(PETERSEN MEDIA- Aptos, CA, )- Though the race was 50-laps, the crowd left Saturday night’s 57th Annual Johnny Key Classic a buzz after Michael Kofoid outlasted a furious charge from Andy Forsberg during the final 10 laps of the feature event to score his first ever Civil War Series presented by Flowmaster feature event win, and become the youngest ever Johnny Key Classic Champion at just 15 year olds.
Following extensive track prep prior to the 50-lap feature in hopes of providing a surface that would hold up for the entire program, the first ½ of the feature would see most drivers work the bottom of the speedway.
When the green flag flew on the race, Kofoid would get the jump over fellow front row starter DJ Netto, as he would pull away form the field early. As Kofoid led the way, Forsberg would move into the second spot as the car on the move early would be Colby Copeland who piloted the Van Lare No. 5v on this night.
The first stoppage of the night came on the 10th circuit as Copeland’s strong start would come to an early end as his machine would flip wildly in turns three and four. Able to climb away from the scene unharmed, Copeland’s night would come to an end.
Back underway; Kofoid would continue to lead the way as Forsberg held strong in the second spot.
Behind the lead duo, the action heated up as Kyle Hirst and DJ Netto hooked up in an extremely exciting battle as they swapped the position lap after lap, until a caution again waived on the 17th lap just as the leaders entered traffic.
With a clear track ahead of the leaders, Kofoid would again get a nice jump, but this time Forsberg was able to hang with him and stay on his rear bumper as the track slowly began to widen out and allow guys to move around.
As laps clicked down closer to the scheduled stoppage at the halfway point, Forsberg and Kofoid gave fans a sneak peak of the race’s final laps as they fought hard in traffic until the yellow flag finally flew on the 25th lap to allow teams a 10-minute window to make changes.
At the halfway point, Kofoid led the way over Forsberg, Netto, Hirst, Justin Sanders, Gio Scelzi, Mitchell Faccinto, Bud Kaeding, Dustin Golobic, and Geoff Ensign.
When the second half of the feature ramped back up, Kofoid would remain extremely strong out front, but behind him Andy Forsberg waited in the wings as he tried tirelessly to make the high, scary side work.
Getting a big run on the restart, Forsberg would take a shot and slide up in front of Kofoid, but Kofoid was having none of it and kept him at bay.
Following stoppages on lap 32 and lap 37, the battle up front was on.
Just as he did on the lap 25 restart, the lap 37 restart saw Forsberg carry a ton of momentum and slide up and take the lead as he officially led the 38th lap, but behind him the 15-year-old sensation was right there to retake the top spot and officially lead the 39th lap as they raced wheel to wheel at the flag stand.
With the capacity crowd on their feet, Forsberg and Kofoid waged war on each other as they ran hard and clean with $5000 on the line.
Kofoid would take the white flag as the race leader, but with ¼ mile left in the race this one was far from over.
Running the cushion threw one and two, Forsberg closed up on Kofoid as they ran down the backstretch. Going low in three and four, Forsberg would slide up in front of Kofoid in turns three and four, but his slide would get him up over the cushion and it would see both drivers drag race to the checkered flag with Kofoid picking up the thrilling win by just .159 seconds.
“I can’t believe it,” Kofoid said in victory lane. “I saw the 92 (Forsberg) coming in those last few laps and I thought ‘oh crap’. I kept hitting my marks and I am fortunate enough to be standing here in victory lane in what is another huge win for this team at Ocean Speedway.”
“Man, I hope all you fans liked that,” second running Andy Forsberg said. “I think we had a better car than the 4s, but he was a better driver on this night, and he flat out beat me. I hope you all enjoy watching him because I don’t think he will be on the dirt for long.”
Amidst the wild finish, DJ Netto would continue to run well as of late at Ocean Speedway and end his night on the podium with a third place finish.
“Lee Lindgren really knows how to make a car get around Ocean Speedway, and again we had another great car,” Netto said. “I couldn’t really get up to the two leaders but we had a great race between Kyle Hirst and Justin Sanders, and it’s nice to be back up here on the podium.”
Justin Sanders outlasted Kyle Hirst for fourth, as Hirst held on to finish fifth. Mitchell Faccinto finished sixth, as Zane Blanchard had an extremely strong run that saw him charge from 22nd to finish seventh. Bud Kaeding rebounded from a lap 32 spin to finish eighth, Geoff Ensign ran ninth, and Koen Shaw rounded out the Top-10.
Saturday night at Ocean Speedway a total of 25 Civil War Series pres. by Flowmaster and Ocean Sprints pres. by Taco Bravo cars checked into the pit area and it was Mitchell Faccinto earning quick time honors in qualifications.
A total of three heat races were ran on this night with wins going to Forsberg, Copeland, and Gio Scelzi.
Geoff Ensign was victorious in the 12-lap B Main and moved into the feature event along with Collin Markle, Jarrett Soares, Brad Furr, Kurt Nelson, Brent Brjork, and Zane Blanchard, while Michael Kofoid won the aforementioned Dash.
2017 Civil War Series presented by Flowmaster Schedule
9/6 Silver Dollar Speedway- Gold Cup
ON TAP: The Civil War Series presented by Flowmaster has just one race remaining in 2017 and the finale will take place during the Gold Cup Race of Champions, as the Civil War Series pres. by Flowmaster open the four-day extravaganza up on Weds, Sept. 6th.
2017 WINNERS: Shane Golobic (March 11th Silver Dollar Speedway), Andy Forsberg (March 31st Silver Dollar Speedway), Andy Forsberg (May 27th Marysville Raceway), Kyle Hirst (May 28th Silver Dollar Speedway), Andy Forsberg (July 1st Marysville Raceway), Kyle Hirst (July 14th Ocean Speedway), Michael Kofoid (August 12th Ocean Speedway).
STAY CONNECTED: Keep up with the Civil War Series Presented By Flowmaster, and find complete results and point standings by clicking over to www.racepmg.com, ‘Liking’ www.facebook.com/civilwarsprints, or following us on twitter at www.twitter.com/civilwarsprints. For more information on Flowmaster, please visit www.flowmastermufflers.com.
CIVIL WAR SERIES PRESENTED BY FLOWMASTER- Founded in 1991 as the North-South Series, the Civil War Sprint Car Series was born in 1993 giving 360ci Sprint Cars in California a sanctioning body. What started as just a handful of races at three different tracks has evolved into quite the series. In 2017, the Civil War Sprint Car Series will host 9 events at 4 different tracks around California.