The 2013 Hoosier Racing Tires Civil War Sprint Car Series championship season came to a close in weeknight fashion, as Placerville Speedway hosted a special Wild Winged Wednesday to make up for the Sept. 21 wash out. The event was the 10th annual Tribute to Al Hinds, sponsored by Thompson’s Auto and Truck Centers.
This annual race pays tribute to the late Al Hinds, a longtime El Dorado County resident who was an early promoter of Placerville Speedway with business partner and friend, Richard Hirst. Hinds was best known for his community outreach in the days when El Dorado County was still adjusting to a speedway in the region. It was the work of Hinds that brought the community together with the sport of auto racing at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. Many believe that it was Hinds’ efforts that contribute to Placerville Speedway’s strong success today.
Wednesday’s race had a lot at stake, the victory was worth $3,000 from longtime auto dealer Ron Thompson, who much like Hinds works hard in the community to help businesses and organizations work together to be successful.
On top of the added bounty by Thompson, a championship was at stake in the Hoosier Tires Civil War Series as two-time series champion Sean Becker of Roseville entered the event 15-points over defending seven time champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn. Forsberg fell out of the series lead after a hard crash in the second to last leg of the series at Petaluma.
With as many as 80 points available in a perfect night of Civil War Racing, the championship title was still very much up for grabs and it wasn’t only in the sights of the two former champions. Justin Sanders entered the night third in the standings and was a mere six points behind Forsberg entering the final evening. To sum it up, it was down to three drivers and anything could happen.
In qualifying, Forsberg made a statement by posting the fastest lap of the evening, showing he was up for giving it his all on this final night. When heat races began, however, the point drama began as an accident in the second turn sent Forsberg to the pit area for front end repairs.
Although the F&F Racing crew worked hard to make the repairs, additional damage was discovered as Forsberg rolled down the entry ramp when the steering arm stripped out and required and tow truck and kept him out of the race.
There was plenty of drama as well when his Dan Monhoff owned No. 35 machine began to smoke midway through the race and eventually had a fire in the engine compartment before the checkered flag flew.
The problem was an apparent oil fire that allowed Becker to still finish second and earn four additional points over Forsberg who finished second in the B-Main later in the evening to qualify for the feature. The end result had the two rivals entering the final race of the night just 19-points apart and Sanders only three points back in third place.
The 30-lap feature event saw Tim Kaeding overtake Justyn Cox for the lead to drive his way to his second career Tribute to Al Hinds victory. Cox finished second in the fast paced race that had Kyle Hirst finishing third in the second Roth Motorsports team car. Sanders drove a hard-fought race to finish in fourth over Forsberg who finished just one spot out of the top five. Becker finished 13th at the checkered flag. In the end he clinched the championship by 11-points over Forsberg.
Sanders finished just two points behind Forsberg to claim the podium spot in the championship over Herman Klein and Colby Wiesz.
Wednesday’s race was the final Civil War Series event to take place under the promotion of Handy Racing Promotions. Beginning in 2014, John Prentice of Ocean Speedway will assume the management of the traveling series and Handy will act as a consultant for the year to come. Prentice was on site Wednesday night at Placerville Speedway visiting with teams and staff.
Handy Racing Promotions will work closely with Prentice in the year to come and looks forward to working with the new series management team in the future. The Civil War Sprint Car Series began in 1990 with longtime promoters John Padjen and Mel Hall came together with several area promoters to develop a traveling series for 360 sprint cars that worked with their regular Saturday night venues.
Through the years under the management of JPM and Handy, the Civil War Series has grown in popularity and has been generously supported by thousands of fans and numerous sponsors. Handy Racing Promotions wishes to thank everyone who has supported this great series to build it into California’s premier traveling race series for winged 360 sprint cars.
After recently signing a three-year contract with the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, Handy Racing Promotions will continue to operate Placerville Speedway with the 2014 racing season getting underway in late March of next year.
Negotiations are already underway with the tracks current title sponsors and several new interests for the year to come. Additionally, the championship awards banquet will be Jan. 18, 2014 at the American Legion Hall in Placerville. For more information visit placervillespeedway.com.