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Closest ever!! Wallace gets Dothage at the line!
Yuba City Scrap and Steel/Hunt finale Saturday
By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - August 21, 2011 --- The closest-ever finish to a feature event of any kind at Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park was decided by the microchip Saturday night. It’s a good thing the electronic era came to the scoring of automobile races. Without it, we’d still be looking at the video trying do make a call. In an outrageous finish, point leader in the Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car Series, Billy Wallace, just nipped Brent Dothage at the line to pick up another feature win at MRP. Brent Hall grabbed the honors in the MRP Super Stock feature as Terry Schank smoked the MRP Wingless Sprint Car field. Mark Hill won another MRP Mini Stock feature and Mike Dehoogh easily trounced the field in the MRP Hobby Stock main.

The Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car Series main event was a heart-stopper. The event was so furious that the quickest of the bunch were turning scary fast laps throughout the event. With the track so fast, one could get the impression that it was a 1-groove ribbon of clay. Not so. Promoter Hawes for the 3rd straight week splashed some water on the surface during a break and created a surface that not only proved viable for the sprinters but also improved the feature events for each of the 5 classes showcased in the program. 

It was the Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car Series main event that will long be remembered for it’s fierce competition and remarkable finish. Early on, 3 time champ Brent Dothage grabbed what appeared to be an insurmountable advantage and was easily cruising along in the top spot from his outside front row start.

Behind Dothage, 2007 champ Jeremy Burt was riding on the high side making his way into 2nd position as 5th starting Wallace started another march to the front. Mid race lapped traffic would play a part in the outcome of this one. After a while it was clear that Burt was the quickest car on the track and started to reel in the black and red 7b of Dothage. As Burt closed rapidly on the 3-time champ, Dothage had to get out of the gas as he approached a slowing Jim Richardson who had just recovered from a tank-slapper on the back chute. Burt saw an opportunity to grab the lead on the inside of turn 4 as Dothage also dove for the bottom for a way around Richardson. Three wide off of 4 with the hammer down didn’t quite work. Dothage, Burt and Richardson all came together and Dothage and Burt started to dance on 2 wheels as they bounced past the cheering fans that rose in unison. Both drivers wrestled their cars back onto their wheels but Burt had a folded front end, as did Richardson. Dothage, amazingly enough, gassed it up and pulled out of the mess with his lead in tact.

Wallace took full advantage of the situation and after charging his way into 3rd. He found himself right behind Dothage for the final restart. When the green flag flew Dothage pulled to a 5-car length lead. When it was 3 to go, Wallace parked his right rear higher in turn 3 and started to eat into Dothage’s lead. He did it again the next time around and again closed rapidly. As the white banner flew Wallace was “drafting” Dothage up the front chute. Wallace was on the bottom coming off of 2 and drew even with Dothage who jumped forward with the wake up call from Wallace. Dothage was still leading in 3 but left a lane on the inside open as the pair exited 4. Wallace dove to the bottom of 4 and pulled along side Dothage. The pair streaked across the finish line in what appeared to be a dead-heat. The fans were jumping around and buzzing about this one. There was no way to call this amazing finish without electronic help.

There was a short yet seemingly endless interval as the race officials read the data. Then there was a collective cheer that rose from the crowd as Wallace had beaten Dothage to the line by .032 seconds. Dothage, of course was 2nd and pole sitter Reyna Krueger placed a solid 3rd. It was the closest recorded finish in MRP’s illustrious history. Previously the record had been established in a wingless sprint car finish in which Jeremy Hawes pulled off a similar pass on Tony Richards and won by .067 seconds.

From the fan side of the fence this was the most intense and entertaining winged sprint car race presented at MRP in recent memory. Here’s a tip of the straw hat to that dusting of water that turned this oval into a spectacular stage for blazing speeds, daring passes and an historic side by side finish.

Wallace, Dothage, Jimmy Steward and Burt scooped up heat race victories. Korey Lovell lost the handle during heat race competition and Krueger was unable to avoid the 5-time champ. Krueger brushed Lovell into an easy rollover that left the champ unhurt. Lovell later competed in the feature event.

For the 34th time in 100 starts since teaming up with car owner Roger Gleeson, Terry Schank easily slid into victory lane in the MRP Wingless Sprint Car Series main. In a run-away performance Schank lead without ever seriously being challenged. 

But, the race behind him was filled with drama as the MRP Wingless Sprint Car title continued to be up for grabs. Point leader and last week’s feature event winner Brett Youngman seemed a tick off the pace all night. At the same time, Jeremy Hawes who came into the race just 6 points behind was turning very quick laps throughout the evening.

Hawes’ shot at the point lead came to an abrupt end in the main event when he tangled wheels with Dusty Barton on lap 2. Barton bounced upside down as Hawes came to a stop on the front chute with a folded front end. Hawes’ night was finished. While Hawes had issues, Youngman’s inability to make progress through the field prevented Youngman from capitalizing on Hawes’ misfortune or making any real progress toward the title as he gained only 1 point on Hawes when the results were tallied.

After the Hawes/Barton crash Schank set sail and left Josh Vieira and Tony Richards to settle the race for 2nd. Vieira was very quick and easily pulled away from Richards. Joel Giusti was 4th ahead of Brad Bumgardner in the quickly run event. 

It was Bumgardner’s 1st ever appearance in a wingless car at MRP. It looks like this new deal might be a good fit for Bumgardner who was fast but had some tough luck with his winged car at MRP earlier in the year.

The best race of the event proved to be a battle for the final point paying positions as veteran David Sprigg and Youngman hooked up in and entertaining, nearly race long dice that finally went Sprigg’s way with a daring pass in the late laps.

It could be considered “The Brother Act” at MRP. With a strong performance by both Brent Hall and championship point leader Corey Hall, the brother dominated the MRP Super Stock feature after an early race incident sent contender Ray Trimble to the pits and Willie Horn toward the back.

From that point on it was the brother act at the front with no real challengers. The real show was going on just behind the lead duo as Josh Miller and Jeff Olschowka put on a crowd-pleasing rush to the front. Miller was smooth, quick and mistake free in his run to a fine 3rd place finish. It was Miller’s first ride since September of last year. Can someone get better by watching? Maybe so as this was clearly Miller’s cleanest and quickest run to date.

On the other hand, Olschowka started last and then banged and clawed his way to a spectacular 4th place finish. Olschowka strapped into Billy Knoop’s hot rod for the feature and showed that he is still one of the best stock car chauffeurs around.

Once again the great track conditions provided passing lanes all over the MRP clay. The event had few cautions and a great series of fender-to-fender battles that kept the crowd roaring its approval. Horn came back to a fine 5th after the late race battle with Olschowka for 4th. Brent Hall and Horn were the heat race winners.

Mark Hill made it look easy in the MRP Mini Stock finale after early race leader Misty Castleberry snapped sideways in turn 2 and Hill cruised on by. He was never really challenged for the balance of the event. 

Castleberry restarted and got back into 2nd place by the time the checkers flew in the quickly paced race. Again, few yellow flags and a multitude of grooves made this a fun one to watch. An unusually high attrition rate plagued the competitors as only 6 cars came in under the checkers. Shaun Merritt was 3rd and Howard Law claimed 4th.

For the 2nd time in a row MRP’s newest visitor to victory lane, “Iron” Mike Dehoogh retuned for another trophy. Dehoogh had a bit of a fight early on with Jeremy Hawes and Kyle Cheney. Cheney seemed to disappear into thin air and Hawes had tire issues that sent him packing. Dehoogh cruised on home from there bringing Jim Waller with him to Waller’s 2nd straight runner-up finish.

Next week MRP will host the annual Yuba City Scrap and Steel Night and the offering will be an ALL OPEN WHEEL SHOW! The Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car Series will be presented along with the final 2011 installment of the Joe Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Shootout Series. 3 time USAC National Silver Crown Champion Jimmy Sills will be at MRP to protect his point lead in the series. A full field of wingless sprint cars will fill the pits for this one. As a special added attraction the BCRA Midgets will make their 2nd appearance of the year. The Pro 4 Sprinters will round out the show. 

The Pit Gate opens at 3pm. The front gates open at 5pm with racing at 6.30pm.

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 and points become official and available at the close of business on Tuesday and will be posted to the web site.