PETALUMA, Callif. — Yellow turned out to be Sean Becker’s lucky color Sunday night, giving him the opening he needed to charge into the lead on a restart to win the Pit Stop USA Winged 360 sprint car series feature at Petaluma Speedway.
Becker bolted from fourth to second on the opening lap and chased pole-sitter Shane Hopkins around the three-eighths-mile oval for 10 laps before a yellow flag changed the fortunes of both drivers.
On the restart, Hopkins went wide off turn two, struggling with a right rear tire that was losing air, and gave Becker the opening he needed to shoot down the inside off the turn and into the lead on the backstretch. One lap later, Andy Forsberg drove around the outside of Hopkins in turn two and set sail for Becker.
Over the final 14 laps the pair ran nose to tail while turning qualifying lap speeds to open up a full straightaway lead over Hopkins, who recovered to finish third. “We would have been fine without that yellow,” said Hopkins. “I felt the tire go down during the yellow flag and it took a couple of laps for the air pressure to come back up.”
“He got tight coming off turn two and I saw the opening I needed and took it,” said Becker about the move to the lead. “Then I saw Andy’s number come up on the board and you can’t really be on cruise control with Forsberg behind you,” he added to explain the torrid pace over the last half of the race.
‘I needed something miraculous like catching lapped traffic to catch him,” Forsberg said of Becker. “We could have run qualifying laps all night long and it wouldn’t have changed anything.”