By Bob Burbach
Marysville- The spectacular return of the Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Shootout Series to Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park was just that. Billy Wallace used the rim of the hooked up MRP clay for a series of daring late race passes to steal the show. Misty Castleberry grabbed another win in the MRP Mini Stock class as popular Mike Dehoogh won in the MRP Hobby Stock finale. Ryan McDaniel won the MRP Super Stock clash and Tim Maclaughlin dominated the Pro 4 feature.
The featured Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Shootout Series roared through 3 caution free heat races to determine starting positions in the feature event. Pole sitter Dave Press beat fellow front row starter Jeremy Hawes into turn 1 but nearly tumbled side for side into turn 3 except for a brilliant save. Hawes and 6 others flashed by to complete the opening circuit. A yellow for debris crowded the field for the restart and Hawes was easily able to outdistance his closest rivals at the new green for 15 laps of the crowd-pleasing event.
Getting close to 100 degrees by race time, promoter Hawes put a nice coat of water on the track during intermission that created a wicked fast ribbon of clay for the toss ‘em sideways wingless sprinters. Once the field got going it was a mesmerizing display of speed. A mid-race crash in turn 1 that KO’d quick qualifier and point leader Jimmy Sills was the only major incident of the event.
When the green flag was waving after Sills’ incident things got really hairy as 6th running Billy Wallace found the cushion. Wallace in the family #6w was on the march and started to quickly reel in each of the competitors in front of him. With 5 to go Wallace had reached 2nd running Terry Schank as Schank in turn was finally closing on Hawes. 10th starting Josh Vieira was also heading forward on the high side but without the success that Wallace was enjoying. With but a handful of laps to go Wallace seemed to surprise both Schank and Hawes by showing them his car on the high side. Neither driver could hold off the charging Wallace and Wallace was on his way to the checkers. The last couple of laps saw a terrific tussle for 2nd that Hawes finally won back from Schank.
Wallace was candid and calm in victory lane when he said, “No one was getting off the bottom so I did and went on by.” What was interesting is that none of the drivers that Wallace passed tried the top after he went by with the exception of Vieira and in the very last laps, Schank and Hawes. But, by then Wallace was gone.
Mason Myers, Rowdy McClennon and Schank won the heat races.
Ryan McDaniel easily motored to the checkers in the outstanding MRP Super Stock feature. The 5th starting McDaniel inherited the lead when each of the 4 competitors in front of him either crashed or experienced some mechanical ailment in the first few laps of the race. Pole Sitter James Castleberry, Kyle Cheney and an “unretired” Phillip Shelby spun and crunched their way out of the top 3 positions early. 4th starting Willie Horn also experienced some mechanical ailment that sent him to the rear.
With 15 to go McDaniel had inherited the lead and Jeff Olschowka was beginning to press hard from 2nd. Olschowka too would have another mechanical failure that allowed McDaniel to cruise through the final laps as Brent Hall fought his way into a well-deserved 2nd place. Castleberry drove like a mad man after his early race spin and grabbed 3rd. Willie Horn also battled back from last into 4th after the mysterious mechanical issue that sent him to the back seemed to remedy itself.
The return of Phillip Shelby was notable as the former champion took the flag 3rd after he charged from the back but, post race inspection showed his car to be illegal.
Misty Castleberry kept a hard-charging Mark Hill at bay and used a champion’s savvy through lapped traffic in the final laps to secure her victory in the MRP Mini Stock capper. Castleberry had it all her own way through most of the event. Howard Law provided most of Castleberry’s opposition early on, but this week Law could not reel her in.
Then Mark Hill showed up in 3rd from his 12th, that’s right, 12th starting spot and started turning the quickest laps of the race trying to catch Castleberry. No deal this time as Castleberry ran Hill out of time and picked through lapped traffic better than Hill. Law stayed 3rd. Law and Greg Prather won the non-stop heats.
“Iron” Mike Dehoogh cruised to victory in the MRP Hobby Stock main event. A compounding set of mechanical problems kept the red, white and blue 44 from competing in his heat race and relegated him to last in the starting field.
It looked like it might be Kyle Cheney’s night but the youngster shredded his right rear tire allowing veteran driver Jim Waller a shot at the lead, but Dehoogh was quicker, grabbed the lead and was never headed. Waller closed in the late laps, but Dehoogh was on cruise control.
The “dream come true” victory was a popular one as Dehoogh has persevered through an unbelievable barrage of bad luck, mechanical ills, burn injuries and a twisted foot. A tip of the straw hat to Dehoogh and his dogged determination.
In the Pro 4 feature Tim Maclaughlin made it look easy as he scored yet another win in the division. The starting field was decimated by mechanical problems of one sort or another. Misty Castleberry (doing double duty) made it interesting though as the local Mini Stock (and Pro 4) star kept the pressure on the 3-time champ all the way to the checkers.
Next week MRP will be dark. On Saturday night August 13th MRP will turn on the lights again. The Merle Shepherd Memorial race will be presented. The Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car Series will headline the salute to Shepherd. The MRP Wingless Sprint Car Series and the Pro 4s will share the spotlight on open wheeled cars. The popular MRP Mini Stocks and Nor Cal Dwarf Cars will also be on the program.
The Pit Gate opens at 3pm. The front gates open at 5pm with racing at 6.30pm.