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What a show! Burt, Schank, Hall, Castleberry and Dehoogh win. 
Hall Memorial Sept 17th 

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - September 5, 2011... 2007 MRP Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car champion Jeremy Burt won a terrific duel at the front of the feature event field and secured his finest victory ever. Terry Schank grabbed feature event win #102 in a nearly side-by-side finish with David Sprigg at the line in the MRP Wingless Sprint Car Series. Brent Hall capped a 1-2 sweep of the MRP Super Stocks with brother Corey. Misty Castleberry picked up another win in the MRP Mini Stocks and “Iron” Mike Dehoogh got another win in the Hobby Stock main.

It was probably the finest racing program of the year as promoter Paul Hawes beat Mother Nature and her 100-degree challenges. The surface provided breathtaking passes and tight packs of cars slugging it out all night long in every class. It was Dilly Bar night provided by Mike Hall and the fine folks at the Yuba City Dairy Queen. We’ll review the classes in order this time as each has it’s own unique and particular story to tell. It was the last time this season that all 5 of MRP’s primary divisions will run on the same night.

The dogfight at the top of the MRP Wingless Sprint Car Series has captivated the attention of sprint car fans. You could cut the intensity with a knife as the program got underway. It didn’t take long for the mood to spike even more. About 20 yards before the field took the green flag in the heat race things got weird pretty quickly. David Sprigg and fellow front row starter Jeremy Hawes locked wheels on the front chute and that created instant chaos. Hawes who came into the event tied at the top for the point lead folded his front end and retired to the pits to put his battered mount back together. Paul Anthony, who started in the back of this event, caught a wheel as everyone checked up and bounced upside down into the turn 1 banking. He was OK.

The feature had the Youngman brothers on the front row with point contender Brett and Jay pacing the field. Jay smoked Brett as the pair headed for turn 1 and ran off and hid in the early going. Hawes who, after repairs, had to join the field in last started his run toward the front. Tony Richards shot into 2nd as Brett Youngman started to back pedal. A couple of circuits later Brett Youngman, Hawes and Schank all collided after a 3-wide try in turn 3 didn’t work and all 3 chugged to a stop.

Jay Youngman lead at the new green and veteran wingless charger Tony Richards stayed glued to the quick Xj of Jay Youngman. Hawes, Brett Youngman and Schank tried to get back to the front. The 3rd running Sprigg was closing on the lead duo and Schank was getting back to the front quickly.

With 2 to go Richards tried one last banzai attempt at Jay Youngman in turn 3. It didn’t work as Richards clipped Youngman, bounced into each other and Youngman spun to a stop. Richards pulled off into the pits and suddenly there was a green white checkered dash that would decide it.

Schank was probably the most surprised guy in the place when he inherited the lead after passing Sprigg a couple of laps earlier. Sprigg had other ideas though and when the green flag fell Sprigg was all over Schank. Sprigg was “drafting “ Schank as the white flag flew. As the pair slid into 3 on the last lap Sprigg pulled along side, but Schank answered. They came off of 4 side by side. The crowd rose in unison as yet another spectacular MRP finish came their way. Schank just nipped Sprigg at the line.

In reviewing the championship point race, Hawes managed to finish in 5th just ahead of archrival Brett Youngman. Hawes will take a 1-point advantage into the Mel Hall Memorial Race September 17th.

This was arguably Sprigg’s best feature event performance as he challenged one of the best in the business right down to the wire. That first feature win seems to be right around the corner for the driver of black 12.

A stout front row greeted starter Robin Davies green flag in the MRP Super Stock finale. Front row starter, a rejuvenated Phillip Shelby beat veteran “Wild” Willie Horn into turn 1 and jumped into a nice lead on the opening lap. Shelby was able to keep the thundering herd at bay as a quick yellow on lap 3 slowed the action. Horn grabbed the lead from Shelby at the new green as Brent Hall closed on the lead duo. On lap 5 Horn inexplicably slowed and Shelby got back by. Horn got back in the gas on the high side of 3 as the yellow flag waved for Sean Hulsey who had slowed dramatically on the front stretch. The leaders dodged Hulsey as he chugged to a stop on the front chute. Horn, with a full head of steam saw Hulsey too late, pitched his car sideways and slammed into the black 27 with a terrific force. The sound of the impact was enough to take your breath away. James Castleberry then piled into Hulsey and got some air while doing so. The crowd was hushed as rescue personnel tended to Horn. A collective sigh of relief was evident as Horn began to crawl from his mangled machine on his own. Hulsey having taken a big shot from behind limped into the pits. Only Hulsey and Horn were eliminated, but Shelby, Castleberry and others rolled into the pits or sustained damage in the crash. 

When the new green fluttered Brent and Corey Hall easily kept the field at bay, worked traffic with ease and Brent Hall cruised to his 2nd victory in a row. Ray Trimble was a distant 3rd behind the brother act and Castleberry spent the rest of the race charging into a well-deserved 4th place after his visit to the pits, as did former champ Shelby who got back to 5th. It was a wild one and one of the most entertaining stock car races of the season.

Donnie Fortney showed some significant muscle by smoking the field in his heat race and the Hall boys came across the line side by side in their heat with Brent grabbing that checkered flag by.0430 seconds according to the computer. 

The mighty Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprinters were next up and this event would prove to be one of the best of the year. Yep, the winner came from the front row, but that does not tell the tale of the intensity of this fight. Jeremy Burt shared the front row with 3-time champ Brent Dothage and that alone should have told us something about how this one would go down. Burt got the jump at the start but Dothage buried his black 7b into the turn 1 cushion higher than anyone had done all night. He hooked up and carried an enormous head of steam up the back chute and flashed by Burt. Burt moved up and camped on Dothage’s tail and it was on. It was really on. 

The sustained high speeds and the mid pack passing and fighting paled in comparison to the two champion drivers up front who weaved through traffic with skill and daring.

On lap 9 the yellow lights flashed on for a minor incident, to no one’s particular advantage. Burt had been breathing down Dothage’s neck for all 9 of the green light circuits. It was the only yellow of the race. The hooked up surface allowed spectacular racing without the meaningless “slicky” spins and delays.

The new green saw Dothage and Burt again tear away from the field. Everyone else in the house was running for 3rd behind this wicked-fast duo. With 5 to go they were in heavy lapped traffic and both sliced through it with championship savvy. With 2 to go Burt threw his 2b deep into turn 1, transitioned down low and got a run on the inside of Dothage off of 2. The pair raced side by side for the balance of the lap and under the white banner. Lapped traffic was immediately ahead and Burt poked his nose out front. In the final lap Burt chose high in 3 as Dothage dove for the bottom…and with lapped cars in the mix!

In a heart stopping charge high off of turn 4 Burt blasted forward better and just beat Dothage at the stripe as Dothage wrestled with a lapped car. This was the 3rd “whose gonna win it in the last lap” event out of the last 4 at MRP in the Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car Series, going back to Billy Wallace’s closest ever win 4 weeks ago. Dothage finished 2nd in that one too.

It’s pretty clear that promoter Hawes lately has hit on something he should write down. There’s no way that on a 100-degree day that this surface should be this good…all night. This observer has been watching short track dirt track racing for 50 years and this is goooood stuff.

Mason Moore was a distant 3rd and point leader Wallace could not clinch his 1st title with his 4th place showing. Garry Burdick was impressive with his 5th place run and Geoffrey Strole got 6th with a solid drive. There are 2 events left in the Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car Series. The Mel Hall Memorial Race IS and always has been an MRP point race.

Dothage, Moore, Kevin Lovell and newcomer Strole grabbed the rapid-fire heat race wins. The dual heat race format remains far and away the most popular format with the fans. Strole was most complimentary as it is difficult for a newcomer to hook up right away and qualify well at new tracks. His choice to come to MRP allowed him to race into one of the top 6 spots in Saturday’s program. Oregon stars Charlie Cash and Todd Zeitler told this observer that they were also as enthusiastic last week about the dual heat race format when they traveled to MRP in advance of the Hall Memorial.

Misty Castleberry nursed her battered #95 into the winner’s circle again Saturday night in the MRP Mini Stock closer. An early race tangle with Jason Clayton hurt the fleet 95 as Shaun Merritt flew into the lead early on and was gone. When Merritt roared by Derik Gallier and Castleberry after Clayton’s incident he was uncatchable.

Everything was going Merritt’s way until Merritt brushed a lapped car with only 3 laps to go. Merritt’s left rear popped and the luckless racer slowed dramatically allowing Castleberry by. By far the best race on the track was for 2nd with Castleberry and Gallier racing hard for 2nd. Castleberry finally cleared the fleet youngster and he held on for a fine 2nd. Gallier and Howard Law won the heat races.

“Iron” Mike Dehoogh had to race his way into victory lane this time after a stout challenge from “Gentleman” Jim Waller in his pristine #19. Dehoogh and Waller were left to slug it out after Jeremy Hawes and Kyle Cheney banged on each other for a while early on. Hawes is running away with the title, but Cheney and Hawes have issues; adding spice to the newest of MRP’s 5 primary classes. Waller had to park his ride during the main event and Hawes got by into 2nd.

In the end Dehoogh slid under the checkers in the maim event unchallenged for his 3rd victory in a row. The heat race was another story as Cheney and Dehoogh got together on the back chute sending Dehoogh into a high-speed twirl. Dehoogh recovered, but Waller grabbed the heat race win as Dehoogh limped to the pits with a flat right rear.

Marysville Raceway Park will again turn on the lights on Saturday night September 17th for the biggest race of the season thus far. The postponed Mel Hall Memorial Race will be staged. This signature event for the Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car Series will feature every star in the Winged 360 Sprint Car world in the west. This annual event has turned into a rip-roaring affair with anybody who is anybody in this form of motorsport on the grounds at MRP. Colby Wiesz will be trying for his 50th feature event win at MRP during this gala offering. The Wingless Sprint Car Series and its championship point race implications will also be on the card. Speaking of Championship implications, “Bad” Billy Wallace could clinch his 1st ever sprint car title at MRP with a strong run at the Hall Memorial. Wallace is the only driver ever to win this classic event in both 360 sprint car classes, winged and wingless.

The Pit Gate opens at 3pm. The front gates open at 5pm with racing at 6.30pm.

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 and points become official and available at the close of business on Tuesday and will be posted to the web site.