Johnson and Stornetta Capture Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Championships
PETALUMA, CA – SEPTEMBER 29, 2012: The final race of the Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series became a shootout between former Petaluma Speedway Champion Bradley Terrell and 17-year old Chase Johnson with Terrell holding a scant 6 point lead in the standings coming into the event.
The Petaluma Speedway adobe surface was at its smooth and tacky best for qualifying and saw 17-year old Johnson a sizzling 108 mph lap at 12.431 seconds nipping Billy Butler for fast time. The heat races would prove to be pivotal with the extremely tight championship point battle between Terrell and Johnson.
Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahon, making his first appearance with the Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series, won the first heat over Kenny Drew with Johnson picking up one point for third place. Terrell was closing on leader Trevor Schmidt in the second heat when he could not avoid contact when Schmidt flipped in turn two relegating Terrell to the back with two laps to go. Former Petaluma Speedway Champion Art McCarthy Jr. picked up the heat race win over Butler and Chase Wood with Terrell clawing his way back to fifth.
Shawn Wright charged to the early lead in the main event over McMahon, McCarthy, and Drew. Wright got tangled with a lapped car on lap 11 and overturned in turn two handing the lead to McMahon. Upon the restart, Johnson quickly picked up two spots moving up to the second position. Bradley Terrell, relegated to 14th starting position after the heat race, was aggressively picking off cars knowing every position was critical with the championship on the line.
Billy Butler’s night ended with a quick snap roll in turn two necessitating another red flag. Before the final green flag it appeared that Johnson would have to settle for the runner-up spot in the race and the point standings. Then with only two laps remaining McMahon encountered a lapped car giving Johnson the opportunity he needed to slide by and win the main event. Chasing Johnson and McMahon to the line were McCarthy, Terrell, and Drew.
When the points were quickly tabulated it became apparent that the pass for the lead on lap 23 was not only for the race win but the championship title with Johnson winning his first Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Championship by one point over Terrell.
The Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Wingless Sprint Car Crown was clinched the previous week by young Joe Stornetta, so this nights event was like open season for many of the ‘wingless’ pilots. Benicia’s Billy Aton captured quick time with a blistering 14.461 second lap. Heat race wins went to runner-up points finisher Zack Lynskey, and veteran Sparky Howard.
In the 25-lap finale it was Howard wresting initial control over a swarm consisting of Aton, Lynskey, Stornetta, and Klint Simpson. Lynskey and Aton who put on a tremendous show in their heat race, continued to battle until the two got tangled in turn two bringing out the caution. Both were able to continue restarting from the back.
Bill Cornwell brought out the next caution falling victim to the very tacky and fast Petaluma Speedway surface high side tip-over in turn one. After a quick trip to the pits for a flat tire, Cornwell rejoined the field.
The final green flag appeared on lap 15 with Howard continuing to pace Simpson, Dupont, and Stornetta. At the checkered flag the popular Santa Rosa driver picked up his first Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series victory of the year over Simpson and series champion Stornetta. Scott Dupont having his best night of the season was fourth over Lynskey.
Gary Nelson Grabs First Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Victory
With the points season winding down the Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Wingless Sprints saw their second to the last points race time in with 13 non-winged warriors. Stockton’s stealthy Trevor Schmid tripped the timing lights on the fast, smooth, and hooked up 3/8th-mile adobe oval with a fine 14.630 effort. This set up a pair of 8-lap heat races which were captured by a pair of Santa Rosa pilots with veteran Sparky Howard winning the first and fast-improving Clint Simpson picking up the second.
The 25-lap feature got off to a fast-paced start with visiting Antioch racer Gary Nelson taking the point over Jason McIntosh, Jason Toft, and Zack Lynsky. Lap 5 saw the heat winners eliminated when Simpson stalled and Howard limped to the pits. Geoff Ensign switched to the high groove and passed Lynskey and Toft to move into third. Point leader Joe Stornetta diced with Lynskey, and Toft. Lap 12 saw a smoking Schmid and Scott Dupont make contact while Schmid struggled to get to the infield necessitating a caution.
The top-3 remained unchanged as the front of the pack rounded turn four to the white flag. Lynskey in heavy traffic bicycled hard and did quick end-over-end flip ending his championship hopes. This set the stage for an anticipated green, white, checkered finish. Nelson took no chances and motored strongly away from the field, however entering turn three for the last time Ensign rolled the dice and dove past McIntosh with picture perfect inside move and held on for runner-up honors.
The ecstatic first time Petaluma winner Nelson was gracious in his praise for the facility and the competition. Rounding out the top five were Stornetta and Toft. With his fourth place finish and Lynskey’s tough luck; Napa’s 18-year old Stornetta clinched the 2012 track championship.
Forsberg Outguns Abreu in Civil War Series Shootout at Petaluma
PETALUMA, CA – SEPTEMBER 15, 2012: Expectations were high for an exciting shootout between the Civil War Series and Petaluma Speedways Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series regulars for the third and final California Civil War Sprint Cars Series event Saturday night and the crowd was treated one of the most exciting races of the year.
Thirty-seven of the best winged 360 sprint cars and drivers in the west were on hand to compete on the ultra-fast and hooked adobe 3/8 mile speedway. Many of the Civil War Series top competitors drew early qualifying spots to set up much of the drama that played out later in the evening as the track surface came in and qualifying times began to plummet midway through the order. Sean Becker, fresh off his first World of Outlaws win last week, turned his thirty-fifth qualifying order into a scorching 12.870 qualifying lap to nip Rico Abreu by a mere 0.005 seconds.
Heat race action was ultra-competitive and left many of the front running Civil War Series drivers not transferring. Mason Moore, Greg DeCaires, Ivan Worden, and Zack Zimmerly scored heat race wins leaving Sean Becker, Stephen Allard, Shane Golobic, Colby Wiesz, and Richard Bailey on the outside looking in, setting up a barn burner of a B-Main.
At the drop of the green in the B-Main the crash fest was on with Stephen Allard, Chris Masters, Matthew Haulot, Bill Cornwell, and Steve Tatterson involved with sprint cars stacked three high on the front stretch. After a lengthy red, Steve Jaquith found the turn one wall and Eli Deshaies getting upside down hard in turn three when a car slowed quickly in front of him as the red flag came out.
Once the green reappeared Sean Becker cruised to the win over Chase Johnson, Shane Golobic, John Michael Bunch, Wiesz, and Cornwell who all transferred to the A-main.
Former Petaluma Track Champion Art McCarthy and six time and defending Civil War Champion Andy Forsberg led the field to green in the main event, with Forsberg using his patented high line style to blow past McCarthy to the early lead. Rico Abreu who immediately rocketed by the entire second row from his outside third row starting position to pursue the six time and defending Civil War Series Champion.
Billy Butler got by McCarthy as did Kyle Hirst by lap five for second and third. On lap six, Sean Becker crashed hard exiting the track over the turn four wall tearing down a section of the sound barrier fencing in the process. The track safety crew mad quick repairs and at the drop of the green the next nine laps saw Forsberg in the Pit Stop USA sponsored x1 of F&F Racing continue to lead when on lap 16 Kyle Hirst got together with Butler and disappeared through the turn two sound wall and ended up being retained by only a chain link fence from entering the fairgrounds livestock area.
Once again the Petaluma Speedway crew had to rebuild another sound barrier. The final laps saw some of the best racing of the year at Petaluma with Forsberg quickly dispensing of a lot of lapped traffic with Rico Abreu in hot pursuit. Forsberg’s lead would vary from two car lengths back to ten as the two drivers put on an exciting duel lap after lap. In the closing laps Forsberg and Abreu were clocked at sizzling 12.389 seconds at over 108 MPH just an eyelash off of the track record with the closest competitor running a 12.857 pace. The final few circuits saw Abreu close in as Forsberg had trouble dispensing with the lapped car of Roberto Kirby and as the white flag flew Abreu tagged the front stretch wall giving Forsberg a little breathing room entering turn one. But the hard charging Abreu made things exciting to the final corner with a banzai slide-job of Forsberg that came up just short. Following Forsberg to the checkers was Abreu, Butler, McCarthy, and Chase Johnson.
The win for F&F Racing was special for Andy as his father Richard Forsberg was inducted into the West Capital Raceway Hall of fame earlier in afternoon plus a bonus of putting the Pit Stop USA sponsored number x1 into victory lane at Petaluma Speedway where the company is the title sponsor.