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Championship Night for Sean Becker
By Troy Hennig
Photo by Steven Cox [sprintcarphotos.com]
CHICO, CA (8-24-12) - Sean Becker completed one of the most memorable passes at the Silver Dollar Speedway Friday night to win the 2012 track championship. With three laps to go, Becker needed to pass third place car Cody Lamar to win the title. On the final single file restart of the night Becker used all of his veteran experience and hustled the M & S Racing Engines #27 around Lamar. With the pass, it placed him in a points tie with Andy Forsberg. However, Becker had more main event Friday night wins and that is the first championship tie-breaker. Forsberg did all he could do. He passed Becker at the start of the race and worked his way into second. Yet, he was not able to pass Tyler Wolf for the lead of the race. Wolf ran a tremendous to pick up the impressive win but all eyes were locked onto the Forsberg vs. Becker drama. When the checkered flag waived the entire grandstands was thoroughly engaged with the driver's skills on the race track and needless to say had a night they will all never forget. Wolf was the winner. Forsberg finished second and Becker was third. "I knew I had to pass Lamar," said Becker on the front stretch. "That was as exciting as it could have ever been. After it was over I drove up to Andy and gave him thumbs up for just a great year of racing against him." He also added, "I have to thank this team for allowing me the chance to race this year and all my supporters, my family who sits in the stands and watches me to all the fans who continue to support me. This is awesome!" A total of 21 winged sprint cars attended the final Wells Fargo point show of the year.
Becker came into the night four points back of Forsberg. Things quickly moved into Becker's favor after he set the quickest lap in qualifying. That gave him five bonus points. Forsberg qualified eighth and received no points. Rico Abreu dominated the first eight lap heat race. Sean Becker finished in the third spot. Heat race two saw Brandon McMillen get the popular win. It was McMillen's first race of the season. He was so overjoyed by the win he stopped on the front stretch and jumped out of the car to waive at the grandstand crowd. Earlier in the night, McMillen did a memorial lap to honor his grandfather Duke McMillen. Forsberg finished in third so the two drivers were still only separated by one point going into the main event. Bud Walberg won the third heat in convincing fashion. Brad Bumgarner brought out the red after a quick series of flips. He was knocked out of the heat race but later returned to race in the B main. Kenny Allen led all the B main event laps to win the race. Bumgarner was second followed by Jason York.
The feature event rolled off with 20 cars set to go 25-laps. Rio Linda's Cody Lamar jumped out the early lead of the race. It was great not only to see Lamar take the lead but also to lead as many laps as he did tonight. His progression as a sprint car driver continues to shine. Robert Stice brought out the original yellow flag. He would continue on and finished twelfth. On the next start it was Michael Tarter and BJ Martin getting tangled up. Tarter would continue and finished 10th but Martin suffered too much damage and could not continue. Forsberg shined on the third attempt at a start. He started in the eighth spot and knew he had to pass Becker for any time of a hope to win this third championship at Chico. He remarkably went from eighth to third on the first lap. Becker was in the fifth spot. Forsberg was now the championship point leader.
On lap six Danielle Simpson ended upside down and caught on the front stretch catch fence. She was uninjured but the car was heavily damaged and it was retired for the night. On lap 15 Becker charged around Rico Abreu for the fourth spot. Becker was now the championship leader. On the 16 lap Wolf passed Lamar for the lead. On lap 21 Forsberg passed Lamar for second spot. With four laps to go Forsberg was the new leader of the championship. On lap 22 a caution halted the race when Bud Walberg stopped. On the restart Becker passed Lamar but behind them Craig Swim stopped on the track. This moved Lamar back ahead of Becker for the restart. With all eyes glued on Becker, he passed Lamar once again on the 23 lap as the crowd lifted to their collective feet rooting on their favorite drivers. With the white flag in the air it was up to Forsberg to make a last desperation move on Wolf. Forsberg could not get close enough to pull off any attempt at the win and Wolf crossed the line first. Forsberg was second and Becker was third. "I am so excited to win the Pepsi night," said Wolf. "After the up and down year we have had it feels good to win. Now I don't want the season to stop!"Lamar ran a great race to finish in the fourth spot. Rico Abreu rounded out the top five. BJ Martin earned more championship points than Craig Swim to win the David Tarter Rookie of the Year Award. The 59th Annual Gold Cup will take place starting Sept 5th and concluding Sept 8th. For full results of tonight's races please visit www.silverdollarspeedway.com. For Gold Cup information call 530-350-7275