By Bob Burbach
Marysville- There’s only one place to be Saturday night if you are a fan of open wheel racing and that is Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park. The Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprinters will return with the Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Finale. In addition the Bay Cities Racing Association Midgets will make their 2nd appearance at the quick Marysville oval. The Pro 4 Sprinters will also be presented. It will be Yuba City Scrap and Steel’s 12th Ice Cream Night at the Raceway. Richard Lovell and the staff at Yuba City Scrap and Steel will celebrate the birthday of MRP sprint car stars, twin brothers Korey and Kevin Lovell by providing ice cream for everyone in attendance Saturday night. Korey, MRP’s own “5-time” will be racing along with brother Kevin in a pair of Korey Lovell Racing, Yuba City Scrap and Steel Specials.
The Yuba City Scrap and Steel cars have been a part of northern California sprint car racing since the late 70s. Their cars have carried such national stars as Tim Green and Jimmy Sills along with a host of others too numerous to name. Car owner Richard Lovell and brother Ronnie were the “original” Lovell brothers and started off by fielding modified stock cars in this area. In the early 90s Korey and Kevin started racing modified midgets and when they were ready, started racing the sprint cars like you will see on Saturday night. The 35-year love affair with the sport still gets Richard Lovell’s attention. This observer had an opportunity to speak with the elder Lovell recently and he still can go a-mile-a-minute about racecars and racing in general. It was good to see the spark was still there even though 5 time champ, son Korey now heads the “Scrap and Steel” racecar operation.
“Bad” Billy Wallace looks for another trophy in the Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprinter Car class Saturday during Yuba City Scrap and Steel Night at the races. Championship point leader Wallace is smokin’ hot lately and has shown that he can pick his way to the front of the Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car field, regardless of the format. MRP continues to have a superb number of winged racers for each show. The aforementioned Korey Lovell, Kevin Lovell, “Chilly Willie” Fielding, Garry Burdick, Brandon Dozier and Brent Dothage will keep the heat on Wallace as a host of other great winged open wheel artists try for the stout MRP winner’s share of the purse.
In addition to the winged cars, a race within a race will be featured when the Joe Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Series rolls into town for their final points race of the 2011 season. The event also pays points in the MRP Wingless Sprint Car Series point chase. 3-time USAC National Silver Crown Champion Jimmy Sills sits just 9 markers ahead in the Hunt Series while Brett Youngman holds a slim 7 point lead in the MRP side of the shootout. It’s for all the marbles in the Hunt Series Saturday as this will be the last race in the 2011 version of the “Shootout”. Last year’s champ Terry Schank sits in 2nd in the Hunt Series points and is the guy that Sills didn’t want to see in 2nd. Schank is on a 3-year roll. Schank has won 34 features in 100 starts with his current car owner Roger Gleeson. This unrivaled percentage of wins is only made more remarkable when you consider that the team also has a total of 79 top 5 finishes in those 100 starts. Schank has been superb in his command of wingless racing in northern California. Schank is the defending champion at MRP as well.
Hunt Series point leader Sills, sometimes called “The Professor” will be driving injured Saturday night. Sills compressed vertebras 3, 4 & 5 in a bizarre crash at MRP during the last Hunt show. Sills got a wheel and appeared to be headed upside down but the car twisted in such a way that it came down very hard on all 4s slamming Sills downward with the impact. Sills has been nursing his injuries looking toward Saturday. How much of a factor it will be remains unknown. Sills is a cagey veteran with thousands of miles behind the wheel and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
The MRP Wingless Sprint Car situation, of course, is even tighter. Schank won last week at MRP and the closest contender to Youngman’s shot at the MRP title, Jeremy Hawes, crashed last week. Youngman had a difficult feature and did not take full advantage of Hawes’ misfortune. With so many talented racers in the house Saturday, this event is a real wild card in the MRP series. A full field of cars can have a big impact on the points. So Hawes and Youngman better be on the ball. Sideways at 100mph, the Wingless Warriors are a scary sight with bone chilling thrills at MRP.
The BCRA Midgets will bring their best to MRP on Saturday as well. As one of the nation’s oldest sanctioning bodies the BCRA will have everybody back who made the trip to Kansas for the Belleville Midget Nationals a couple of weeks ago. Former champion Nick Foster and quick lady racer Shannon McQueen will lead the BCRA contingent. Dillon Silverman has been hot lately and he too will be in the show. McQueen won at MRP in April.
3-time champ Tim Maclaughlin will head the Pro 4 drivers at MRP Saturday. Local stars Joel Giusti and Misty Castleberry will be in there to fight it out with Maclaughlin. Castleberry won last time out in the series. Both Castleberry and Giusti will have a solid fan base to root them on.
The pit gate opens at 3pm and the front gate opens at 5. 1st race will go off around 6:30 after hot laps.
IMPORTANT: 2011 minor releases must be signed by parents for all minors entering the pits.