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Burt, Hawes and Giusti get Toller trophies.
2011 Great Taxi Cab Open Saturday!!!
By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - October 9, 2011 --- The 2nd Sherm Toller Memorial Race provided a smooth, lightning fast surface and a 2nd trip to victory lane in the Sherm Toller Memorial for Grass Valley’s Jeremy Burt in the Winged Sprint Car 30-lapper. Marysville’s Jeremy Hawes won the intense Wingless Sprint Car feature and Joel Giusti pulled off a last lap, last turn pass to win the Pro 4 feature.

In the winged car finale, pole sitter, Burt endured a couple of agonizing original starts as fellow front row starter Colby Wiesz out dragged Burt to turn 1 both times. On both occasions the starts were called back for on track incidents. The 3rd try went off single file and Burt rocketed to a big lead with Wiesz in tow. The two former champions started to get into lapped traffic and Wiesz visibly started to close the gap. A couple of yellow flags seemed to be a good break for Burt, as he seemed faster when he didn’t have to deal with traffic.

A lap 9 yellow flag provided an opportunity for Burt to put this one away. However, Wiesz, gunning for his 50th career feature event win at MRP, wasn’t having any of that. Wiesz shadowed Burt and seemed about to pounce when Wiesz suddenly slowed off of 4 and pulled off. Burt was unchallenged to the checkers after that.

Behind Burt there was another story as Mason Moore, Billy Wallace and Mike Henry had a war going on until Moore broke free and started to close on Burt. By then, though Moore would need a yellow that never came to seriously challenge the 2007 MRP champ. Behind Moore, Wallace beat Henry to the line, as Hawaiian champion Dean Freitas got 5th. Carl Dravold and Robbie Hight flipped, but quickly jumped out of their mounts unhurt during the evening’s festivities. 

Freitas, Burt, Korey Lovell and Pete Paulson picked up heat race wins.

A torrid Wingless Sprint Car feature was lead wire to wire by Jeremy Hawes as he flew around the rim being harassed the entire distance by Billy Wallace. With few caution flags to slow the action, it was hard to know where to look. The cream of the crop in this division were slugging it out in a wild and entertaining race. 

Slide-jobs, cross-overs, transitions, diamonds…call them what you will, Dave Johnson, Taylor Simas and Terry Schank provided some spine tingling thrills as they battled for positions 3 through 5. More than once it appeared that the trio cleaned the clay off the turn 3 wall without lifting. Once again, the wingless sprinters with their tails wagging provided some heart stopping thrills.

At ½ distance Wallace showed Hawes his nose. Hawes got up on the wheel and up on the banking. He may have even used his other hand once or twice. Wallace never got close again as Hawes flew around the track…scary fast. Johnson won the war for 3rd with Schank and Simas nearly drafting him across the line. The tensioned filled event was 100 mph eye candy for any racing fan.

The 2011 Pro 4 Sprint Car finale was the best race of the year in that class. Chad Thompson burst into a big lead early that evaporated as Misty Castleberry got to 2nd and started to reel in Thompson. Castleberry tried a bold high-side move off of 4 and drew even with Thompson on the front stretch. Almost instantly, just under the flag stand, both cars headed for the sky as they locked wheels. Both cars came down right side up, but were damaged beyond repair.

Matt Beardslee in Tim Maclaughlin’s championship car seemed to have everybody covered, as the new green was unfurled. Joel Giusti had other ideas. The most thrilling 2 laps of the Pro 4 season were ahead as Giusti started to close rapidly as Beardslee got wrapped up in some lapped traffic. Giusti tried on the inside with 2 to go…no dice. Then with the white flag in the air Giusti went to the rim. He drew up beside the fleet 99 coming off of 4 and pulled off a last lap-last turn victory. It was a thriller!

A checkered flag lap for Sherm Toller was offered at the beginning of the evening and taken by Jeremy Burt. A 4 wide tribute while lining up for the feature was also offered by the winged sprint car participants. Sherm loved the winged cars. It was a moving, emotional experience for all.

Next Saturday night MRP will close out the season by presenting the 2011 edition of The Great Taxi Cab Open. It’ll be fenders, fenders and more fenders as Limited Late Model Stock Cars, Super Stocks and Pure Stocks will slug it out on the Marysville Raceway Park clay. This event was rained out in March and rescheduled for this weekend. Northern California’s greatest dirt track stock car stars will rock the house with some good ol’ fashioned, dirt track stock car action. (see attached poster).

The various incarnations of Marysville Raceway Park have always presented a big, post-season stock car extravaganza for about 40 years now and this year’s Great Taxi Cab Open will be no exception. It is a salute to MRP’s roots and with the surge in participation and fan interest in the MRP Super Stock class this past season, roots that are taking hold once again. So head out to MRP for some slam-bang, fender crunching, wheel to wheel, side-by-side, door handle to door handle, bumper-to-bumper racing action this Saturday night.

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.