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4 straight for Hawes!
Wallace, Castleberry and Merritt extend point leads

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - August 18, 2013 --- Grass Valley’s Billy Wallace and local stars Jeremy Hawes, Misty Castleberry and Shaun Merritt all won feature events Saturday at the Merle Shepherd Memorial Race. It was the 3rd Shepherd Memorial at Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park.

Wallace battled back to victory after dropping through the field to 4th after leading the field to the initial green. Wallace started from the pole position in the MRP Winged Sprint Car feature. Fellow front row starter Heath Hall from Oroville was a rocket early on as was Marysville’s Brandon Dozier. Both overhauled Wallace in the early laps as did Marysville’s Jeremy Phillips Jr. Phillips was in only his 3rd appearance at MRP and is fast becoming a factor.

By lap 8 of the 25 lapper Wallace seemed as if he was in big trouble and the lead trio was off in the distance starting to experience lapped traffic. Then Wallace, the point leader and Legal Shield Quick Time Qualifier, dug deep and started to go forward. Wallace sliced into the field and by lap 15 had roared back to secure the lead in an outstanding exhibition of car control through traffic. Once Wallace garnered the lead he was gone.

A late race slowdown in the action gave Brandon Dozier (now 2nd) one last shot at a repeat 2013 victory, but his efforts fell short as Wallace roared under the checkers. Brandon Dozier stayed 2nd with another heroic, almost frightening effort and Hall secured another fine finish for 3rd. Hall has been impressive lately with 2 runner-up finishes and Saturday’s 3rd place run in his last 3 outings.

Sparks Nevada’s Mike Monahan and Chico’s Branden Mansfield got heat race victories. Orland’s Reyna Krueger flipped hard in turn 3 during her heat race. She was assisted from the car and got a ride back to the pits. Her battered racer was a mess, but her crew went into a whirlwind of activity and had the 4 time feature winner back on the track for the feature event’s green flag.

With the victory Wallace extends his championship point lead in the division. He scooped up some $2100 in cash and bonuses for the victory.

Local wingless sprint car star Jeremy Hawes took another bite out of Anderson’s Rowdy McClenon’s point lead. Hawes won his 4th straight feature event in the series. Early race leader Cort Dozier and Marysville’s Josh Vieira both had issues that allowed Hawes to move forward for the feature event win. McClenon wound up 2nd in the rapid fire event with Vieira getting to 3rd in the final result.

This division is offering a battle royal at the top of the standings. Both Hawes and McClenon have dominated victory lane all season and Hawes has now closed the gap to 5 points with McClenon still on top. There are 3 races left in the season. The tension is electric between the two.

Misty Castleberry got the point lead back in the MRP Rookie of the Year standings in the division. Point leader Johnny Burns had a mechanical failure that put him on the sidelines. McClenon won the heat race.

Castleberry also dominated the Pro 4 Sprint Car feature as the hard charging lady racer trounced the field in a runaway effort. Castleberry extended her lead in the division to almost insurmountable proportions. Tim Maclaughlin of Colusa grabbed the heat race win.

Marysville’s Shaun Merritt held off a persistent Howard Law while securing another trip to victory lane in the MRP Mini Stock Division. Merritt, who has raced with a badly injured leg for most of the season, was, this time, able to get out of the car for his victory lane interview.

Merritt is looking for the family’s 1st championship title after more than a decade of trying. The family has endured heart-breaking losses in the last couple of years and Merritt is more focused and smooth this season. His eye is firmly on the prize. Law is the only driver with a realistic chance of thwarting Merritt’s efforts.

Long time MRP official Jerry Witzke took the checkered flag laps for Merle Shepherd in his classic ‘60s vintage stock car. The entire evening was dedicated to Shepherds memory.

Next Saturday night Richmond Gear will present the return of the Mighty Winged Pacific Sprint Cars. The popular MRP Super Stocks will offer fendered fans a real treat. The Pro 4 Sprinters will be back as Castleberry tries to lock up the title.

Pit Gates open at 3. Grandstands open at 5. Legal Shield Quick Time Shootout is at 6:15 PM with races starting at 7.15 PM.

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.