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“Shark” bites again; on last corner!
Fall Taxi Cab Open October 19th

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - October 6, 2013 --- For the 2nd time this season, Roseville’s Sean “The Shark” Becker took home the lion’s share of the purse this season in open competition sprint car racing at Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park. Becker pulled of a startling, crowd pleasing, last lap, last corner, high side move to win the 22nd Gold Fever Open Saturday night. A near capacity crowd enjoyed the rapid fire program presented on a superbly prepared surface. Marysville’s Cort Dozier grabbed the laurels in the companion wingless sprint car feature with some late race heroics of his own.

After the 4 heat races and B main events went into the books with few slowdowns, the feature event was staged. Front row starter Andy Gregg aboard the Russell #14r bolted into the lead. He effortlessly seemed to have the rest of the field covered through way when a multitude of quick yellow flag periods slowed the pace of the event allowing the cars to bunch up repeatedly behind Gregg.

7th starting Becker hovered in 5th place as he and Jonathan Allard had found the cushion and started to press forward. 3rd starting, 3 time MRP champion, Billy Wallace was a factor early up front, but had issues that caused the Grass Valley star to fade during the middle portion of the event.

The 30 lapper was 20 laps old when Becker and Allard in the Tri-C 3 started to show their hands and started to pick off cars; getting to 2nd and 3rd places respectively. With 3 to go Gregg was under relentless pressure as Becker looked low and high for a way around Gregg. As the white banner flew Becker looked low in turn 1 and Gregg protected the bottom. Then with only 2 corners to go, Becker jumped back onto the cushion that had so effectively brought him to the front. With 50 yards to go Becker had the line coming out of 4 and whistled past Gregg on the high side to the line. Allard jumped to the bottom off of 4 and nearly got Gregg as well. The capacity crowd was on their feet and screaming as the spectacular event roared to its nearly 3-wide conclusion.

It was simply a classic sprint car race and it was vigorously contested all the way. It is the 4th consecutive outstanding winged sprint car event that has been presented at the venerable raceway in its 45th year of continuous operation. It was a short 3 weeks ago that Colby Wiesz of Colfax and Mike Monahan of Sparks, Nevada were side by side at the stripe and only 2 weeks ago that Monahan edged Billy Wallace by a whisker in another great finish.

MRP continues to present quality sprint racing programs with few major crashes and virtually no tire wear for the competing car owners on the pristine MRP clay. The winged sprint car events have also consistently been completed before the 10:00 hour. Spectators were cruising through the pits early on Saturday talking to their favorite drivers.

The Legal Shield Quick Time Shootout was won by Gregg and he picked up the C-Note once again offered by Legal Shield representative Rod Engberson. Wiesz, Monahan, Branden Mansfield and New Zealand’s Jamie Duff grabbed heat race honors. Kevin Lovell grabbed B main honors; then climbed from 14th starting position in the feature to an impressive 7th.

Behind Allard, pole sitter Shawn Wright finished 4th in front of hard charging Mason Moore, Wallace and Lovell.

The companion wingless feature was a thriller in its own right. Like Gregg in the winged car race, MRP Wingless Sprint Car champion Rowdy McClenon of Anderson seemed to have the field covered until a late race caution put Marysville veteran Cort “Iron Man” Dozier on his tail for the final restart. Dozier reached into his bag of tricks and somehow came to life and stayed with McClenon after the restart. Then with 2 to go, Dozier pulled along side McClenon on the inside of turn 2 as the crowd jumped to its feet. McClenon and Dozier touched wheels and McClenon’s car jumped into the air, pirouetting around and then back on all fours. McClenon motored on, but from that point on, Dozier was in control.

The 2009 MRP Wingless champ won by a wide margin and was greeted by well wishers in victory lane. The emotional win capped a successful season in which Dozier competed in the MRP Winged Sprint Car class, the MRP Super Stock class and the MRP Wingless Sprint Car class, thus the title “Iron Man”.
The bay areas’ Shawn Jones finished 2nd with Peter Paulson, Scott Hall, Jerry Cisco and Jeremy Hawes following across the finish line.

A mid-race dice between Hawes and Hall raised some eyebrows as they battled relentlessly to get to the front. Hall spun and Hawes had to make a pit stop putting an end to any real challenges they could mount for the victory. Veteran racer Tony Godwin tipped it over in turn 2 bringing out the evening’s only red flag. Godwin was not injured. Dozier and McClenon won the heats.

MRP will be dark next week before bringing back a major 3-division stock car event on Saturday night October 19th. The Fall Taxi Cab Open will feature Limited Late Models, Super Stocks and a Hobby Stock/Pure Stock class. The single night extravaganza will showcase the best stock car drivers in northern California. The event will bring down the curtain on MRP’s 45th consecutive season of operation. Stay tuned. Pit gates will open at 3 and the grandstands open at 5. Drivers meeting will be at 5pm and hot laps at 6pm with racing after hot laps.

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.