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Sprint car spectacular opens 43rd MRP season
Sherm Toller Memorial honors friend of racing

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - February 27, 2011 --- Like NASCAR, MRP will have the 1st race of the year as its biggest race of the year by presenting the Sherm Toller Memorial Race. The who’s who of northwestern sprint car racing are making a beeline to Marysville Raceway Park. Saturday night, the 43rd consecutive season of racing begins at the west’s oldest independently owned, continually operated short dirt track. The Sherm Toller Memorial Race will kick off 2011 this Saturday March 5th. The $2500 to win slugfest will be a 30 lapper that will showcase the finest 360 winged sprint car drivers around in a single day shootout spectacular using the fan-friendly dual heat race format. 

As per the wishes of the Toller family, 2007 MRP Winged Sprint Car Champion Jeremy Burt and ASCS star Steven Tiner will carry the flags in a checkered flag tribute to Toller. Tiner is the son of 2 time MRP Winged Sprint Champion Rich Tiner. Burt was the winner of the inaugural salute to Sherm Toller on April 5th 2009. Ironically Burt took the checkered flag lap for Sherm on that night. No other events are scheduled in California, Nevada, Oregon or Washington this weekend so a big turnout of first class hot rods is expected; a fitting tribute to Toller, a winged sprint car fan of the 1st order. 

Pre-entries include 3 time champs Colby Wiesz and Brent Dothage, high-flyin’ Herman Klein, the hammer-down style of Andy Gregg, former Civil War champion Mike Henry, Mike Saber, Jr., ageless Jim Richardson, Nick McCulloch and the Hawaiian connection, Shawn and Brandon Ternora. 2009 Rookie of the year Garry Burdick is also pre-entered. Expected challengers include MRP’s own “5-Time” champion Korey Lovell, the spectacular Andy Forsberg, hard charger Willie Croft and MRP’s own madman Mike Monahan. Some 25 others, including several entries from Washington and Oregon are expected. It will truly be an all-star spectacular.

Sherm Toller ended his long relationship with auto racing as MRP’s colorful infield announcer. This observer met Toller in 1989 at Grass Valley’s Ernie Purssell Speedway. One year later I began my 23-year relationship with MRP. Toller joined MRP in 1995 when promoter Mel Hall took over the reins. Toller remained with MRP from that point forward. Toller was an obsessed winged sprint car fan. Toller traveled endlessly with his loving companion Loree to sprint car races all over the west before and after MRP’s seasons. Loree remains with MRP as a scorer. This observer never met a bigger supporter or enthusiast for “sprinters with boards on top”. It is only fitting that the Sherm Toller Memorial Race offers winged sprint cars as the featured class.

The companion Wingless Warrior Shootout should be just as thrilling as this “brave beyond reason” class will clash for the $1000 first prize in their feature event. Champion Terry Schank will lead a long list of entrants that will include Taylor Simas, Billy Wallace and Jeremy Hawes. The Pro 4 sprinters will round out the all open wheel show featuring champion drivers Tim Maclaughlin and P.J. Petersen. 

GREAT GRANDSTAND PRICES: This spectacular event will be offered at half of the admission that some early season races in southern California cost at the gate. Admission prices remain low for this great 3-division all-star program. $15 general, $10.00 for juniors, seniors, military & disabled. Kids 6 –12 are $5, 5 and under free. Family pack (2 adults, 3 kids age 12 or under) is just $35. A tip of the straw hat to promoter Hawes on keeping this all star extravaganza affordable for the fans. The pit gates open at 3pm. The grandstands open at 5pm with hot lap sessions beginning at 6. Racing begins after hot laps at about 6:30.

IMPORTANT: 2011 minor releases must be signed by parents for all minors entering the pits this year. 

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.