By Bob Burbach
Marysville- It’s about time. It’s been a dry spell for 3-time MRP Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car champion Brent Dothage. But, Saturday night Dothage scored an impressive wire-to-wire victory in the WIX 100 Nights of Racing/Arnes Paint featured event. Misty Castleberry extended her point lead in the MRP Mini Stock Standings with a hard fought victory in that class. MRP Wingless Warrior Sprint Car champ Terry Schank posted an easy victory in the slam-bang main event. Jeremy Hawes and Ryan Winter also got victories in the MRP Hobby Stock and Nor Cal Dwarf Car closers.
In the MRP Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car main Dothage simply ran away on a windswept surface that was battered by 25 mph winds for most of the night. Surprisingly enough, however, a real war was going on for 2nd place between 4-time feature event winner Reyna Krueger, point leader Billy Wallace and a startlingly fast Garry Burdick. That trio kept the fans on the edge of their collective seats for nearly the entire duration of the race.
As Dothage roared into the final 5 laps it was apparent that Krueger was going to grab 2nd as a mighty tussle ensued between Wallace and Burdick. It may have been “slicky”, but both drivers searched high and low for an advantage. Burdick ended the discussion at the end with a great pass on the championship point leader and secured 3rd place.
Dothage picked up $1200 in first place cash from MRP and contingency awards in excess of $1100 from the Contingency Connection. The Contingency Connection renewed their involvement with MRP for the balance of the year. Additional prizes were awarded from WIX Filters to Dothage to make this the biggest payday of the year in MRP point racing competition.
Jeremy Burt, Jimmy Steward, Shawn and Brandon Ternora posted heat race victories.
When the MRP Wingless Warrior battle was over, Terry Schank had easily outdistanced the field with a smooth, mistake free run from the front row. But the race was filled with action as 2 red flags halted the proceedings. The original try at a start was halted in turn 3 when Ray Benkowski and Brett Youngman got together with Youngman taking a quick tumble. Youngman would restart, but Benkowski was done for the night.
Another try at a start resulted in the scariest looking ride of the night. Veteran racer Dave Derr Sr. got a wheel heading into 3 at a very high rate of speed. His car became airborne, flipped and speared into the surface, nose first, nearly halting the gyrations instantaneously. Derr was thrown forward and his HANS device did its job in the ugly looking crash.
When the race resumed it was Schank all the way with Jeremy Hawes settling into 2nd unable to close on the fleet #1. Jay Youngman finished in 3rd spot and an impressive Janna Spear clawed her way into a fine 4th place finish. Spear was smooth and moved forward all night in one of her best outings. Brett Youngman got 5th after his flip as he, too went forward all night. David Sprigg and Schank won the heat races. Veteran racer Gary Deemer took a frightening endo on the front chute during the 1st heat race after catching a wheel. Deemer’s car was pretty used up but, Deemer was OK and talking to fans along the fence as they took his car away.
Once again, Misty Castleberry held off a host of challengers to grab another trophy in the MRP Mini Stock feature. The much talked about rivalry between Castleberry and Shaun Merritt was renewed early on as the duo slugged it out, often side by side. Castleberry was “wicked loose” for much of the event as the dry conditions made for a very interesting 20 laps.
Merritt made a big mistake in turn 2 and spun out of contention allowing Mark Hill, Alan Furuta, Jeff Olschowka and Howard Law a shot at the high flying Castleberry. In the end it was a battle for 2nd as Castleberry began to adjust to the slick conditions and motored away from her closest pursuers. The Hill/Furuta battle for 2nd in the last laps was a great one as the pair traded positions and paint. Hill beat Furuta to the line as the former sprint car star made his best showing since returning to the Mini Stocks where he had so much success before going sprint car racing.
Law, Castleberry and Furuta won the preliminary heat races.
Jeremy Hawes grabbed the MRP Hobby Stock feature. It was his 3rd straight win in the new series. Although there are no yellow flags thrown during racing in this division, most observers were scratching their heads as “Iron” Mike Dehoogh made his return with his newly painted #44. Dehoogh, still recovering from burns, spun 7 times during the 20 lapper and finally blew out the right rear in the process. He still finished 3rd behind Brad Magenheimer.
The non-stop Nor Cal Dwarf car main was a runaway for Ryan Winter as he grabbed his 2nd win at MRP. For more on the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars go to www.dwarfworld.com.
Next week, the mighty MRP Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Cars will be back with their awesome, scary fast, hammer-down show. JE Pistons night will also feature the wildly popular MRP Super Stocks, Pro 4 Sprint Cars and a return of the MRP Hobby Stocks.
The Pit Gate opens at 3pm. The front gates open at 5pm with racing at 6.30pm.