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Title runs start Saturday.
45th season gets green light!

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - April 2, 2013 --- With solid support from the racing community and some 60 to 80 race teams expected on the grounds, Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park, the Yuba-Sutter area’s only professional sports venue, will bring up the curtain on its 45th consecutive championship point racing season Saturday night. It will be the “Ace Hardware-Union Lumber of Marysville-Night at the Races.” The mighty MRP Winged Sprint Cars will headline the program with the MRP Super Stocks headlining the fendered portion of the 4 division show. The MRP Wingless 360 Sprint Cars will open their season as well along with the MRP Hobby Stocks.

The MRP Winged Sprint Car field is expected to be an excellent one. 2-time and defending champion Billy Wallace from Grass Valley will have some pretty stiff competition from all over northern California, Nevada and Oregon as MRP kicks off the 2013 season.

5-time champ Korey Lovell of Yuba City, aboard his famous #71 has dispelled any notion of retirement. Lovell was seriously injured for the first time in his 20 year career late last season. As a matter of fact, if Lovell’s performance in the recent Sherm Toller Memorial at MRP is any indication, Lovell is back, big time.

Also tossing his helmet in the ring for 2013 is 3-time champ Brent Dothage from Kelseyville. Dothage is truly one of the hardest chargers ever to wear the MRP crown. Speaking of chargers, the 2007 MRP Champ (and runner-up last year) Jeremy Burt is expected along with former champion Mike Monahan out of Sparks, Nevada. Once again MRP presents a great “Race of Champions” for opening night in the winged sprinters. Speaking of returning champions, Marysville’s own Cortney Dozier will be in the hunt. While Dozier has not won the winged sprint car title at MRP, he has won just about everything else. He is a former wingless sprint car champion, and has numerous wins in just about every category of racecar at MRP. As a matter of fact, Dozier also finished 3rd in the MRP Winged Sprint Cars in the same year he won the title in the wingless sprinters. Dozier will also enter a MRP Super Stock in Saturday’s program.

Burt has indicated that he will be at this year’s opening event despite enduring severe back injuries in an odd looking crash in last season’s final sprint car race. He is a formidable and is likely to be intensely focused about securing his 2nd championship at MRP. Monahan will be back in the saddle again after horrendous injuries nearly curtailed his career about this time last year. His courageous comeback was capped by a fabulous feature event win in June of last year. One of MRP’s most popular drivers, Monahan will make the long tow Saturday.

Promoter Paul Hawes confirmed that sprintcarfan.com, northern California’s most popular and well known sprint car website, has come on board and will sponsor MRP winged sprint car qualifying for the entire year. www.sprintcarfan.com will post a $100 qualifying bonus at every MRP winged sprint car event this year. Marysville Raceway Park is part of the Contingency Connection Bonus program again this year.

Once again promoter Hawes is offering a championship point season to the wingless 360 spec sprints after a one year hiatus. The new season for this division will feature some notable contestants. There will be champions and challengers and a couple of first rate rookies that will pepper this field. “The Wingless Warriors” as they have come to be known have put on outstanding races over the years at MRP.

Amazingly enough, one of the top contenders in this sprint car division will be the current MRP Winged Sprint Car Champion, Billy Wallace. For the second time in California sprint car history at MRP a driver will contend for both winged and wingless titles at the same time. Cortney Dozier was the first to do it in 2009. Wallace, whose resume for victories is getting him quickly toward the top of the heap, will have double the opportunities for victory this season. Wallace already has a notable individual achievement on that resume. He is the only driver to ever win the prestigious Mel Hall Memorial Race in both a winged and wingless sprint cars.

Wallace will have stiff competition from local sprint car star Jeremy Hawes. It was learned that Hawes has a new motor in his familiar #7 and is enthusiastic about the season. Smart money seems to indicate that Wallace and Hawes will be slugging it out at the top of the heap. One driver who doesn’t see it that way is veteran Josh Vieira. Vieira told this observer that he is going top make a run at the title. Vieira knows the way to victory lane and he could be the fly in the ointment at the top.

A couple of notable rookie contenders will be entered in the wingless sprint car ranks. The biggest hoopla surrounds 4-time MRP Mini Stock Champion Misty Castleberry. Castleberry will be aboard the famous “Flyin’ Ford” sprint car this season. This car has had some significant victories in its storied history as Castleberry takes the reins.

Lady racers are not new to the auto racing wars, but winning lady racers are few and far between. Castleberry is different. Castleberry has dozens of victories to her credit in various types of machines. She can be a serious contender. Her legions of fans will be there to support her regardless of what see drives.

Another driver stepping up to the plate is Wheatland’s Johnny Burns. Burns became a factor in Pro 4 Sprint Cars during 2012. The young charger has made the jump to the Wingless Warriors and will be one to watch.

The MRP Super Stocks will roar onto the MRP clay in their first event of the year as well Saturday night. Defending series champion Brent Hall of Yuba City will have some serious competition this year. It looks like Brother Cory who starred in several late season races, in a limited schedule, last year is among those who will compete Saturday night. As a matter of fact, success for the Hall brothers has happened more often than other competitors liked over the last two years. But there are a couple of other drivers, among others, that you should watch for this season.

The familiar black #86 of former champion Phillip Shelby will be back. Shelby’s new car was remarkably quick during preliminary events in the recent “Taxi Cab Open”. That is, until engine problems sidelined him. Shelby has made it clear to this observer that he is going all out for the title once again. Shelby has had numerous successes at MRP in his Super Stock efforts, but this young man has dominated Mini Stock competition and has been a factor in wingless sprint car action as well over the last decade.

James Castleberry will be one to watch this season. His car has sprouted a wing and is absolutely beautiful. Time will tell whether the changes will turn into quicker laps and additional feature event victories for the popular veteran star. It was Castleberry that kept Brent Hall honest last season. Perhaps this is his year. Watch for ageless “Wild” Willie Horn and Auburn’s Wayne Trimble try to knock out the competition in their winged stockers. Trimble roared to victory in the “Taxi Cab Open” two weeks ago. A bit of a dark horse in this division is young Sean Hulsey. Hulsey turned in a fine, come from behind ride in the “Taxi Cab Open” and could be poised for a fine season. A rip-roarin’ field of Supers is ready for the first big slam-bang stock car race of the 2013 championship season.

The MRP Hobby Stock season opener will also be part of opening night 2013. 2012 titlist Jeremy Hammons will return to defend. But, this year the field will be packed with talent as Eddie Hammons and Garrett Agnew seem to have well manicured hot rods ready. Returning veteran driver Gentleman Jim Waller is expected to be a contender along with young Kyle Cheney. Brian Compton had mechanical issues in the “Cab Open”, but is likely to be a tough contender for the title. Some more slam-bang, ol’ fashioned stock car action is on tap in this class, this year, starting Saturday night.

Pit gate opens at 3PM. Grandstands open at 5PM. Hot Laps at 5.30. Qualifying at 6PM. Racing begins after qualifying at about 6.30. The text is based on information we have at the time of its release.

Note: Please make this observer aware of any names that are misspelled or incorrect.