Marysville, CA – It’s getting to be a habit. Kyle Hirst saddled up in his bright orange #83v and rushed through the field to grab another victory in Marysville Raceway Park’s Mel Hall Memorial Race. It was his 2nd consecutive victory in the Crown Jewel on Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park’s schedule. It was also round 2 of the prestigious California Sprint Car Civil War Series and pulled in participants from as far away as Idaho.
After hard fought preliminary events, 2007 MRP champion Jeremy Burt had the honor of making the all important pill pull to determine the inversion for the feature. Burt pulled a 10. That is the maximum inversion possible in Civil War racing and that put the swift #2B on the pole. Right beside Burt was 6 time Hall winner Colby Wiesz. Wiesz, with 50 feature event victories at MRP sure looked to be in the cat bird’s seat. But, that’s why we run the laps.
22 cars, 4-wide saluted the enormous crowd with everybody from turn 4 to turn 1 on their collective feet. The color and pageantry was dazzling as the field roared to the green flag. Wiesz immediately rocketed into the lead with Burt hot on his heels. Defending Civil War champ Andy Forsberg started to go forward from his 6th starting spot along with Steven Tiner, sporting the 50th anniversary colors of the Tiner family’s involvement in motorsports.
7th starting Hirst cruised along in 6th for the first few circuits, then, headed for the top. The furious pace of the race on the perfectly prepared clay was awe inspiring. For much of the first 1/3 of the event, the crowd stood watching the high speed flurry of action. Hirst was fully a car width higher in turn 1 than any of the other competitors and it wasn’t long before he started picking off cars in his run to the front.
Others were fast, but Hirst was faster. The 2 groove track allowed for some downright scary wheel to wheel racing among California’s greatest sprint car talents. There were constant battles throughout the field as the track conditions allowed for some pretty wild moves by this talented field of cars and stars. Hirst picked off each of the competitors ahead of him with daring high side runs, especially through turns 1 and 2. In the end, nobody had anything for the high flying Hirst on this night. Once he flashed into the lead, he was long gone.
A huge battle raged behind Hirst as Forsberg, Tiner, Wiesz and Burt tried to keep Hirst in sight. Lapped traffic bothered the others more than it did Hirst, and only a late race red flag allowed the quartet running 2nd through 5th another shot at the orange 83v. Chase Johnson got it tipped over in turn 1 with no injuries.
The final 3 laps of the rapid-fire 30 lapper put a period on this one as Hirst, with an easy lead beat Forsberg, Tiner, Wiesz and Burt to the line. Quick qualifier Mason Moore came from 10th to 6th in a fine drive. 22nd starter Trent Canales got as high as 10th, but had to settle for 14th in the final standings in another well crafted ride that was overshadowed by the struggle at the top. The raging 30 lapper was a thriller from start to finish, wherever you looked.
Greg Decaires, Robert Stice, Richard Bailey and Herman Klein took heat race honors. The heat races went into the books with only a couple of slowdowns, but heat race #4 had everyone on the edge of their seats. Hirst was 6th with only 2 laps to go in the race and he needed 4th in order to transfer. Hirst literally “biked” past Brett Rollag for 5th in turn 1. Then 1 lap later, Hirst won an outstanding duel to the checkers with young Trent Canales. Hirst transferred, Canales went to the “B”. But, the buzz was on. This place was going to be racy and if you were good enough there was plenty of track available for you to go forward.
2012 Winged Sprint Car champion Billy Wallace easily outdistanced the field in the non-stop “B” main. Brad Terrell took the “C”
In pre-race activities, Paul and Kathy Hawes once again welcomed the entire Hall family and friends to celebrate the life of Mel Hall. This edition of this race was a great tribute to Hall, who ironically was instrumental in the formation of the California Sprint Car Civil War.
Another amazing story took place at the raceway Saturday as Mike Monahan made his return to the sprint car wars in this event. Monahan had 4 fingers of his right hand severed and reattached just 2 months ago. Monahan received a wild cheer from the grandstands each time he made an appearance on the track. After Monahan’s qualifying lap the grandstand rose almost in unison cheering for tough, veteran campaigner. It was a moment in history that will be remembered for as long as MRP turns the lights on. Another tip of the straw hat to Mike Monahan.
Next Saturday the Winged Sprint Cars return to MRP for H & H Trenching Night. The Late Models will make their 2nd appearance of the year along with the Pro 4 Sprint Cars.
The bounty on Misty Castleberry will pay $600 to win in the Mini Stock feature if a driver can beat Castleberry fair and square to the finish line. Castleberry has owned victory lane and won every feature event offered this season. A fine field of stars will try to grab the bounty Saturday.
Marysville Raceway Park will have a Brad Keselowski NASCAR stock car on display at the Riebes Auto Parts grand opening celebration on Saturday morning starting at 10AM. The store is located at 9th and B Sts. MRP and Riebes announced that Riebes Auto Parts will sponsor “Kids Nite” at the races on June 9th. More on that later.
Life’s short. Live it. Race hard.
Note: Please make this observer aware of any names that are misspelled or incorrect. The text is based on information we have at the time of its release. Complete finishes, stats, assessed penalties and points become official and available at the close of business on Tuesday and will be posted to the web site.