2017 Awards Banquet
November 18, 2017
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RSVP by November 10, 2017
by Troy Hennig
CHICO, CA (8-25-17) - It was a bittersweet moment for Auburn's Andy Forsberg last night during the final 410-winged sprint car point race of the season at Chico. Forsberg called 2017 his "No Excuses Tour." The A&A Stepping Stone No. 92 team stepped up their game during the winter and set out with one goal; win more races and win the Silver Dollar Speedway Championship. Last night, Forsberg led from the drop of the green flag during the 25-lap finale. In typical Forsberg fashion, he began to cut smooth consistent fast laps and amassed a safe distance from second place driver Sean Becker. As Forsberg began to navigate through slower traffic Becker used this opportunity and closed in. On lap 15, Becker cut the lead down to about two car lengths. On the following lap Chase Majdic spun off the race track. The car also caught fire and it was later revealed that the oil filter came loose. Majdic jumped out of the car and uninjured. You could feel the buzz in the air. These fans knew that that final nine laps it would be the two Goliath's, Forsberg and Becker, going against each other for the win.
Yet, this story book ending wasn't written the way we anticipated. As the cars began to fire off, there was a problem for Forsberg. The No. 92 didn't respond and the car seemed to lock up. As the car was pushed down the back stretch, Forsberg sat helpless inside the car. All he could do was turn to the right, exit off turn three and his night was done. Becker restarted as the leader and held off a hard charging Bud Kaeding to pick up his 61st career win at Silver Dollar Speedway. "It feels great to get back into victory lane," said Becker. "I feel bad because I know what this team gives me and lately the driver has let them down." As Becker celebrated on the front stretch, Forsberg and crew were unable to push their car onto the front stretch and celebrate a much-deserved championship. It was Forsberg's third career Chico track championship. Michael Ing finished third and secured the second spot in the point standings. Brent Bjork earned the fastest lap in qualifying and finished fourth. Stephen Ingraham returned to Chico and scored an impressive fifth place finish.
The IMCA Sport Mod finale race was spectacular. It was great to see so many top-notch team show up. Defending Silver Dollar Speedway champion Todd Cooper returned for the chance to win the Pepsi Night trophy. He led most of the race. Yet, on lap 16 Phillip Shelby closed in. Shelby has already clinched the track driving championship but now he wanted the win. The two drivers put on a great race for the lead. Shelby used the bottom line to his liking and passed Cooper for the lead. Shelby led the final two laps and won the race. "It's been a great season and it feels good to win the Pepsi trophy again." Cooper crossed the line in second. Tyler Rodgers closed out the year with a third-place finish and a second-place finish in the points. Mark Abouzeid crossed in fourth place. Mike Merritt rounded out the top five. The race had one setback as Jeff Fear flipped his modified in turn four. He was uninjured but the car was too damaged to continue. Jerry Bartlett and Todd Cooper each won their heat races.
The Street Stock main event was just as good. Early in the race it was Phillip Shelby and Phil Marino who were battling for the win. But both, unexpectedly, had tires cut down on the same lap. They both must of ran over the same piece of debris in the track. Even though Marino didn't win the race, he won his third career track championship. "I didn't set out to win the championship but things just fell into place this year and I am so happy to be standing here tonight," said Marino. 2004 track champion Joe Flower returned to win the Pepsi Night trophy and for a majority of the event he was the driver to beat. Flower was committed to run the top of the track. As laps wound down, Shawn Smith closed in. Smith hadn't raced all year because of a motor issue. Smith returned tonight and used the bottom line to pass Flower with a few laps to go. Smith went on to win his first career main event at Chico. Flower finished second. Corey Hall is always competitive and finished third.
The Earl's Plumbing Hobby Stock main event was spectacular. Youngster Cy Cooper held off a talented Nick Vidovich to get the popular win. The crowd was going wild as these two drivers thrilled the fans. Cooper led, then Vidovich would pass him, only to see Cooper repay the favor. It was very exciting to watch. "I am really happy to get the win tonight," said Cooper. "I have to thank my crew and family for helping me out so much." Kyle Allen had a great season and won the track championship. Allen was emotional when interviewed after the races. "It feels amazing to be called a champion," said Allen. Jeremy Langenderfer finished third. Allen was fourth and James West fifth.
George Nielson won his second 600's main event of the season at Chico. He was followed by Brian Slubik and Steve Harvey.Full results are available at www.silverdollarspeedway.com