For the first time since the recent controversy over the Confederate battle flag began, Auburn’s Andy Forsberg brought out his bright orange sprint car dubbed “General Lee” and raced last Saturday at the Placerville Speedway.
The 360-cubic-inch sprint car sports a matching orange wing with the Confederate flag covering the entire top. The flag is hard to miss, much like his sprint car.
Forsberg and Placerville Speedway promoter Alan Handy said no one complained about the car, which Forsberg drove to a sixth-place finish in the A Main.
“We left the flag on the wing because our team is non-political and because we all loved watching the ‘Dukes of Hazard’ growing up,” said Forsberg, 39. “We had nothing but positive comments on the car because they know it’s modeled after General Lee on the TV show and we’re not making some sort of political statement.”
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Forsberg said sales of T-shirts featuring his sprint car have been robust and his race team is producing more. Forsberg believes the increase in sales is because fans love his car and not because they support the rebel flag.
“I honestly don’t think race fans in Placerville are that caught up in the debate (over the flag),” Forsberg said. “They’re at the track to see some good racing.”
Handy said he won’t tell Forsberg to remove the flag from the top wing.
“That’s the theme of the car – the General Lee – and that car in the TV show had a huge flag on the top,” Handy said. “I hope no one tries to make an issue of this because I don’t think Andy is trying to make people mad.
“People like Andy, so I really don’t care what people say about the car or me. I get called all kinds of names each week anyway, mostly from drivers. I was a (jerk) last week and I’ll probably be a (jerk) this week.”
Mark Forni Classic has $10,000 purse
Placerville Speedway will host some of the best 360 sprint car drivers in the West on Saturday, with $10,000 going to the winner of the Mark Forni Classic, a marquee event on the Civil War Sprint Car Series schedule.
The grandstands open at 5 p.m. for the richest race in the speedway’s history.
The race honors Mark Forni, who sponsored race teams and was a member of the El Dorado County Fair Board, which oversees the fair and speedway. Forni was 45 when he died in 2005 from cancer.
Drivers in the field include Roseville’s Sean Becker, who has won the event twice, and Elk Grove’s Greg DeCaires, the defending champ. DeCaires has five wins at Placerville Speedway this season, including the Civil War event at the quarter-mile clay oval May 30, and he leads the 360 points standings.
Forsberg, Fremont’s Shane Golobic, West Sacramento’s Cody Lamar, Placerville’s Andy Gregg, Diamond Springs’ Jimmy Trulli, Chico’s Kyle Hirst and Elverta’s Steven Tiner are also expected to compete.
Micro sprint car driver rises in standings
Elk Grove micro sprint car driver Ron Singh is third in the Super 600 Micro Sprint division at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds’ Delta Speedway, a 1/7th-mile dirt track. Singh is making a late charge as the season winds down. Racing continues Saturday night.
The Super 600s are the premier division of this lower-cost alternative to regular sprint car racing. Micro sprints are scaled-down versions of the 360- and 410-cubic-inch sprinters most race fans are familiar with and use motorcycle engines to power the winged and non-winged cars.
Rocklin’s Tucker Lacaze, 14, is fourth in the restricted division.
Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at email@example.com or @editorwriter001.