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Arbogast gets 2nd Taxi Cab trophy
McDaniel and Dehoogh also win.
By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - October 17, 2011 --- Tom Arbogast won his 2nd consecutive MRP Great Taxi Cab Open Saturday night at Paul and Kathy Hawes Marysville Raceway Park. Arbogast won the Limited Late Model 30 featured lapper as Ryan McDaniel and Mike Dehoogh grabbed the checkers in the Super Stock and Pure/Hobby Stock features respectively. Winning Saturday took some elbows up bravado and a nice bit of good ol’ lady luck; depending on what division you were in. The Marysville clay was smoking fast all night and made for some eye-popping stock car racing fireworks.

The Late Models roared off with Matt Michelli easily leading the way as he took the lead with Arbogast finding 2nd. A 1st class “brew ha-ha” developed about ½ a straightway behind Arbogast. Jerry Bartlett, Jason England and Matt Davis were the primary players, but it was Bartlett who was on the move. The 6th Starting Bartlett used the first few circuits to carve his way into 3rd. That set up a side-by-side race for the runner up spot as Arbogast and Bartlett traded paint for 2nd. Michelli loved all of this as he just added to his lead lap after lap as the duel went on behind him. Brian Cooper was on the move after some early race problems and he closed rapidly on the quartet of racers vying for positions 2 through 5.

As the race roared toward lap 10, Bartlett tried a daring outside move in turn 3 that seemed to surprise Arbogast. The pair banged wheels and Bartlett’s front end folded like paper ending his chances for the win.

The restart had Michelli and Arbogast up front with some lapped traffic between themselves and 3rd running England. The rest of the race was an entertaining thrill ride as Michelli held off the hard charging Arbogast. By lap 20 Arbogast was pushing clay on the cushion at both ends of the raceway. His rooster tails of clay peppered the crash walls in both sets of turns. When he pulled along side Michelli, with but a handful of laps remaining, the appreciative crowd rose in unison. Finally with the white flag just a couple of laps away Arbogast took it into 1 higher and faster than he had all night and Michelli chose low. It was the wrong choice. Michelli straightened out as he tried to negotiate the bottom of 1 as Arbogast stayed wide open on the top, pulled a diamond off of 2 and flew into the lead. Arbogast won when Michelli was unable to answer. Cooper got 3rd after his late race charge.

“I’m glad Paul kept this track heavy and fast”, Arbogast exclaimed in victory lane. He was also most complimentary when it came to Michelli who raced Arbogast clean all race long.

This was Arbogast’s 2nd consecutive “Taxi Cab Open” win having taken the 2010 version in March of that year in his winged pro stock. As a matter of fact, Arbogast started the aerodynamic revolution in Super Stock racing at MRP that year as he soundly trounced the field in his winged stocker.

The 6 heat races were won by Arbogast, Davis, Jay Norton, England, Cooper and Michelli. 

In the Pure Stock/Hobby Stock closer “Iron” Mike Dehoogh popped up from relative obscurity in the opening laps to claim the trophy when the checkers finally unfurled. This event was a raucous, slam-bang affair that featured spinning cars and wall banging thrills. As a matter of fact Dehoogh, during his post race interview quipped, “First, I guess I’ve got to thank all the drivers who crashed and blew tires in front of me that gave me the chance to win.” Well maybe.

The final 5 laps of this event were superb as Dehoogh held off the challenges of Steve Martin and a hard charging Clarence Holbrook. Holbrook, especially, had been the class of the field before he crashed out of the lead in lapped traffic. Holbrook was able to restart and started a fierce charge to the front.

In the final laps, Dehoogh was pressured constantly, but did not fold. He won to the cheers of the assembled multitude. It was a gas. Dehoogh, himself had to charge from his 11th starting position into 4th before the leaders started to self-destruct. It was Dehoogh’s finest moment and it was a real pleasure to see him scoop up the laurels in this one. Martin and Holbrook in clearly faster “pure stock” cars shadowed Dehoogh’s “hobby stock” across the line.

Later in the evening, Dehoogh told this observer and the entire crowd that he would donate all of his winnings to the Sam Bekoff family after the unexpected loss of Sam’s beloved Rhonda last week. The crowd turned to the booth where Dehoogh was being interviewed and collectively cheered his decision. It was a striking, emotional moment. A tip of the straw hat to “Iron Mike”.

Holbrook and Wayne Trimble won the heat races.

The Super Stock 30 lapper was another noisy, hammer down crowd-pleasing thrill ride. This one could have been Dan Marino’s for the taking but the luckless veteran was one of 9 cars that did not finish. Ryan McDaniel took his Bill Knoop winged creation to the front with relative ease bringing Ray Trimble with him. The race was slowed on numerous occasions by cars with mechanical ailments, a couple of wall bangers and a spin or two or three. The event was red flagged for a scary looking side for side flip by MRP Super Stock racing star James Castleberry in turn 3. Castleberry, who won a feature event at MRP this season and wound up 2nd in points during season long point racing tussle seemed to dig in right side over and the car pitched high in the air before it rolled to a stop upside down. There were some tense moments in the grandstand as no word came from the accident scene for an excruciatingly long period of time. Finally Castleberry popped out of the car seemingly completely unhurt to the relief of the cheering crowd.

The race continued and McDaniel was able to maintain a 2 car length lead to starter Robin Davies checkered banner. Trimble stayed 2nd all the way. The 2011 champion Corey Hall was a distant 3rd for most of the way, but turned in some quick laps toward the end in a futile effort to catch the top 2. McDaniel drove to victory with a broken left front shock and had his hands full in the later stages.

Phillip Shelby, McDaniel, Trimble and Hall won the heat races.

Saturday’s final checkered flag may have brought to a close starter Robin Davies career at MRP. While we are all hopeful that he will change his mind, it is for all of us to thank Robin for his unselfish devotion to the MRP racing family.

The next order of business will be the annual MRP Awards Banquet at the Colusa Casino on November 12th. Please contact Kathy Hawes for tickets and information on this Gala event.

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