, I'm just glad that we have both divisions in California and hope they both continue to flourish.
05/24/01 ...Gary Gevings (3x) crew told me that he is the all time winningest sprint car driver at Petaluma Speedway with 25 wins. He won his 25th race last Saturday night, pre-Chico.
...So far three differnet winners in the first three races for Civil War Series.
...Andy Forsberg said he is now a "has been" in sprint car racing, after a rough start to the 2001 race season. He is already planning retirement and looking for the next young driving superstar to replace him at the wheel of the Forsberg family #92. Just remember, entering this weekend's races at Chico, Forsberg is 23 years old and third in Civil War points and fifth in point's at Chico's Friday night shows.
It was Roger Crockett's birthday on Friday night at Chico, however, the youngster wasn't willing to give up his correct age when asked. I think him and Forsberg are too good of friends and are afraid once you hit your 20's you're washed up, so each of them keep people guessing.
...Spring 2001 -
Friday night at Chico saw 29 sprint cars with Peter Murphy the fastest in qualifying. He was just a hair off of the regular season track record. His time was an 11.760, Sean Fenn holds the regular season record at 11.744. Of course, Bobby McMahan has the fastest lap ever at a 11.492. That night, Murphy tells me he's on the phone with his wife, and she tells him that he is going to be a daddy. While I announced it Murphy was walking the track in turn one, heard me say it and pumped his fist in the air. So congrats to Pete.
Tim Kaeding, for the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW, won the opening night of point's racing at Silver Dollar Speedway. To add more drama, there have been three main events run this year for the 410 division and so far it has been a Kaeding sweep. Tim has won two, while Brent took Mini Gold Cup honors. ...Look out for the veteran, Shane Scott, as he finished third. Talking with his son Chris Scott, I said that was pretty impressive job by dad and what a move he made on Brent in the feature to pass him. Chris responded by saying, "Yeah it was exciting, we haven't passed Brent in ten years!!"
P-Ville- Johnny Rodriguez finished third in the main event making it his highest ever finish for Golden State racing. His previous best was fourth. Added to the impressive finish was his hard charging driving style because he started the night in the ninth spot, inside of row five. One more J-Rod story, he made the pass of the night. Coming out of turn two he passed Pete Murphy and Brent Kaeding on the inside of Placerville's narrow back straightaway. When asked after the races what he was thinking when that happened he replied, "this is gonna be close, but I just sat up in my seat and had the HammerDown!!!" His crew chief Lee Lindgren said," yeah but did you have your eye's open?"
If J- Rod was the hard charger of the night then Jon Allard and crew get the hardest-charging crew award of the night. Allard exploded his engine after his first qualifying lap. He and crew changed engines, transfered through the heat race and started on the front row and finished second. The motor that blew was brand new and only the second night in the car.
The amazing P-ville B main event had J-Rod, Murphy, Andy Forsberg, Kevin Pylant, Brian Coehlo, and Jason Statler in the first three rows. Forsberg and Statler went home.
Tim Kaeding, not only flipped in his heat race, but returned to finish the race, transfer and then went on to win the race. What a weekend, two main event wins, over $4,000.00, which equals a happy Duke McMillen.
Roger Crockett sported a new burgandy colored hair-do. When quizzed about the new hair he told me last year was after his 24th main event win last year, when he gets number 25 he was going to color his hair burgandy. Well last weekend during the 360's race at Chico he won. So this weekend the new color, but I asked him and father Brian, since he won his 25th main, shouldn't his hair be colored silver? Plus - Roger won his 25th main during the Silver Cup, hence another fitting Silver reference.
That's all folks.....troy
Remembering the man in black. Though I never got to meet him and I didn't really like his driving style, a prayer goes out to his soul from mine as Dale Earnhardt leaves our earth. He was a true competitor who quite possibly displayed the most passion that I had ever seen a man have who was trying to win a race. A lot of times it was the passion that pissed me off when he would wreck one of my favorite drivers. But as he leaves our world a sense of sadness falls over me towards his family, friends and fans.
Though I never did root for the "Intimidator" I did respect him for the man he was and all that he wanted to be. HE wanted to be the best in the world at a sport he truly loved and for that I give him all the respect in the world. He symbolized the dedication, passion and love of the sport that I truly love and for that I will never forget him. I remember where I was when I had heard the news that my hero died and I remember where I was when I heard one of my best friends die. Dale was neither my friend nor hero but for what's it worth I will never forget answering my cell phone on the way home from the go-kart races in Chico and listening to a good friend of mine deliver the horrible news. Ironically enough, after the message was relayed to me the overhead clouds that had been a presence all day began to open up and rain fell on my windshield. It was truly a rainy day in my heart. Rest in peace, God speed Dale......
A History Lesson By Troy Hennig
When most kids are growing up the first question that they have to answer is “What do you want to be when you grow?” Soon it opens up a whole surplus of ideas that stem from the child’s mind. Police officer, fireman, teacher or a doctor are common responses that kids will say. However, no one needed to ask that question to Auburn native Andy Forsberg. All that one had to do was read the writing on his tee shirt that draped across his scrawny four-year old body. In messy handwriting was scribed, “when I grow up, I wanna be a sprint car driver.” The rest, as they say, is history.
That same history is what makes Forsberg the driver he is today. Being a second-generation driver, Andy got to watch his dad sling his open wheel sprint around California tracks. Richard Forsberg started racing in 1968 that saw his career continue until Andy was old enough to take the reigns of the family sprint car. In fact, the Forsberg’s car number, 92, has been the same for the past 32 years. Richard still spends his weekends at the track keeping a watchful eye over his son’s rising driving career.
It was history that saw Andy’s 16th birthday fall exactly on a Saturday night, where instead of spending it with the family having a traditional party, Andy spent the first of many nights to come by driving the family sprint car at Ernie Purcell Speedway in Grass Valley. Of course the family was there, they were just surrounded by the sounds and smells of an open wheel sprint car. And it was history being passed through a generation when Andy turned to his dad at the final race in 1999 at Silver Dollar Speedway when they both new what they each were thinking. “We had made the A main event of the Fall Nationals at Chico and we were like one of the few only 360 Pacific Sprint car teams that had made the race,” said Andy. “During the race we got skunked by the higher financed teams and after the races dad and I looked at each other and thought out loud how we as a team needed to step it up a notch if we wanted to compete with the big boys.” And if history repeats itself, the younger Forsberg will have a bright future ahead of him.
Forsberg and team did some major stepping up over the winter. They purchased a new John Boy Chassis and upgraded their motor along with most every part on the racecar. “It was pretty hard,” said Forsberg. “We had to really start nickel and dimming everything and I think in the end we spent nearly $15,000.” Also something new for the team will be a chance at using a 410 cubic inch motor. “The combination of sponsors and the race team with special help from Keith Arellano, the owner A and A Stepping Stone in Auburn, we were able to finally get a great 410 engine.” In 1995, Andy went to talk to Keith about sponsoring his car. Forsberg left with a promise from Keith to sponsor the fuel bill. However, it was last year when Keith probably became more interested in helping Forsberg. Andy had just won a main event at Placerville Speedway and was accepting the traditional winners trophy, when he turned to Keith’s son Taylor and handed him the wining prize. It’s probably a moment that neither Keith, Andy nor especially Taylor will ever forget.
Forsberg also receives a lot of help from Jim Dobbas Inc. and R.A. Nolan Construction in Chico. With the retooling over the off-season, Forsberg’s early season driving has seen major strides in improvement. He is currently the Placerville Speedway point’s leader. On top of that, he is the point’s leader in the most competitive traveling sprint car series in California called the Hoosier Performance Tire California Sprint Car Civil War Series. If that weren’t enough, Forsberg has made every Friday night show in Chico this season and finds himself in the top ten in points. He probably should be higher, but on one night in qualifying the power steering pump and gear blew up and he didn’t even get a chance to race. What makes his success more impressive at Chico is that Forsberg has been doing it with a 360 engine. Most every other driver in the top ten at Chico utilizes the 410 cubic inch engine. “We’re just trying to get more laps and the more you race the better you get,” said Forsberg. With more racing comes more dedication from everyone. “I’ve got to give thanks to my crew consisting of Eric Barnhill, Boo Brown, Mike Proschold, Rich Margherita and Chris Gregerson,” said Forsberg. “Plus we’ve been putting the miles on our 1988 Suburban getting from Auburn to Chico, then to Placerville. It’s tough, but it’s what I love to do.”
That love and passion for driving a sprint car comes through in his on track driving style. Recently, Forsberg has picked up the nickname “Mr. Excitement.” With that name come heavy responsibilities that Forsberg tries to live up to. During caution periods or after a completed race, Forsberg will often do wheel stands to get the race fans excited. During the race, Forsberg will always go were the other drivers are not, trying to make the spectacular pass on the high scary side or diving to the bottom in a turn. “It’s all about putting on a show for the race fans,” said Mr. Excitement. “I want the fans leaving the track and saying to each other ‘did you see what Forsberg did tonight?’ and wanting them to come back for more next week. The fans are why we are able to do this crazy thing called sprint car racing.”
At the young age of 22, Forsberg is a part owner of a finishing shop in Auburn and an accomplished sprint car driver. He holds the track record at Placerville Speedway and is the highest ever-finishing 360 Pacific Sprint Car at the World of Outlaws Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway. With all of that, Mr. Excitement even finds time to attend Sierra College in Rocklin. But the most apparent thing about this driver is that after all the years he still knows what he wants to. It’s funny how history can seem so long ago and yet still hold the same message. At the age of four, a simple message written on a simple tee shirt is history, however, the driver is just were he wants to be, in the present and driving a sprint car.
Rising star, Andy Forsberg of Auburn, California - slides his JB through the Perris clay in SCRA action. Forsberg was the 2000 Winged 360 Civil War Champ in California, as well as track champ at Placerville Speedway. (Cool photo by Tear Off Heaven)