(5/25/2022 – Alex Nieten) Sacramento, CA… After years of racing in various areas of the country and at times shining with the ASCS, Logan Forler made the decision to focus primarily on the NARC Fujitsu General Sprint Car tour in 2022, and while the transition has been tough early on, he’s ready for some racing on familiar tracks.
The series heads north this week for the Pacific Northwest edition of the Fastest Four Days in Motorsports featuring a pair of tracks in Oregon and one in Washington. An interesting career path led Forler to turning many laps around those facilities prior to his jump to focusing primarily on California this year.
While Forler now calls Idaho home, he was born in Puyallup, Washington and began his racing career in the state among the quarter-midget ranks when he was just five years old. Eventually he progressed into micro sprints and then went on to start his sprint car career in his teenage years and blended some traveling into his early experience.
“I got into sprint cars the year I turned 16,” Forler said. “My first race was actually in Texas, and we worked our way back home from Texas and then I raced around home for my first couple years.”
After some early success, Forler began dabbling in the ASCS, both with their national tour and some of their regional series in the Midwest and Northwest and began to get more laps at more racetracks. It didn’t take long before Forler was running up front, collecting his first ASCS National win in 2012. He’s since tallied a total of 27 victories across national and regional events.
Starting a family slowed Forler’s racing career in the late 2010s before he eased his way back in last year. Then, he decided to lengthen his schedule in 2022 and race primarily in California, specifically focusing on NARC. So, why did this driver who has so much experience and success in 360ci sprint cars decide to make the jump to a 410ci series in somewhat unfamiliar territory? For where he resides and his current desires in racing, it’s what made the most sense.
“This year I wanted to focus more on getting back into the 410 stuff. That’s really what I enjoy doing,” Forler explained. “And the only place to really do that is with NARC, unless you’re based out of Indiana or something and can fly back and forth, but that just wasn’t in the cards this year.”
Prior to this year, Forler wasn’t completely inexperienced in California. The 28-year-old had tallied five NARC starts, his most recent coming in 2014. He’d also made a handful of trips for local events and taken a liking to a couple tracks even with limited laps.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Placerville,” Forler said. “I think I’ve only raced there four times total, but every time I’ve been I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve also always been a fan of Chico (Silver Dollar Speedway). I’ve been to Chico quite a few times.”
While he has enjoyed some success at a couple Golden State facilities, Forler has found the transition difficult at times. California racetracks are known for having distinct set of characteristics compared to most of the country, so while Forler is an experienced racer, the tracks on the NARC calendar present a new list of challenges.
“The biggest difference I see in the racetracks is the Midwest tracks are really smooth and slick, not much of a cushion just more of a color change,” Forler noted. “That’s something I’ve been having a hard time getting used to because it’s just a lot different driving style running what they would consider a cushion in the Midwest because it’s not what they would consider a cushion in California.”
Fortunately for Forler, he’ll soon be heading to home turf for a break from the unfamiliar. The series is returning to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in a decade with dates at Central Point, Oregon’s Southern Oregon Speedway, Lebanon, Oregon’s Willamette Speedway, and Elma, Washington’s Grays Harbor Raceway all scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.
NARC will also head north again next month with trips to Cottage Grove Speedway and Skagit Speedway’s Super Dirt Cup on the calendar.
With his birthplace being Washington and his current home of Idaho, Forler has found plenty of success in the Northwest. He has won in 360 competition at four of the five tracks the series will visit. And even at the one he hasn’t, Southern Oregon Speedway, Forler posted a strong run with NARC back in 2010 by collecting a top-five.
“Yeah, I have a lot of confidence going into those tracks more so than the California stuff,” Forler said. “I have a lot of laps around those places, especially Skagit and Elma.”
While he’s armed with some confidence, Forler is staying realistic with his expectations heading north. He’s still amid a readjustment period after his break from racing, and while the California competitors may not be as experienced as him on the coming tracks, they’re still some of the best drivers along the West Coast.
“I look at more on a night-to-night basis,” Forler said. “I’m still trying to get to where I’m 100% confident in what the car is capable of because I’ve been out of racing for so long. So, I don’t know if the familiarity with those racetracks is going to help me a whole lot or not. We’ll see.”
Looking toward the future of Forler’s career, he isn’t certain what’s in store. He looks to continue focusing on 410s, but he isn’t entirely sure how many more years he’ll race. His kids are growing up every day, and Forler hopes to make racing a family tradition by helping kickstart their careers, which may take time from his own.
Before he takes a major step back from racing, though, Forler does have some goals he’d like to accomplish, specifically one that may allow fans he picked up during his years of traveling in the Midwest to see him race in person again. This season of developing his 410 program with the NARC Fujitsu General Sprint Cars may very well be a stepping stone toward that goal as Forler continues to try something new in 2022.
“I’ve always wanted to go out and do the whole All-Star tour,” Forler said. “I don’t know if that’s something that’s actually going to be feasible or not, but it’s definitely something that I would really like to do. I do want to keep racing the 410 stuff. I don’t want to drop the 410 racing. It’s where I want to stay.”