(6/29/19) Placerville, CA, By Jim Allen … Justin Sanders picked off race leader Andy Forsberg with less than two-laps remaining to score Saturday’s thrilling 30-lap Marcel Cassulo Classic King of the West-NARC Fujitsu sprint car headliner at Placerville Speedway. It marked a big money sweep for Sanders and the Joe Von Schriltz North County Plastering XXX team, who also claimed the Sprint Car Challenge Tour main event only an hour earlier.
Sanders started seventh in the 24-car grid, and patiently worked his way to the front of the pack. He motored into fourth on lap 16, got past Sean Becker for third on lap 18, before sliding around Ryan Bernal into the runner-up spot with just two-miles remaining.
Forsberg, who started on the pole, rode the cushion to perfection aboard his A&A Stepping Stone ART sprinter and led the first 28-laps. He fended off some early race challenges by Sean Becker until lapped traffic became more of a factor.
Sanders came knocking on Forsberg’s door on the 28th lap as the pair sliced through heavy traffic. Sanders drove under Forsberg as the pair powered into turn three and slide up in front of him coming out of the fourth corner to take the lead with the white flag waving. The rest is history.
“I don’t think I would have caught Andy if it weren’t for traffic,” said a happy, but physically tired Sanders in victory lane. “I was moving around on the track trying to find a different line to run and it worked.”
Including lap money, and the double-down bonus for winning both main events, Sanders pocketed almost $10,000 and a pair of Marcel Cassulo cowboy hats for his nights work.
Bernal skated under Forsberg on the final corner of the race to secure second in the Tarlton Motorsports KPC. A disappointed Forsberg finished third.
“I only made one mistake in traffic,” explained Forsberg, “but that is all it takes here. The lapped car was running his own race so it was up to me to make a move, and I made the wrong one.”
Fifteenth starter Colby Copeland was in the hunting mode from the start and scored fourth driving the Good Guys Customs & Rod Association Maxim. That earned him the Swift Metal Finishing hardcharger award and a $450 bonus. Becker claimed fifth for the Menne Motorsports team.
The second five to cross the checkered were Willie Croft, 16th starter Shane Golobic, Billy Aton, 17th starter Geoff Ensign, and CJ Humphries.
There were two red flags in the feature. The first happened when Andy Gregg took a tumble over turn one on lap 16. Jason Statler also flipped after the checkered appeared. Neither driver was hurt.
Forsberg blazed a 10.463 second lap around the quarter-mile oval to set the ARP qualifying standard for the 26-car field. He also won the Sunnyvalley Bacon dash.
Heat races were picked off by Becker, Dominic Scelzi, and Bernal. Mitchell Faccinto claimed the 10-lap semi.
FUJITSU FEATURE EVENT (30-laps): Justin Sanders, Ryan Bernal, Andy Forsberg, Colby Copeland, Sean Becker, Willie Croft, Shane Golobic, Billy Aton, Geoff Ensign, CJ Humphries, Blake Carrick, Mitchell Faccinto, DJ Netto, Bud Kaeding, Sean Watts, Stephen Ingraham, Jason Statler, Dominic Scelzi, Tim Estenson, Nathan Rolfe, Jenna Frazier, Richard Brace Jr., Kalib Henry, Andy Gregg.
LAP LEADERS: Forsberg 1-28, Sanders 29-30
ARP FAST QUALIFIER (26 cars): Andy Forsberg – 10.463 seconds
BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS FIRST HEAT (10 laps): Sean Becker, Willie Croft, Andy Forsberg, CJ Humphries, Jason Statler, Colby Copeland, Mitchell Faccinto, Blake Carrick, Michael Sellers.
FK ROD ENDS SECOND HEAT (10 laps): Dominic Scelzi, Bud Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Justin Sanders, Kalib Henry, Richard Brace Jr., Jenna Frazier, Stephen Ingraham, Nathan Rolfe.
SPEEDSHIFT TV/MVP THIRD HEAT (10 laps): Ryan Bernal, DJ Netto, Andy Gregg, Billy Anton, Geoff Ensign, Sean Watts, Tim Estenson, Kenny Allen.
SUNNYVALLEY BACON DASH (6 laps): Andy Forsberg, Sean Becker, Bud Kaeding, Ryan Bernal, Willie Croft.