By Bob Burbach
Marysville- Hammer down MRP sprint car star Jeremy Hawes smoked the field Saturday night in the featured Wingless Warrior Sprint Car main event at Marysville Raceway Park. Hawes also picked up his 5th win in the new MRP Hobby Stock division. Defending MRP Mini Stock champ Misty Castleberry won again as Joel Giusti got the checkers in the Pro 4 Sprint Car main. Ray Trimble winged his way to a convincing win in the MRP Super Stock closer.
Hawes was unbeatable in the MRP Wingless Sprint Car feature. He roared to an easy lead from his front row starting position as the green flag flew. It appeared that the fast, hooked up surface was exactly what Hawes needed to grab his 1st victory of the 2011 campaign. Behind Hawes a great battle erupted. Point leader Johnny Reeves dropped into 2nd place and was hounded relentlessly by Jay Youngman and Billy Wallace. There were few yellow flags to hinder the frantic action but, one of the yellows was created by Reeves, himself. He lost the handle in turn 2 and looped his white #25 to a stop. Reeves frustration was evident.
Hawes got a little heat from Youngman on the ensuing restart, but was quick to reestablish a comfortable lead. Wallace applied pressure on Youngman in the final laps, but Youngman held him off in a great drive.
Wallace was actually the fastest car on the track at the end but could not get by Youngman to turn the heat up on Hawes. It was a clean, entertaining, high-speed thriller. Janna Spear and Joel Giusti picked up 4th and 5th respectively as Reeves recovered for 7th behind Brett Youngman.
The best race of the night was clearly the MRP Mini Stock main. It was a rip-roaring event that, on the face of it shouldn’t have happened the way it did. First, it was a straight-up start. Second, the champ was on the pole. Green to checker bore-fest right?? Oh, so wrong! Yep Castleberry won, but it was a dandy.
Shaun Merritt hounded leader Castleberry lap after lap in the early going. When Castleberry got some distance on Merritt, a yellow would bunch them up again. Add to the mix, Howard Law, Jason Clayton and a resurgent Mark Hill and it was hard to know where to look. Add to that one of the biggest surprises of the year, Alan Furuta coming from a last place start and charging through the field to 5th!
The Merritt/Castleberry show was an excellent one as Merritt stayed glued to the potent #95. As the race neared ½ way Merritt seemed to get into Castleberry off of turn 2. The champ steered out of it, but Merritt cruised on by. Castleberry then threw her hot rod into turn 3 underneath Merritt and, in a shower of sparks and flying paint, the two collided. They both saved their cars and straightened them out. Castleberry got the position back, however, and never looked back. Merritt came to grief in turn 4 during the late laps of the event and slipped to a disappointing 12th place finish.
Also, in the late laps a 4-car struggle for 2nd had Law, Hill, Clayton and Furuta battling furiously for position. They finished just that way.
Ray Trimble finally found his way back to victory lane in the MRP Super Stock finale. Trimble and fellow winged racer Willie Horn ran away from the field early on until mechanical gremlins once again pestered Horn. Brent Hall got everyone’s attention in this one as he finally showed what he was capable of. Brother Corey was also on the march. Brent was a factor until he mysteriously spun and stopped in turn 2 under yellow flag conditions. He was relegated to the rear after that.
Sean Hulsey charged all night long and his fine 3rd place capped his best night of the season. The champ, Corey Hall was a distant 2nd to the-high flying Trimble at the checkers. James Castleberry was 4th who, along with wife Misty, trounced the field in their respective divisions at Orland on Thursday night.
Joel Giusti simply sped away from all of the other competitors in the Pro 4 feature event. 3-time champ Tim Maclaughlin found second early on, but didn’t have anything for Giusti. It was Giusti’s 2nd consecutive main event triumph. He has not lost since tying the knot in Lake Tahoe 3 weeks ago. Marriage appears to have been a good thing for the 2-time MRP Mini Stock champ. Gentleman Jim Phifer came home 3rd in the quick 20 lapper.
Hawes also got the checkers in the MRP Hobby Stock main. A brief early race battle with Kyle Cheney sparked the event, but Hawes was in control from that point forward. It was his 5th victory of the season.
Next week, the 2011 Mel Hall Memorial Race will be held. The 30 lap winged 360 sprint car extravaganza will pay $2500 to win. Every star in the west will be at MRP looking for the prestigious victory. The MRP Wingless Warriors will be back as well for an all sprint car program. This annual event to honors former track promoter Mel Hall. This is, without a doubt our biggest night of the year. The stars of the Pacific Sprint Cars battle for the prestige, bragging rights, and increased purse to find out who is the best of the best. “The Colfax Comet” Colby Wiesz has won the event 6 times. It is a Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car point race.
The Pit Gate opens at 3pm. The front gates open at 5pm with racing at 6.30pm.