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4 crowns secured in 4 divisions
By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - September 23, 2012 --- Four champions were crowned Saturday night at Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park. Terry Schank grabbed the laurels in the Joe Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Series. Local star Misty Castleberry wrapped up her 4th consecutive crown in the MRP Mini Stock Series. Jeremy Hammons will wear the crown in the MRP Hobby Stock division and Tim Maclaughlin will be the titlist once again in the Pro 4 Sprint Car division. Ironically, among the champions crowned, only Castleberry grabbed feature event honors in the MRP Mini Stock portion of the show. Castleberry also achieved another double by trouncing the Pro 4 feature field. Cody Smith led wire to wire in the Hunt finale in a race that featured a great passing effort by their newly crowned champ, Schank. Brian Compton ran away from the biggest MRP Hobby Stock field of the year and picked up the winners trophy in that fender crunching finale. 

Promoter Hawes, once again put together a lightning fast, hooked up surface that allowed for fierce competition as MRP’s reputation as the west’s best prepared clay surface continues to gather momentum.

In a moving ceremony during a break in the show the entire MRP family paid tribute to fallen, champion racer Billy Knoop. The atmosphere was impossible to describe. So this observer will not try. Next Friday night Knoop will be honored by his fellow Super Stock racers. This is the class where Knoop was a 2 time champion with 17 career feature event victories. This observer would recommend attending this event. The race will decide final championship positions in the class. But, I don’t know of a stock car driver in the class that would not covet the victory this Friday.

The Hunt Series finale was a lot closer than the box score would indicate. It was that immaculately prepared surface that greeted the final feature event on the Hunt Series schedule. Smith rocketed to a sizable lead right off the bat before an early race tangle put Dave Sprigg, Angelique Bell and Terry Schank to the rear after all 3 chugged to a stop during the lap 4 incident in turn 3.

The new green saw rising star Rowdy McClenon eclipse 2nd starter Billy Wallace. McClenon then rapidly closed on Smith. Meanwhile Schank went to work from his restart in 16th. Schank was mired in the back for a few circuits, then broke clean and put on a clinic as he stormed to a stirring 4th place finish.

In the later laps McClenon drew close to Smith. Winner Smith actually thought it was Wallace giving him the pressure, but it was indeed McClenon that pressed the #2vs across the finish line.

A couple of yellow flags interrupted the last half of the event. 2011 track champion Brett Youngman hit the front stretch wall a ton causing one of the yellow flag periods. Youngman seemed rocked by the impact, but walked away.

Joel Giusti and McClenon won the heat races and feature winner Smith won the dash. Scott Hall was quick qualifier in the qualifying event. Hunt Magneto Series’ unique qualifying procedure allows for 4 cars on the track at a time. The fine folks at presented Hall a crisp new C-note for his efforts.

Local racer Misty Castleberry’s star continues to be one of the brightest in a pair of classes that regularly run at MRP. In both the MRP Mini Stock feature and the Pro 4 feature she simply ran away and hid from the other competitors. Newly crowned champ in the Pro 4 catagory, Tim Maclaughlin, chased her home in that division. But, it wasn’t close.

In the MRP Mini Stock feature Castleberry started 6th and instantly started to carve her way to the front. She got there on lap 3 and set sail for the checkers. The war that went on behind her was superb as James Foster, Howard Law, Kyle Davey and Jason Clayton all contested the runner up spot. Law and Davey got 2nd and 3rd respectively as the race came to its conclusion.

Castleberry got everybody’s attention in victory lane when she announced that she will not run for a 5th consecutive title in the MRP Mini Stock series. She said she would run the Pro 4 sprinter for points and occasionally run the mini for fun. But the real bombshell was that she would compete in the wigless sprint cars next season. More on that later.

The MRP Hobby Stock feature was dominated by Brian Compton’s rapid #18. Compton was never seriously challenged in the slam-bang season point finale for the class. The biggest field of the year battered itself into a field of 6 at the checkers in a crowd-pleasing, hoot of an event. Jeremy Hammons managed a 6th place finish and was officially crowned champion of the division in his rookie season.

Next week MRP will host the 17th annual West Coast Dwarf Car Nationals. The 2-day extravaganza will be joined on Friday night by the MRP Super Stocks in their final run for points in 2012. On Saturday night the MRP Mini Stocks will return for their final point show of the year. While Castleberry has a lock on the title, a number of other positions in the points will be decided on Saturday.

The West Coast Dwarf Car Nationals is expected to feature top drivers from 10 western states competing in this division’s premier event. It is the longest running National event in the class.

Gates open at 5pm with the 1st race going off after hot laps. The 1st Dwarf Car events will go off at about 6PM. The Stock Car and Mini Stock events will likely go off at about 7.30.

Stay tuned.

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.