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Wallace flies to 1st win of '13
Mel Hall Memorial Race Sat
By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - May 19, 2013 --- Grass Valley’s Billy Wallace scored a wire to wire win in the featured MRP Winged Sprint Car main event Saturday night at Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park. Anderson’s Rowdy McClenon won the MRP Wingless Sprint Car portion of the show. Marysville’s Shaun Merritt won the MRP Mini Stock feature and Brown’s Valley’s Misty Castleberry repeated as the winner in the MRP Mini Stock main. Mike Grenert won a great Nor Cal Dwarf Car main event and Jeremy Hammons won the MRP Hobby Stock closer.

The 2-time champion, Wallace, out-gunned fellow front row starter Heath Hall of Oroville into turn 1 and he was gone. Hall settled into 2nd as Sparks Nevada’s Mike Monahan rushed into 3rd. A race-long battle erupted between former champions Jeremy Burt, of Grass Valley and the 5 time champion of the division, Korey Lovell of Yuba City, for 4th. It was an entertaining dice that wasn’t settled until the pair hustled toward the white flag. Burt used a daring, high side move to get by Lovell and that’s where they finished behind Wallace, Hall and Monahan.

Cort Dozier and rookie driver Branden Mansfield took heat race honors. It is worth mentioning that Mansfield had a terrific battle with Brandon Dozier to get his first win in a sprint car at MRP. Lovell picked up the $100 bonus from Legal Shield’s Rod Engberson for his lap of 13.442 to top all qualifiers.

Point leader Rowdy McClenon wrapped up his 3rd consecutive feature event win in the companion MRP Wingless Sprint Car main event. McClenon grabbed the lead with a slick move off of turn 2 and was never seriously challenged.

A 2 lap dice for the runner-up spot early on was won by Marysville’s Jeremy Hawes over opening night feature event winner Tim Sherman Jr. Hawes went after McClenon after getting to 2nd, but to no avail as McClenon nursed a rough running car to another checkered flag. Sherman stayed 3rd.

Derek Dozier flipped on lap 4 of the event, but he was OK and walked back to the pits under his own power.

Scott Hall made a late race pass on a resurgent Ray Benkowski with only a couple of circuits remaining getting 4th. Benkowski was 5th. Hawes won his heat after a close moment in turn 1 with rookie Cameron Bartlett. Benkowski won his heat race in fine style.

In the MRP Mini Stock feature, Misty Castleberry got to the front early and continued her winning ways in the class. The battle for 2nd was great as point leader Shaun Merritt, James Foster, Howard Law and Erik Davey provided the fans with something to shout about.

The race long battle for the runner up spot was won by Foster followed by Merritt Law and Davey in that order. Law and Castleberry won the heats.

For the 2nd time this season, the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars put on a whale of a show as the top 3 drivers were within inches of each other for pretty much the whole race. Early leader Jeremy Blackshere was relentlessly challenged by Mike Grenert all race long. Ryan Winter joined the fight after 5 laps of the scheduled 20. From that point on it was anybody’s race.

The scoring shows that Blackshere actually lead the first 18 circuits, then on lap 19 Grenert slammed his car against the cushion in turn 3 and got around Blackshere. 100 yards later, Winter muscled by Blackshere. Blackshere took exception and drilled Winter as the pair raced through turn 4 on the final lap. Blackshere wound up on his lid and Winter stopped right side up. Scott Dahlgren actually slipped through the melee and grabbed 2nd.

Dahlgren and Kevin Bender won the heats.

Defending champion Jeremy Hammons got by Eddie Hammett and won the MRP Hobby Stock closer as Hammett slid through the infield after leading most of the way. Hammons continues to lead the standings.

Next week one of MRP’s annual cornerstone events takes to the fast clay surface as the California Sprint Car Civil War Series rolls into town for the Mel Hall Memorial Race. The west’s finest winged sprint cars will be on the grounds vying for some $16,000+ in prize money. It will be a winged sprint car only show.

The race, carrying national significance, honors the legacy of Mel Hall. Hall was a recognized sprint car driver, promoter and innovator. Stay tuned.

Pit Gates open at 3. Grandstands open at 5. Legal Shield qualifying is at 6.30 PM with races starting at 7:30.

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.