A New Racing Season

(Andy Forsberg of Auburn, CA, has been driving sprint cars since 1994. A second-generation racer, he’s won an unprecedented 10 Civil War Series dirt sprint car championships. He’s claimed multiple track titles at Placerville and Chico and has 170 main event victories across California and Oregon. This is the first of a series of columns.)

Tear Offs • by Andy Forsberg  |  Holy crap, it’s that time of year again. Marysville Speedway has its annual practice day coming up on February 9, and I know the racing season is about to get started. The new season is here already and I’m thinking, “Is the race team ready? Have we got all our ducks in a row?”

I used to get excited about the upcoming racing season. But I guess that’s just about getting older and thinking about things more logically. Today, I have a lot more on my mind as a sprint car team owner/driver, and manager of my own small business.

One time recently, I dreamt that somebody built a new West Capital Raceway.

As a little kid I can remember, it was like Christmas to me, I would be counting the days down to when the racing season started: 44 days, 43 … I couldn’t wait. I remember being in my dad’s racing shop, seeing the progression of his race car. It was always a big deal to get the car on the ground and see it with four wheels and tires. I can remember getting up early on Saturdays, watching cartoons, back when they only showed them on Saturdays, and hanging out with my dad as he got ready to go the races. Those are good memories for me. 

And we’d count the days to the Daytona 500. That was when it was a big deal to see the one and only live NASCAR Cup race on TV.

Today, like every year, my sprint car team will hit the first practice at Marysville. It’s a playdate. It’s not really practice for me as a driver; it’s more of a test session to shake everything down. We’ll check to see if the trailer is working, if we have all of our tools together and so forth. It’s a dry run and Marysville is only 40 minutes from the shop. It’s expensive to go to the track for a night of racing, so, this practice is like cheap insurance for me.

Personally, I like to start the season with a little bit of a regimen. I’m riding my mountain bike to get my cardio up. There are a lot of great trails nearby and they kick my tail. The other day, I could barely walk back to the house from the shop, my legs were so wobbly. 

I’ve actually always kind of excelled at the beginning of the season. I think that’s because the tracks are probably wetter and heavier because the weather is cooler and tracks don’t get dry-slick like they do in summer. My favorite track conditions are at the beginning and end of the season. So, I like to try and be ready because I know I need to take advantage when things are in my favor. Plus, I don’t want to be a big, fat lazy bum when we go to the first few races.

It’s funny, my dad always excelled at the beginning of the season, too. I’m not sure why. He didn’t win as many races as I have, but he won a lot of races in April. There must be something in our DNA. We’ve always been pretty fast starters.

But maybe I am excited about the new season. One time recently, I dreamt that somebody built a new West Capital Raceway. It wasn’t in West Sacramento; it was somewhere else. They made everything look exactly like West Capital, just like it was in 1979, when it closed. Everything was brand new but it looked like it was 30 years old. That was weird; I need to remember that one.