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Banquet honors MRP racers
RACER’S SWAP MEET SATURDAY

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - November 19, 2012 --- Last Saturday night was a time for the Marysville Raceway Park stars to shine. The gala event was held at the Colusa Casino. Champion drivers Billy Wallace, Misty Castleberry, Brent Hall and Jeremy Hammons picked up championship trophies in their respective divisions. It was also a time for promoter’s Paul and Kathy Hawes to say thanks to the staff that helped make 2012 so successful.

Promoter Paul Hawes gave his annual “State of the Raceway” address. Hawes was justifiably proud of the strides made by MRP in the season just past. In an economy that has killed off a number of famous short tracks nationwide and caused others to struggle, MRP had its best year since the Hawes family took the reins. 

Hawes said that the wingless 360 spec sprint cars will return for a full season of championship point racing at MRP in 2013. While other wingless spec series appear to be wavering, promoter Hawes will offer a season long home for those who want a consistent, 1st class approach to the class without the travel necessary to compete in other series. New tire rules in this class appear to be on the horizon to help some of the low dollar teams stay competitive with high horsepower/high dollar operations. More on this later as it develops. 

The MRP Winged Sprinters will headline the 2013 season in MRP’s 45th consecutive year of operation. The wildly popular Super Stocks will head the fendered divisions. The revitalized MRP Mini Stock division will return as will the fastest growing class, the MRP Hobby Stocks. Negotiations are now underway for a return of the California Sprint Car Civil War series. Multiple dates are being considered by promoter Hawes.

Promoter Hawes also announced that the relationship with the popular Contigency Connection will continue in the 2013 season.

The Limited Late Models will likely have available dates in the Taxi Cab Opens that book-end the season. BCRA Midget Lite programs will be peppered throughout the season as will the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars. As mentioned above, the Pro 4 Sprinters will also have several dates. A schedule of events will be forthcoming in the weeks to come, sometime after the annual RPM Promoter’s Workshop in Reno, in December.

After promoter Hawes’ words, Mike Dehoogh offered an emotional, photographic panorama of a season filled with enough twists and turns that it almost took your breath away.

The affair was filled with good cheer and lively discussions amongst the attendees regarding racing at MRP, and racing in general.

Taking his 2nd consecutive crown, Billy Wallace was his classic, unassuming self as he accepted his awards for a year that found him winning a title after having missed an event for personal reasons earlier in the season. It’s the 1st time in the history of winged sprint car racing at MRP that a driver has captured the title without competing in every event (1991 was the 1st season of point racing at MRP for the winged cars).

MRP Super Stock Champ Brent Hall thanked a host of people as he kept the championship in that division firmly implanted in the Hall family.

1st year driver Jeremy Hammons put a period on a season that had him up front throughout. He was a gracious champion and thanked all those who helped him get to the top in the Hobby Stock division.

If there is any stock in all of the rumors surrounding Misty Castleberry’s future, she said goodbye to the Mini Stock division with the acceptance of her 4th consecutive championship trophy. Castleberry who will move into wingless 360 sprint car racing next year (along with Pro 4 appearances) hasn’t miss-stepped to any large degree for 4 consecutive seasons. New challenges and steep competition doesn’t seem to faze her as she moves on. The veteran campaigner will saddle up in the Flyin’ Ford vacated at the end of the season by Joel Giusti.

Surprisingly enough, a noteworthy synopsis of the raceway came from an unexpected source late in the evening after the festivities had subsided. Car owner Mark Moore (owner of Billy Wallace’s championship winning car) said to this observer in the course of conversation, that, “We will be running next year. Here’s a couple of things…It is now the safest track to run at and that’s a big deal. It’s got big white walls all around. (Easy to see). Now it’s finally got the best surface. And it has great lighting now (referring to the improved turn ¾ complex with the bright white wall), Paul has made it better every year.” Apparently, having a fully equipped on site fire truck and 1st class rescue teams at the raceway are a big factor these days for many drivers who have seen the importance of a safety first attitude. It was a tough season on sprint car drivers this year and apparently MRP’s immediate response to an accident scene is becoming a growing factor in how drivers and car owner’s alike view the raceway. Moore, who can be a little more than constructively critical at times, turned a head or two in the group that surrounded the 2-time champ, Wallace. Moore was most complimentary in his assessment of MRP’s progress.

This Saturday MRP will host the annual Racer’s Swap Meet at the track from 8am to Noon. Bring your stuff! It’s going to be a sunny 68 degree day at the raceway. C’mon down and share a lie or two with friends as some of the best deals in racer related “stuff” goes on sale for a fraction of retail. Sale spaces are $35 and admission for shoppers is free. There are concessions available. See you there.

Please contact Kathy Hawes for a prompt response if you have any questions about the event at marysvilleracewaypark@hotmail.com.

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.