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Emotional victories mark Dilly Bar Nite

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - July 1, 2012 --- It was a racetrack sprint car fans hope for. Lap times in the feature event were faster than the track record and drivers passed with reckless abandon. Sounds too good to be true, well that’s exactly how it went Saturday as Dairy Queen of Yuba City offered Dilly Bar Nite at Paul and Kathy Hawes’ remarkable ribbon of clay, Marysville Raceway Park. In an emotional return to the point lead and Victory lane, Billy Wallace won the MRP Winged Sprint Car main event in Mark Moore’s Bully Dog hot rod. Brent Hall took the Dairy Queen of Yuba City DQ Dilly Bar Special to victory on DQ Dilly Bar Nite in the Super Stock finale, Misty Castleberry eased into victory lane in the Pro 4 feature and Eddie Hammett made it 2 in a row in the Hobby Stock closer.

It took a minute or two longer to get the well watered MRP clay into condition on a breezy 94 degree afternoon, but the wait was worth it as MRP presented another wicked fast, ultra competitive winged sprint car show. Wallace was the quick time qualifier with a surprising 13.039 about midway through the session, but while it was a slow second off the track record, it was a ½ second quicker than anybody else.

The remarkable comeback of 2004 champ Mike Monahan continued as he breezed to an easy win in his heat race as new comer to MRP Wyatt Finlay not only qualified well but trounced the field in heat race 2.

The feature event lined up with Greg Decaires settled in on the pole with championship challenger Jeremy Burt outside. Wallace pulled for position #3 flanked by Phoenix Arizona’s Josh Williams. Championship contender Cort Dozier and 50 time feature event winner Colby Wiesz started in row 3. When the green flag dropped Burt got a big jump on Decaires and Williams took advantage and followed Burt into 2nd. Williams made quick work of the 2007 champ at MRP, got by and set sail. Williams worked the high side and put nearly a straightaway between himself and Burt in the early laps.

Williams reached lapped traffic on the 5th go ‘round of 25 and things started to change. Burt closed as 4th riding Wallace jumped past Decaires for 3rd. Wiesz and Dozier were carving their way through when Dozier’s white 97 coughed on the front stretch and retired with oil and flames belching from under the hood. It stayed green, but one of the 3 guys tied for the championship point lead was done. Wallace and Burt were going to settle the championship point lead among themselves. Then this one got good!

First Burt, then Wallace slid past Williams and this trio flashed past 5 time champ Korey Lovell. Lovell shortly thereafter pulled off into the infield and retired as the trio up front now put a lap on Dothage. Dothage would have to settle for an un-Brent Dothage kind of night.

Then in heavy traffic Wallace moved on Burt and just made it by as the two nearly banged wheels as a lapped car got into the mix. Wallace was now the leader, but Burt was nearly bump-drafting him up the chutes in heavy traffic. 25 yards behind the lead trio Colby Wiesz had Decaires under attack. Then, with 8 to go a sudden red light blinked on. Australian visitor Josh Ruhs flipped wildly in turn 1. The Broken Hills, New South Wales campaigner was unhurt after the bone-jarring tumble.

The new green with 8 to go saw the gargantuan tussle for the lead evaporate as Wallace began to pull away from Burt. With 5 to go Wiesz was the show as he went from 5th to 3rd eclipsing Williams and Decaires in the process. Wallace roared to yet another victory for car owner Mark Moore who over the last year has endured significant personal tragedies. Moore dedicated this victory to his latest fallen friend. 

Wallace worked for this one on a night when the MRP surface offered great passing opportunities at incredibly high speeds. Often the two don’t necessarily match. During a short hot lap session before the field lined up for the feature Decaires turned a lap at 11.9 seconds. That’s 3-10ths faster than the current track record of 12.221. More than that, it’s an average speed of just at 86 mph for the 1566 feet of MRP clay. The conversion chart showed a trap speed in excess of 102 mph; pretty impressive numbers for a warm-up lap.

Wallace had high praise for the track and Phoenix visitor Williams in victory lane. “He was really good and I had to work hard to get up front. The track was so fast, but we had a good race with him (Williams) and Burt in lapped traffic.”

Wallace claimed his 5th victory of the season as the winged cars approach a 1 week hiatus over the holidays. 2 weeks from now, Wallace will bring a 3 point lead into the Performance Auto Supply Rich Dozier Classic. During post race conversations with race director Craig Hall, he wished to extend his thanks to the drivers and owners that helped bring in the track at some additional expense in fuel and effort earlier on in the evening. Promoter Paul Hawes and Hall made every effort to have a 1st class racing surface on a day when mid 90’s temperatures and breezy conditions could have easily worn out the track.

The companion feature event for the Mighty MRP Super Stocks offered a similar battle at the front as a pair of “22s” made the Dilly Bar Nite fendered main event one of the best stock car races of the year. Once again a fine field of Supers showed up. The front row of MRP Super Stock Star Brent Hall and visiting hot shoe, Petaluma’s Mitch Machado, were the story.

In a rapid-fire 20 lapper with long green flag segments, this duo sliced and diced for the lead with nail-biting intensity. While Hall has been hot at MRP over the course of the last part of last year, and the 1st part of this year, Machado has been superb as well. In his limited appearances at MRP he has seen victory lane in both of his appearances this season and 3 in a row in early season events last year. Machado is a force to be reckoned with.

The lead duo swapped paint nearly the entire distance as Ray Trimble watched from a close 3rd. The intensity of the war going on up front was keeping the fans’ eyes glued to the front runners…rightfully so. But during this intense show veteran James Castleberry was making a gallant effort to get to the front. He was slinging his #04 all over the place trying to catch the leaders. Castleberry’s effort was only overshadowed by the hammer and tong dice for the top spot.

With but 2 circuits to go, Machado’s car showed a red hot glow from inside the left front wheel. Brake’s?...Maybe. Machado had to drop off the pace as flames actually shot out from under the left front of the car during the final lap. Hall cruised home from there. On DQ Dilly Bar Nite the DQ Dilly Bar car roared under the checkers 1st. Trimble actually got by Machado up the front stretch on the final lap as fast closing Castleberry was 4th at the flag.

Post-race inspection prompted technical official John Cordell to declare Trimble’s car disqualified moving Machado up to 2nd with Castleberry 3rd.

In victory lane, the soft spoken Hall thanked Machado for making the tow declaring that, “(Machado) is always fast and he races us all clean.” Car owner Mike Hall declared in victory lane to this observer that, “I’ve died and gone to heaven, again”.

Infrequent visitor Brent Lawrence got 4th and rookie Lance Delozier placed a fine 5th in the final standings. Willie Horn and Trimble grabbed heat race victories in preliminary action.

The Pro 4 20 lapper went into the books with a wire to wire victory for Misty Castleberry. With a lead of more than a straightaway, at about ¾ distance, Castleberry’s car started to lay down opening the door for 2010 Champ P.J. Petersen to give chase, but Castleberry had enough real estate between them to make it to the checkers easily. It was Castleberry’s 2nd victory of the year in the class. It’s starting to look like Castleberry is not only quick, but is beginning to driving with a veteran’s savvy, doing whatever it takes to save the car and be in a position to win. Tim Maclaughlin was a distant 3rd. Castleberry swept the event by winning the heat race going away.

The MRP Hobby Stock closer turned out to be an Eddie Hammett benefit again. In only his 3rd ever appearance at MRP Hammett had a brief duel with Garrett Agnew in the early laps. Once Hammett secured the top spot and Agnew retired he stretched his lead and claimed the checkers. Point leader Jeremy Hammons secured 2nd position and maintained his significant lead in the standings. 

Next Saturday night is the Wingless Sprint Cars of the Joe Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Shootout will appear for the 1st of 2 shows scheduled at MRP for the traveling sprint car show. The Limited Late Models will also return along with the Pro 4s and another round Mighty Mini Stock racing.

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