By Rick Faeth
The third and final California Civil War Sprint Car Series event of the 2012 season at Petaluma Speedway was contested Saturday, September 15th on A1A Performance Night. Thirty-seven
winged warriors timed in on the smooth and ultra-hooked up adobe 3/8ths mile oval. Qualifying times started off quick in the low to mid-13 seconds bracket and continued to plummet until Sean Becker timed in the thirty-fifth car out with a sizzling 12.870 to narrowly nip Rico Abreu by 0.005 of a second and capture fast time honors. Heat race action was fast and furious with many familiar front running Civil War pilots not transferring. Qualifying heats were won by Mason Moore, Greg DeCaires, Ivan Worden, and Zack Zimmerely. Becker, Stephen Allard, Shane Golobic, Colby Wiesz, and Ricahrd Bailey were among the non-transfers who needed to slug it out for one of the top six in the B-Main. Just after getting the green a scrum of cars tangled in the middle of the front straightaway with sprinters stacked three high on top of each other. Allard, Chris Masters, Matthew Haulot, Bill Cornwell, and Steve Tatterson involved. After a lengthy clean up it was Steve Jaquith's turn to try to tame the turn one crash wall. Once underway Becker easily won the calamitous 12-lapper over Chase Johnson, Shane Golobic, John Michael Bunch, Wiesz, and Cornwell. The main event saw front row starters Art McCarthy and Andy Forsburg drag race past flagman Scott Erwin's green flag. Forsburg bolted to the high side as well as Abreu who catapulted past the whole second row from his outside third row starting position. The first five laps saw Billy Butler and then Kyle Hirst dispense with McCarthy for second and third. On the sixth lap recent World of Outlaws winner Becker exited the race track sideways with his car impaling through the sound barrier fencing. Quick repair work by the track safety crew got the wall repaired and the green flew again. Over the next nine circuits Abreu worked the outside to pass McCarthy, Hirst, and finally Butler. Forsburg continued to lead when on lap 16 Hirst disappeared through the turn two sound wall and ended up being retained by only a chain link fence from entering the fairgrounds livestock area. This necessitated an additional 'do it yourself' home repair timeout for the safety crew. Once back to the green saw the final dozen stanzas some of the best racing this year in Petaluma. Forsburg dealt wisely with a congested track of lapped cars ahead of him as Abreu would vary from two car lengths back to ten. After accepting the white flag Abreu tagged the front stretch wall momentarily disrupting his pace. However the young charger made things very interesting on the final turn to the checkers with a banzai slide-job that wouldn't hold. The win for F&F Racing was special for Andy as father Richard was inducted into the West Capital Raceway Hall of fame this afternoon. Following Forsburg to the checkers was Abreu, Butler, McCarthy, and Chase Johnson.
A field of nine dwarf cars provided the full grandstand to some fine non-stop action. Tony Carmignani won the first heat, while points leader John Peters garnered the second. The twenty laps feature event was only slowed by one brief caution and saw Campbell's Marty Weisler pick up the exciting victory over Eric Weisler, Peters, Carmignani, and Travis Dutra.
Petaluma Speedway will host the Pit Stop USA.com Spec Sprints, Late Models and the annual King of the Hill Dwarf Nationals next Saturday Night, September 22, on BPT Carburetor Night.