By Bob Burbach
Marysville- A trio of spectacular feature events produced 2 new 2011 winners at Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park Saturday Night. Taylor Simas came out on top after a monumental tussle among the leaders in the Joe Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Series feature. Mark Hill won with an equally impressive drive to grab top honors in the MRP Mini Stock headliner. Joel Giusti continued his domination of the Pro 4 Sprint Car class with his 3rd straight win. Jason Sneep cruised to an easy victory in the BCRA Midget Lite main event.
The Hunt Wingless Shootout was exactly that. The rapid fire pace of this race was established early on. At the green flag, pole sitter and quick time qualifier Josh Vieira shot into the lead, but 5th starting Jeremy Hawes caused everyone to hold their breath as he made a series of daring moves to secure 2nd position right away. Hawes engaged the leader, Vieira, in a terrific battle that saw the pair swap positions 3 times in a lap and a half. Outside pole sitter Simas was content to watch this from a distant 3rd. 7th Starting Terry Schank started a systematic move toward the front while Hunt Series point leader Jimmy Sills seemed content with an easy ride in 8th.
Hawes, Vieira and Simas were joined by Scott Hall and Cody Myers in the race up front. The remarkably clean, fast race was peppered with spectacular passes as the turn 3 cushion provided some 1st class bite.
Simas slipped by Vieira as Vieira was challenging Hawes. Then Hawes went a little wide out of 2 and Simas secured the top spot. Hawes desperately tried to close when suddenly everything went wrong on the front chute. As the leaders were in their 12th circuit, Bobby Nichols got a wheel of the slowing #25 of Johnny Reeves. Nichols’ car headed for the sky shedding parts as it tumbled to a stop just short of the starter’s stand. Nichols’ car barrel rolled with such violence that a front wheel was thrown into the air some 25 feet, landed and rocketed through the infield landing inside the turn 2 infield barriers. Nichols was a little slow getting out, but seemed uninjured in his harrowing ride. The car was absolutely destroyed.
After the red flag, the run to the checkers was all Simas as he started to put some distance between himself and the other competitors. Hawes stayed 2nd and Vieira was 3rd after fighting back to that spot after slipping back a little in mid-race action. Schank’s run to the front garnered him 4th, while Sills settled for 5th. Hall, Ray Benkowski, and Hawes grabbed heat race honors and Vieira won the dash with some outstanding moves.
Mark Hill was fast when he first showed up earlier this season in his familiar #8 Mini Stock. Each week he’s been a little quicker. Saturday night he got to victory lane after a stirring match of wits with point leader Misty Castleberry. At the green flag Castleberry rocketed into the lead from her outside pole position start. Hill followed her to the front from his outside 2nd row starting position. It was on from there. A remarkably quick and trouble free race turned into a thriller with but 4 laps to go. The Castleberry-Hill tango got serious as leader Castleberry approached lapped traffic. Hill, already close, started to reel in the champ as she had some difficulty getting through the traffic.
Castleberry and the lapped car of Kyle Davey got together in 4. Davey’s car spun wildly and got some air before it settled back down. Castleberry’s front end suffered some significant damage in the skirmish, but she recovered. Castleberry’s incident allowed Hill to sneak by and win the race to the yellow. The red lights flashed on as rescue workers looked in on Davey.
The 3-lap dash to the checkers saw Hill motor away from Castleberry’s damaged car with ease. 3rd running Howard Law got by Castleberry as well in the closing laps to finish 2nd. Castleberry stayed 3rd followed by Alan Furuta who turned in another fine performance. Jason Clayton and Shaun Merritt were the heat race winners.
In the Pro 4 feature Giusti and 3 time series champ Tim Maclaughlin stayed glued together for the entire race. As a matter of fact, they both spun to a stop while running 1-2 when Maclaughlin hooked Giusti while trying to pass. Both drivers went to the rear and carved their way right back to the front. But, Giusti was simply quicker and sailed into victory lane with Maclaughlin right behind. Jeff Olschowka finished in 3rd.
For more on Jason Sneep’s win in the BCRA Midget Lites go to bcraracing.com.
Next week is H & H Trenching Kids Nite. The mighty winged sprint cars of the Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car Series will return. The MRP Super Stocks will also return after a long hiatus. The ever popular Mini Stocks and Pro 4s will also be on the card. The 2nd appearance of the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars will round out the 5-division show. On Kids Nite all kids under 12 accompanied by an adult are FREE!!
The Pit Gate opens at 3pm. The front gates open at 5pm with racing at 6.30pm.