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“Were racin’”…Paul Hawes. 
Race Car Show & BBQ at Les Schwab’s at 11AM. No rain predicted Saturday.
By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - April 2, 2010 --- This observer talked to promoter Paul Hawes Friday evening. Hawes said, “We’re Racin’. There just hasn’t been that much rain here and there’s a 0 per cent chance of rain tomorrow”. That’s how he put it, so the 42nd consecutive season will kick off at MRP on Saturday night. 

The annual Les Schwab Tire Race Car Show and barbeque will be presented prior to Saturday night’s event. It’s free. Bring the family. Racecars and drivers looking to contend for the championship will be on display from 11AM until 3PM at the store at 5998 Lindhurst Ave in Marysville. 50 championship points will be awarded to any car that attends the car show and is a member of the association. Trophies for the best appearing car in MRP’s 4 primary divisions will be given. Membership applications will be available at the show.

The pit gate will open at 3PM. The grandstands will open at 5PM. Hot Lap sessions start at 6 with the first race scheduled to hit the track after hot laps at about 6:30. Get there early for the 1st Championship Point Race of the new decade at MRP.

From an earlier release: It’s about time to turn some wheels in anger at Paul and Kathy Hawes’ sparkling Marysville Raceway Park. With all the pre-season events completed it’s time to do it in the dirt for real. Saturday night the lights will be on at MRP and the venerable facility will cruise into the new decade celebrating the 42nd consecutive season of operation. New construction and a completely refurbished turn 3-4 complex will greet the finest dirt track racers in northern California. A generous 5 division show is on tap. The Winged Outlaw 360 Sprint Cars will headline the racing program with Yuba City’s Korey Lovell back for another shot at an unprecedented 5th title. Last year the season long duel between Lovell and Lower Lake’s Brent Dothage was a thriller right down to the end. In Lovell’s own words after the last race last year, “I can’t believe the stress.” Well it’s not surprising as Dothage, himself a 3-time champion, was relentless in his own pursuit of the unprecedented 4th title. Dothage and Lovell have been slugging it out at MRP for a decade now. Interrupted only by “The Madman” Mike Monahan’s title in 2004 and Grass Valley’s Jeremy Burt in 2007, Dothage and Lovell have accounted for 7 0f the last 9 Winged Outlaw 360 championships at MRP.

Whether Dothage will turn up the wick this year is unknown, but that’s how Dothage deals with early season hype. He doesn’t talk much and he seldom makes an early season commitment. He simply comes off the hill on Saturdays with his slick black racer and smokes the field with almost unbelievable frequency. The continuing saga of Dothage and Lovell is unprecedented in sprint car history in northern California. There have been dominating drivers and strings of championships recorded, but nothing compares to the back and forth rivalry of these two stars. 2010 should be just as intense. A full field is expected for this opening night extravaganza. One thing for sure, Lovell is committed. He told this observer that he is “…going for it.” It is an amazing potential 5th title. The championship battle starts Saturday when the fire breathing, alcohol-guzzling sprinters push off for battle #1. Who will win the war? Well, that’s why we run the races.

With regard to Monahan and Burt, therein you might find the 2010 champ. Monahan is always a factor and races with a thrilling and reckless abandon. Monahan is a spectator’s dream driver. He can also put together strings of excellent drives. If Monahan can find some luck, he’ll be in the hunt.

Grass Valley’s Burt was the 2007 champion and has matured to a measurable degree. Burt was always fast. Lately he’s been fast and added strategy to his game. Burt is one of MRP’s best on the cushion. Burt stunned the field last year in a mid season feature after having early race problems. He had to go to the back and went from last to first in a memorable drive. Burt has arrived as a contender and will be a factor.

One of the real fan-friendly additions to the 2010 Winged Outlaw Sprint program is the implementation of the “Dual Heat Race Format”. MRP breaks new ground in weekly championship racing, again. Single car qualifying laps are being eliminated to make room for an additional heat race series that will seed drivers into the main event. Both heat races that drivers compete in will score points to that end. The first heat race starting order will be inverted for the 2nd heat. The total of points earned in both heat races will determine how drivers will be lined up. This system is typically used by the national ASCS sprint car organization and the Pennsylvania Posse Sprint Cars at Williams Grove and other mid-western venues. The positive reception to this format by fans and participants alike has prompted promoter Hawes to feature it in the Winged Sprint Car class. Not only does it eliminate track wasting single car qualifying runs, it gives the fans another look at the stars of this class doing battle for feature starting slots. This format, for now, will be used only in the Winged Sprint Car class and in open events.

The “Wingless Warriors” of the Performance Auto Supply Wingless Sprint Car series will share top billing with the winged cars. The “throw it sideways” style of this class will be without last years’ champion. Marysville’s Cort Dozier has hung up the helmet after last year’s run to the title. This throws open the door for the title to anyone who wants to throw their hat in the ring.

Veteran driver Jeremy Hawes, of Marysville, told this observer Saturday that he is definitely shooting for the title. Hawes has put together what appears to be a superb effort with veteran car owner E.J. Dolner. This quick chauffer is ready to go. Among drivers who will challenge Hawes include veteran driver Tony Richards of Orland. Richards has put together streaks of victories at MRP that include 4 in a row and 6 out of 7 in past years. Richards is formidable competition and will be a serious contender. He’s done just about everything at MRP EXCEPT win a title. Richards told this observer that he will be at MRP, but will not consciously chase points for the title. Richards was frank in his assessment of last year’s campaign when he said he may have been doing some “point racing” when he should have been charging. Richards was obviously referring to some dastardly luck and a couple of unfortunate crashes that kept this rugged veteran from the title last year. Riding around for points might have put him in a place that he shouldn’t have been. If he’d have been going forward, he’d have been forward of these front end folding hits. If anyone can drive off the right rear, it’s Richards. 

In fact, there’s no love lost between these two hot shoes, Hawes and Richards. That makes it all the better for those of us who love this sport from the spectator side of the fence. Hawes and Richards were involved in what was arguably the best wingless sprint car race ever staged at MRP...if not the best race, period. This may well be the most exciting series presented at MRP this season.

At this writing it is unknown whether last year’s runner up Cody Myers of Brown’s Valley will debut his Winged Outlaw Sprinter or whether he will contest for the wingless title. He was a real factor in the wingless sprint car portion of the Spring Sprint Car Open a couple of weeks ago…we’ll see. Another unknown is what last year’s most dominating driver will do. Terry Schank in Roger Gleeson’s potent #1 would be a serious contender should he decide to challenge for the title. Other drivers who will be contenders include a vastly improved Josh Vieira. Vieira’s fast. If he can find consistency to go with it, he could be a factor.

Hooking up with owner Bill Felver in the 2008 championship car is veteran hot-shoe Dave Sprigg from Sacramento. Sprigg says that the team’s involvement will be limited, but Felver led this observer to believe he will be going for title #2. Sprigg’s return to wingless racing puts him in a familiar place.

In Dozier’s vacuum the field of talent knocking on the door for the title could be the deepest in the series history. A number of drivers from other tracks have been eyeing MRP and could spend the year here.

The MRP Mini Stocks will also be on the card for opening night. It’s likely that the ever-popular champion of this class Misty Castleberry will be back for another go at the title but there appears to be a sprint car in her future. More on that later. MRP’s version of “Danica” smoked the field in the recent “Taxi Cab Open”. So she doesn’t appear to be slowing as far as this class goes. As for Saturday, Castleberry will have a great field of challengers. New, excellently prepared cars are popping up in this highly competitive class. Once again MRP will pay, by far, the highest Mini Stock purses in the west. 1st place pays $400, 2nd pays $300, 3rd $200 and $100 for 4th.

2-time champ Joel Giusti from Sutter brought his slick #17 out for the open and it looks like he’s looking for another MRP Mini Stock title. Like Castleberry, Giusti may have a sprint car in his future. Giusti was turning some quick laps in a Pro 4 Sprint Car at the last open practice session. It was numbered 17 and Giusti seemed comfortable at speed.

Promoter Paul Hawes will re-establish a point-racing season for the MRP Super Stocks. After last year’s limited open season, it appears there is renewed interest in the class and MRP, as has been the case under Hawes’ leadership, decided to give the class another chance. The cars will be allowed to use fan-friendly aerodynamic wings and other devices. It’s good to see new life in the class and a friendly place for the fenders to reside this season. We invite all drivers and owners to compete for promoter Hawes’ generous purses in this class. MRP will pay the highest weekly purse in short track, dirt track stock car racing in northern California. The class pays $500 to win, $400 for 2nd, $300 for 3rd, $200 for 4th, and $100 for 5th. Members of the association will be eligible for championship money, prizes and trophies as in each of the other 3 primary divisions.

A change will be made this year in the way points will be tabulated in all 4 primary classes. Heat races will be used to seed the main events as before, but points will be paid only based on main event results. The full weight of any MRP championship will now be based on main event performance. With a 3-point bump for the winner, championships in the future will be awarded to those who win and finish high in the main events. No more “point collecting” for superior cars in heat races. Points will be paid: 50 to win, 47 for 2nd, 45 for 3rd, 43 for 4th, 41 for 5th and then a 1 point drop per position through the field. You must be a member of the association to receive points toward the championship. You must have your membership in place by point race #4 April 24th.

The Contingency Connection weekly bonus amounting to some $1250 in contingency awards to sprint car feature winners is back for 2010. The way it works is that Contingency Connection has signed up over 200 sponsors nationwide (including Exxon/Mobil 1) who contribute products or merchandise each race to the winner. The only catch is that drivers must be sporting the decal of that sponsor to earn the bonus. If a driver who wins the MRP Winged or Wingless feature race has every decal on his car, he could receive some $1250 in products or merchandise. The bonus is a healthy addition to the weekly purses promoter Hawes already pays to the winner of MRP sprint car main events. You must be a member of the association to be eligible, but you can become a member at any event throughout the year for this bonus opportunity.

The Nor Cal Dwarf Cars will also be presented on opening night. It will be the first time since the Nationals that the dwarf cars will be at MRP.

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.