Like father, like son
At just 12 years old, Andy Forsberg knew he wanted to race.
“I grew up around racing,” he said. “As a little kid, I used to say, ‘I’m gonna race, I’m gonna race.’”
But his father, Richard, told him he had to wait until he was 16.
“Two months later he was 16,” said Richard — a 1967 Placer High School alumnus who began racing that same year — of how fast the time went by before his son was following in his footsteps of being a sprint car driver.
Andy Forsberg, 36, has come a long way in that time.
The 1995 Placer High grad can recall his 16th birthday being on a Saturday, the day he ran his first race. He would compete in just 15 races his first two years behind the wheel.
Asked whether he won any of those races, he said, “Oh, hell no. I wasn’t even a factor.”
Nowadays, Forsberg is a factor alright: He just recently won his 100th race competing at Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway.
As luck would have it, Forsberg’s century-mark victory came on the same night as his 99th win, completing a rare double-duty accomplishment.
“It’s a pretty big deal in general,” Andy Forsberg said of his win total. “It’s a milestone for any racer to get there. We knew we were creeping up there the last few years. We figured it would happen this year.”
Richard Forsberg, who’s retired and works on son’s cars full time at the family shop, was starting to get skeptical that his son would reach the achievement.
“I was beginning to think it wasn’t going to happen,” the elder Forsberg said. “He ran second for weeks in a row. Then we had the two races in one night. It was pretty cool.”
Andy Forsberg, who rarely races twice in one night, had never won a doubleheader before. In fact, it’s rare that anybody ever does.
“I can’t remember it happening too recently,” said Andy Forsberg, who might do double duty once or twice a year. “Brian Crockett in Placerville did it back in the day.
“For the past 10 years, I can’t think of anybody who’s done it. You have to have a lot of things go your way. One car in one night is a handful of work.”
It’s fairly expensive to have two sprint cars run on same night, Andy Forsberg said, and there really aren’t many drivers out there that have two cars that can both go.
Forsberg has his entourage to thank for having two cars in tip-top shape that were ready for racing.
“We have a good surrounding group,” he said. “Nobody gets paid, but my dad does a lot of work. A crew of friends work on Tuesday nights. They’re called ‘The Gang,’ and they bounce between three cars.”
Forsberg doesn’t have any plans to retire from racing anytime soon. He figures as long as his body and sponsorships are in place, he won’t be stopping for at least five years.
That begs the question: Can Forsberg, who won his first race in 1997, get up to 200 wins?
“I doubt it,” he said. “I could see me winning 150. But 200 is a lot of races. It took me a good 10 years. We’ve won seven or eight a year.”
Richard, who won some 30 races in his driving days, said it would be cool if his son got another 100 wins, but he isn’t sure if he has enough years left in him to help his son get there.
“I’m retired,” Richard Forsberg said. “That’s all I do is work on the race cars. My goal is to get him out there with the best car. It makes me feel really good when he’s out there. I actually enjoy watching him race more than when I used to drive.”
Richard is by far Andy’s biggest fan.
“He’s my No. 1 supporter,” Andy Forsberg said. “He’s retired. He’s in the shop Mondays and Tuesdays getting things ready. Dad does 90 percent of the job. His job is to get me to the track. At the track, everything’s up to me.”
Reach Matthew Kimel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel