PETALUMA, Calif. – Andy Forsberg pounced on a split second of indecision by race leader Jodie Robinson to steal the win with half a lap to go in the sprint car season opener at Petaluma Speedway Sunday night.
The race got off to a rocky start when front row starters Tanner Carrick and Chase Madjic touched wheels in turn two and flipped in front of the entire field before a lap was scored, which moved Robinson to the pole for the subsequent restart.
As Robinson jetted out to the lead, Forsberg jumped from fourth to second on lap two, moving past Justin Henry and Max Mitrey, and spent the remaining 22 and a half laps chasing Robinson on a grippy, ultrafast track where the front half of the field ran as a single file freight train at near qualifying speeds.
As the pair ran nose to tail through turn two on the white flag lap, they came up on a lapped car and Robinson, two turns from an apparent victory after a dominating run, had a decision to make. She went high. Forsberg went low. After splitting the lapped car, they met at the exit of turn two wheel to wheel and Forsberg won the shoving match onto the backstretch before leading the last half lap to the checkered flag.
“I can’t believe we won that thing,” said an incredulous Forsberg in victory lane. “Jodie did a heck of a job and I knew it would take lapped traffic to beat her. When we split the lapped car, I only knew I was going to go where she didn’t. She left the bottom wide open and I just stuck my car down there and it worked.”
A disappointed Robinson blamed herself for “lousing it up at the end,” with her decision on the lapped car.
“The car got tight at the end and I even biked it in turn four the lap before,” she said, making it more difficult to go inside the slower car. “I got a little too cautious with lapped traffic.
“But a podium finish is still a good night.”
Blake Carrick, who started fifth when the field regrouped after the initial red flag, competed the podium and Colby Johnson passed five cars to finish four.
Andy Forsberg, Jodi Robinson, Blake Carrick, Colby Johnson, Billy Aton, Justin Henry, Geoff Ensign, Jason Toft, Joel Meyers Jr., Brent Bjorn, Isiah Vasquez, Bret Barney, Jake Haulot, Max Mitry, Bradley Terrell, Tanner Carrick.