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Bunch blasts into victory lane.
Hall and Castleberry repeat as Ford also triumphs.
By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - April 20, 2014... Paradise hot-shoe John-Michael Bunch won the featured MRP Winged Sprint Car class main event in an intense whirlwind of speed Saturday night. Yuba City ’s Cory Hall got his second victory in a row in the MRP Super Stock main event. Yuba City ’s Jimmy Ford picked up the MRP Mini Stock gold with a late race pass as local lady racing star Misty Castleberry easily outdistanced the Pro 4 Sprint Car field. Promoters Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park was rocket fast and butter smooth all night long. Actually, until the feature events were presented, the night went into the books without any yellow flag slowdowns.

The MRP Winged Sprint Car class main event was so fast that most drivers were turning laps some 2 seconds faster than they qualified. At the green flag, Bunch flew into an early lead followed by Yuba City ’s Kevin Lovell. Both drivers have championship aspirations and it was a high speed treat to watch them duel early on.

But, on lap 3, Orland’s Doug Butterfield while challenging for 8th position got his car onto two wheels and began a terrifying series of flips that took the car from the inside of turn 3 into the crash wall high in turn 4. Butterfield was rocked by the spectacular gyrations of his yellow and orange sprinter, but otherwise unhurt. On the restart, the Bunch-Lovell duel continued with Bunch holding off Lovell each time Lovell made a move.

Last week’s winner Jeremy Burt of Grass Valley was buried in 13th starting position, but started a race-long drive that would eventually place him 6th in the final tally.

The most entertaining race was contested for 4th, 5th, and 6th places as point leader, Colfax’s Colby Wiesz, Marysville’s rookie sensation Jeremy Hawes and Placerville Speedway’s 2013 Rookie of the Year Adam Walters slugged it out for position as Burt approached the battling trio. Walters and Hawes pretty much took it to Wiesz who has 53 feature event wins at this facility. It was eye candy for sprint car fans as this race for position was sensational, especially when they got to traffic.

The checkers waved for Bunch as he too was cruising through traffic. Bunch worked traffic better than Lovell and stretched his lead at the end to some10 car lengths. After Lovell, Oroville’s Heath Hall grabbed 3rd with a fine drive before Walters, Hawes, Burt, and Wiesz flashed under the checkers in a knot, finishing their wicked, fan friendly battle just that way.

Burt, Brandon Dozier and Nevada ’s Mike Monahan won the heat races. Wiesz was the fastest qualifier. The winged Sprint Cars will return on May 10th with Bunch atop the point standings.

Former champion of the class Cory Hall, of Yuba City , started 10th in the MRP Super Stock class finale. He carved his way to the front in a stellar drive that culminated in a late race pass for the lead and ultimately, the victory.

The event was marred by a spectacular engine explosion and fire that sidelined championship hopeful Phillip Shelby. Like Hall, Yuba City ’s Shelby was flying through the field until his motor gave up with a huge vortex like rooster-tail of smoke and steam. Shelby hopped out of the machine as the red flag flew and hurriedly stomped toward the pits. He seemed very disappointed.

When things got going again Hall had made it to 2nd and was hurriedly moving in on race leader Rick Dozier of Marysville. With 5 circuits remaining Hall inched past the determined Dozier and led the rest of the way. Yuba City ’s Jerry Bartlett and James Castleberry were 3rd and 4th respectively as the checkers flew.

Bartlett and Shelby won the non-stop heat races.

The MRP Mini Stock feature was a good one. Yuba City ’s Jimmy Ford stalked race leader, fellow Yuba City racer Kyle Davey, for a good portion of the event after Davey had wrestled the lead from pole sitter Ford on lap 4.

Davey was flying and looked like an easy winner when tell-tale puffs of smoke started to appear from under Davey’s car. Ford turned up the wick and closed on Davey, pressing Davey to go quicker. As the last few laps wound down Davey slowed just enough while trying to nurse his car home. Ford slipped by as the pair headed for the white flag and won his first feature race ever at MRP. Davey finished a disappointing 2nd and Marysville’s Howard law was 3rd.

Misty Castleberry and James Foster won the heat races.

Castleberry doing double duty in two different classes simply ran away with the Pro 4 feature event. Early leader and 4 time champion Tim Maclaughlin of Colusa blew a hole in the side of his motor about 4 inches wide and limped off into the pits.

After that it was all Castleberry in a non stop run to the checkers. Sutter’s Blake Scroggins won the heat race.

Next Saturday night the mighty Wingless Warriors of the MRP Wingless Sprint Car class and the MRP Super Stocks will share top billing. The MRP Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks will also appear as will the Pro 4 Sprinters.

Weather forecasts for late next week and into the weekend are not favorable at this writing. Look for the latest updates at or at the Marysville Raceway Park Facebook page.

If we race the gates will open at 5 with racing at 7:00PM.

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 and facebook pages.