Saturday was the annual visit of the 360 Sprint Car Civil War Series to the paper-clip shaped track. On hand were 31 cars competing for 22 starting spots in the A main.
Going into the night, Hermin Klein and Andy Forsberg were tied in points so one of them would leave Quincy with the series lead.
After the dust settled, winner Forsberg was asked about a late race caution and he said, "Thank God for the yellow as I don't want to screw with lap traffic. When you're the leader you want those guys out of the way and a clear track ahead of you. I'm pretty well known as a "stomp and steer" type of driver so when I win a race on a track like this its all because of the car and the crew and not because the driver's talent."
After four heat races and a B main, fans in the stands were treated to a four-wide formation as those in the A main saluted them on a parade lap.
Then the 22-car field took the green and roared into Turn 1, where things came to a sudden halt as four cars piled up in Turn 2.
As the officials rushed to check the drivers, they found the car of Shawn Wright sitting sideways against the car of Nichole Miller that had submarined its nose under the tail of Shawn Becker's car, which had the racer Trent Canallis sitting across its front wheels.
After a pair of trucks freed the car of Canallis, all the other sprint cars were pulled apart. Only Miller's car was unable to continue.
The second attempt to start the race was successful and Forsberg took off with Colby Weisz and Brett Rollag in hot pursuit. Lap after lap they tore around the track and soon the leaders began to reel in the slower cars.
Sprint cars don't use radios for spotters or have mirrors so getting around lap traffic is a real test of a driver's skill and nerv. Both Forsberg and Weisz closed up after they caught the car of Canallis but they finally got past and were in the clear. Once it seemed that Forsberg's car had the hot set up as he could pull away at will.
The final caution came with four laps to go, just as the leaders were catching more lap traffic.
Asked about lap traffic Forsberg said, "I didn't want to fight with them as you'll start racing those guys and just blow the tires off. Obviously we had to pass a couple and everything worked out. Luckily we started on the pole and that was probably the key to victory."
Then he gave special thanks to his crew and sponsors, Autism Awareness, Levins, and Red Line Oil.
Asked if he could have caught Forsbert, runner-up Weisz explained that catching him would have been one thing but getting past quite a different challenge.
While Miller's race ended early, the only other woman driver in the field was Alissa Geving, who was fifth in series points and ended the night in 10th place.
Supporting the Civil War cars were a group of Dwarf Cars. These little cars are very fast and put on a blistering main event that was slowed by a pair of cautions.
Jesse Vankol was first on point until Quincy resident Jason Crosby charged through the field and grabbed the lead. He would go on to win the race followed by Vankol and Bobby Wilson.
After scoring the victory Crosby said, "The race went well, the track had some grip, but not much and I found a good line. It was pretty much one groove and you had to find that groove. I started in the back and had to work my way through and it was pretty difficult so you had to wait for the other driver to make a mistake."
Crosby's win was helped by the Goodyear tires that are now available for the Dwarf cars.
•On Friday IMCA Modifieds and most of the 360 Sprint Cars that raced on Saturday were on hand for the Jim Richardson Memorial, a non-points event.
The race was to honor two regulars at the track that has passed away.
The sprint cars ran three heats first then the finishing orders were inverted and everyone raced in another set of heats. Those six races set the 22-car field.
Unfortunately, getting the A Main through its first lap proved to be a challenge as it took four attempts to get things rolling. Every time the green waved there would be a crash involving several cars.
Finally the officials had the field start in single file and that seemed to work. Up front Cody Lamar and Hermin Kline led the charge but nine laps later the field slowed for a car that spun in Turn 4.
By now, Robby Whitchurch had assumed the point with Brad Bumgarner and Coby Weisz giving chase. But at the halfway point there was another caution when Jeremy Burt's car hit the wall in Turn 2 and wound up on its side.
Another caution, with five laps to go, slowed the race but in the end a delighted Whitchurch toop top honors followed by Weisz and Bumgarner.
"Man, last time I was here there were hardly any cautions and this time they were all over the place," Whitchurch said after the race. "It's a good track and we tend to like dry slick however it eats up the tires but it's a better race show in my opinion."
Supporting the race were several IMCA Modifieds and winning their main was Chris Nieman followed by Wade DeBug and Bobby Higgins.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•This week the racing slows down with only two tracks in action this weekend.
At the Top Gun Raceway, located south of Fallon, it's $5 Fridays for those interested in drag rcing. Then beginning Saturday morning, the track hosts the 10th round of its ET Summit series while the Junior Dragsters race in their ninth round.
On Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m., Rattlesnake Raceway, located just east of downtown Fallon, hosts another of its points races. Headlining the event will be the IMCA Modifieds, 360 Outlaw Sprint Cars and Mud Bogs.
•The Busch brothers spent the weekend at the Michigan International Speedway. On Saturday, Kyle finished third in the Nationwide event.
In Sunday's Sprint Cup event, Kyle came from 24th to finish third while brother Kurt, who started on pole, ended up 11th.
360 Sprint Car Civil War Series - Round 6
American Valley Speedway, Quincy, California
•Saturday, June 18
360 Civil War Series:
Heat Winners - #1 3c Jeff Parady, #2 88 Brett Bumgardner, #3 94 Steven Tiner, #4 Jeremy Burt
B Main - 1. Shawn Wright, 2. 3Cody Lamar, 3. Trent Canallis, 4. Nichole Miller, 5. Jimmy Steward
Main (30 Laps) - 1. Andy Forsberg, 2. Colby Weisz, 3. Brett Rollag, 4. Mason Moore, 5. Hermin Klein, 6. Steven Tiner, 7. Mike Henry, 8. Jimmy Steward, 9. Jermey Burt, 10. Alissa Geving, 11. Kyle Hirst. 12. Kirk Simpson, 13. Shawn Becker, 14. Brett Bumgardner, 15. Shawn Wright, 16. Jim Richardson, 17. Trent Canallis, 18. Trevor Canales, 19. Jeff Parady, 20. Robbie Whitchurch, 21. Cody Lamar, 22. Nichole Miller.
Heat Winner - Jason Crosby
Main (15 laps) - 1. Jason Crosby, 2. Jesse Vankol, 3. Bobby Wilson, 4. Race Wilson, 5. Dave Richardson, 6. Roy Petersen, 7. Glenn Sciarani 8. Chase Nieman.
• Jim Richardson Memorial Race - Friday, June 17
360 Sprint Cars:
Heat Winners - #1A Steve Tinner, #2A Jim Richardson, #3A Cody Lamar, #1B Hermin Kline, #2B Brad Bumgarner, #3B Kyle Hirst
Main (20 laps) - 1. Robby Whitchurch, 2. Coby Weisz, 3. Brad Bumgarner, 4. Steven Tinner, 5. Cody Lamar, 6. Hermin Kline, 7. Kirk Simpson, 8. Josh Ruhs, 9. Mike Monahan, 10. Brett Rollag, 11. Rusty Baglin, 12. Mark Moore, 13. Alissa Gieving, 14. Jim Richardson, 15. Jeff Parady, 16. Jimmy Stewart, 17. Kyle Hirst, 18. Cody Geaney, 19. John Michael Bunch, 20 Cody Geaney, 21. Shawn Wright, 22. Jeremy Burt.
Heat Winners - #1 Matt Murphy, #2 Chris Nieman
Main (20 Laps) - 1. Chris Nieman, 2. Wade DeBurg, 3. Bobby Higgins, 4. Mitch Murphy, 5. Russ Rasario, 6. Shayna Robertson, 7. Matt Murphy