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Wallace on a roll.
Law claims bounty as P.J & McDaniel also win

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - June 4, 2012 --- Paul and Kathy Hawesí Marysville Raceway Park hosted another outstanding 4-division show Saturday night. It was H & H Trenching Night at the Races. Defending MRP Winged Sprint Car champion Billy Wallace led wire to wire in that divisionís feature event. Howard Law claimed the 1st place prize and the bounty in the MRP Mini Stock main. Ryan McDaniel got the checkers in the Late Model capper and P.J. Petersen returned to victory lane in the Pro 4 Sprint Car finale.

Unanticipated high winds on Saturday that stayed strong well into the evening won the battle as far as track conditions were concerned. The surface was vastly different than it has been lately. When the featured MRP Winged Sprint Cars were shown the green flag for their main event, Pole sitter Billy Wallace got the jump on fellow front row starter Robert Stice and set sail. He led every lap. The original start proved difficult for Jeremy Burt however as his familiar #2B went for a wild ride, turning his wing into a ball of foil. Burt then suffered another hit in the cage from a late arriving car on the scene. It was a scary blow, but Burt popped out of his car and marched straight for the pits; disappointed, but unhurt.

After Burtís crash, Wallace with Stice close by, but the real show came from 14th starting position. By his own admission 3 time champ Brent Dothage simply missed the set-up in qualifying and posted an unusually poor qualifying time. From his 14th starting position, Dothage was the show. He filled every gap that opened and experimented with daring passes that all worked very well considering that passing was at a premium on this blustery evening. Dothage worked his way into an amazing 5th place finish behind Wallace, Stice, infrequent visitor Garen Linder and championship contender Cort Dozier. 

Late in the race David Tarter executed a couple of tight bone-jarring flips in turn 1. He was rocked a little, but unhurt. In the final 2 laps Linder tried a couple of banzai charges to secure 2nd from Stice, but the efforts fell short. On his road to complete recovery from his terrible hand injury, Mike Monahan wrestled his way into 6th place. Once again, wild cheers were heard from the grandstand each time Monahan made an appearance on the raceway. Tonight added another page to Monahanís remarkable story. Dothage, Peter Paulson and Korey Lovell won the heat races.

The Mini Stock feature was an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. For the 2nd consecutive race a full inversion pill was pulled by heat race winner Derik Gallier. He and fellow heat race winner Misty Castleberry had to start in the rear of the fully inverted field. Both Castleberry and Gallier had great starts and were passing cars on the back stretch of lap 1 when Kyle Cheney and Castleberry got together at the end of the backstretch. Castleberry and Cheney both spun in turn 3 bringing out the yellow flag. Cheney was black flagged for his participation in the incident. Castleberry restarted at the back again.

On the restart, Damian Merritt brought the first 4 rows of the outside line with him as he took the field into turn #1 with a big jump on pole sitter Keith Sawyer. It almost looked as if Sawyer didnít know they were going green. The big beneficiary in all this was Law who came forward quickly. Castleberry was making some pretty thrilling moves herself as she started to carve her way back to the front pulling Gallier with her. 3 laps later, in turn 2, Shaun Merritt and Travis Carter got together with Carter looping his black 32. Castleberry appeared on the scene and clipped Carter sending her into a spin. Merritt and Castleberry then collided and Castleberry stopped backwards up near the wall. Castleberry was done for the night under the 2-spin rule.

The race restarted and it was a very entertaining jumble at the front as Damian Merritt, James Foster, Kyle Davey, Erik Davey, Law, Gallier and Carter pressed for the lead. It wasnít long before Law picked his way to the front and set sail for the checkers. Foster got to 2nd at the end as Gallier put on the passing job of the event coming from last to 3rd in the final standings. Carter charged hard after his crash and wound up 4th as Damian Merritt faded to 5th.

The Limited Late Model feature was a wild affair as pole sitter Brian Cooper jumped into a nice lead as Matt Michelli, Ryan McDaniel and Jerry Bartlett fell into 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions respectively. A 3-car twirl up the back chute brought out the 1st yellow flag of the night, followed almost immediately by another 3-car spin heading onto the front stretch. This time ageless veteran Ken Michelli hammered the front stretch wall a ton. He was through for the night.

While under yellow again on lap 5 for a spin in turn 1, by James Eden, leader Cooper pulled into the infield; done for the night. Matt Michelli inherited the lead, and from this point on it was game-on. McDaniel was all over Michelli looking for a way by. At the same time, Jay Norton in his white #15 started a charge from the back and grabbed 3rd from Bartlett.

McDaniel hounded Michelli relentlessly lap after lap and Bartlett regained 3rd from Norton. Finally Michelli gave McDaniel an inch on the inside. McDaniel made it a lane, then hooked up and clawed his way into the lead. He was never threatened after that.

A fan-friendly duel for 2nd got everybody up as Michelli and Bartlett exchanged 2nd position a couple of times just before the checkers. Michelli led Bartlett across the line for 2nd. Leroy Perry got 4th and an amazing drive by James Castleberry in his MRP Super Stock got him 5th against the much more potent late models. This is the 2nd time heís had a successful outing against the late models. A tip of the straw hat to James Castleberry in this one. McDaniel and Bartlett won the heat races.

2010 Pro 4 champ P.J. Petersen simply dominated the Pro 4 feature event. Nobody had anything for the slick #01. After an entire afternoon of trying to make the car run, Petersen wound up on the front row and simply motored away. I guess they found the problem.

Every duel in this one was for 2nd and for a good portion of the race it was a good one. Defending champ Tim Maclaughlin fought his way to 2nd and Misty Castleberry was hot on the champís heels for a long time. The most impressive run (other than the winnersí) was turned in by Shaun Ternora. He had to settle for 4th at the line behind Petersen, Maclaughlin and Castleberry. Castleberry won the heat race.

Next week itís KIDZ NITE at the Raceway sponsored by Riebes Auto Parts. This popular event will feature the Winged Sprint Cars, the long awaited return of the MRP Super Stocks and the Pro 4s. In addition, the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars will host a gathering that will bring several Dwarf Car associations together for a special event. According to Nor Cal some 35 cars will be entered for this event. More on all of this later.

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