|It’s Youngman by 1 point. Wallace & Hall crowned.
Dwarf Car Nationals, Mini & Hobby finals Fri & Sat.
|Marysville CA -
September 25, 2011 --- If you’re a racing fan and you missed Saturday’s show…you missed something spectacular. Champion Billy Wallace aboard Mark Moore’s #1m put a period on a phenomenal 2011 season by winning the Performance Auto supply Winged Sprint Car main event. David Sprigg passed his way to a spectacular win in the MRP Wingless Warrior sprint car feature event. Brent Hall surprised brother (and newly crowned champion) Corey with a daring pass to pick up another checkered banner as Tim Maclaughlin won the final point race and the title in the Pro 4s. Jim Waller won the Hobby Stock capper. Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park was prepared to perfection as a show with far-reaching dramatic elements was offered.
The MRP Wingless Warrior program was packed with drama from hot laps to the last lap; and a champion would be crowned. Jeremy Hawes came into the night with a 2-point lead in the standings over Brett Youngman. This storied rivalry has been the hot topic for weeks in this neck of the woods and it came down to the final 20 laps of the season to decide it.
But this one started getting weird right away. During hot laps Hawes chugged to a stop off of turn 4 after turning the quickest laps of the session. His yellow #7 had suffered a terminal breakdown and Hawes seemed destined to watch his championship point lead float away without a fight. The fast, intense young charger was looking for a ride. Enter Jeff Olschowka, perennial stock car favorite who had just grabbed the reins in the former Aaron Taylor #84. Sportsman that he is, Olschowka vacated the seat and Hawes stepped in.
Hawes soldiered through his heat race trying to get familiar with the new machine as Youngman cruised through the heat race easily. Amazingly enough the pill pull put the 2 championship contenders in the front row side by side for the upcoming 20 lapper. The atmosphere was impossible to describe. If either driver won he would be the automatic titleholder. 3rd starter David Sprigg had other ideas about that, and his story is another drama in, and of itself.
The green flew and Youngman darted into the lead but Sprigg followed him into 2nd. Sprigg was relentless as he was all over Youngman for the lead. Hawes in his unfamiliar mount drifted back to 4th. But his championship hopes were still alive when Sprigg blasted past Youngman in a daring move to secure the lead he would never relinquish. Youngman stayed close for a while, but Sprigg was flying. His black #12 pulled to a straightaway lead. Then, it all came undone for Hawes who had wrestled his mount in a masterly fashion for the first few circuits. The motor came apart and the veteran racer slid off into the pit entry and stopped. Starter Robin Davies grabbed for the yellow, but Hawes car was out of harm’s way and the race continued.
Rookie contender and 3rd running Joel Giusti in the Flyin’ Ford jumped high on the cushion and reeled in 2nd running Youngman with ease. Giusti blasted past Youngman into the runner up spot but was a straightaway behind Sprigg. Giusti started to close, but Sprigg was turning very quick laps. It became apparent that Giusti would need a little yellow flag help as this one had rapidly run to ½ way. Then as if by magic the yellow flashed on for a stalled car on the front stretch. The only thing Hawes could hope for now was Youngman’s retirement from the event as this point. That could get Hawes the title. But Youngman was riding easily in 3rd.
The new green waved and the final 10 laps of the season started to reel off. Last week’s feature event winner Josh Vieira pulled off with a mechanical ailment and that, in effect clinched the title for Youngman, though Youngman nor Hawes could have known it at the time. Sprigg continued his impressive run and Giusti simply couldn’t catch him in the final laps of the season. A spectacular battle ensued however between brothers Brett and Jay Youngman. To everyone’s surprise Jay was harassing Brett and doing just about everything he could to get by his championship contending brother. Nothing came of it as the final laps were just ahead.
5th running Tony Richards roared by Jay Youngman and Brett Youngman fell into the clutches of Richards as the white flag fluttered for Sprigg with Giusti a distant 2nd. Youngman and Richards were coming off of 2 when Richards dove for the bottom. Richards and Brett Youngman collided and Youngman’s front end folded. Youngman hammered the gas, but with no steering rocketed into the light standard on the back chute with a wicked impact that sent his car twirling into the infield. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Youngman in the final lap of the season.
However, with the luxury of electronic scoring the tower knew that 2 cars were scored in between Youngman and Hawes after Wallace and Vieira had retired. Had Youngman retired after that pair exited, Youngman would still have been the champ. As it turned out, Youngman did turn into that DNF after crashing on the back chute. But, it put Youngman ahead in the standings by a single point. Given the gravity of the decision, a final review was in order as the drivers and crews involved in this tremendous story didn’t have the luxury of an immediate electronic review and analysis.
As Sprigg motored into his 1st victory lane, Youngman was on foot headed to the starting line from the backstretch. Jeremy Hawes appeared from the pits as the review continued in the tower. Head scorer Barbara Eversult notified promoter Paul Hawes in a few moments the finish was re-reviewed and confirmed electronically and agreed to by assistant scorer Loree Toller. Youngman earned 6th in the feature while Hawes finished in 9th. Youngman was the champion.
Sprigg’s outstanding drive to his first ever-checkered flag had the crowd on their collective feet. 8 different drivers collected trophies in MRP’s point racing competition this year in this series. Sprigg has been knocking at the door and tonight the door came crashing in with a big black #12 being driven through it.
Permitted one last observation; this intense night of racing in this class was almost as unbearable as it was spectacular for this or any observer of this event. As close as some of the championship finishes have been at MRP in my 21 years of involvement at MRP, I can’t think of any that had the twists and turns of this remarkable championship struggle. It’s almost unbelievable and kind of a shame that it’s over. As a fan of the sport it is this kind of competition that sustains the passion I have for this sport. The bravado of Jeremy Hawes’ hammer down style, the relentless personal drive of Brett Youngman and the perseverance of both of these great drivers in the face of stresses that I can’t remotely relate to only glorify the kind of effort it takes to compete for a championship. Fans on their feet, screaming at drivers that cannot hear them only made this final championship event for 2011 all the more surreal and thrilling. Here’s a tip of the straw hat to two mighty Wingless Warriors, Jeremy Hawes and Brett Youngman.
In other action, “Bad” Billy Wallace started 5th in the Performance Auto Supply Winged Sprint Car main event. Front row starter Garry Burdick rocketed away from the field in dramatic fashion as he teetered on the edge of disaster in a heart-stopping high side ride at the front in the early laps. Fellow front row starter Robbie Hight got everyone’s attention as he first biked hard in turn 2, brought the gyrating car down and hammered the gas. He pulled a wheelie up the back chute that buried the rear nerf bar into the soft clay sending a strip of clay high into the air. Hight skillfully brought it back in all fours but the moment cost him the runner up spot as Rookie of the Year William Fielding flashed by. Wallace was cruising in 5th.
Wallace was on the move as in quick succession he picked off Kevin Lovell, Hight and Fielding in rapid-fire order. But Burdick had a straightaway on the champ when he got to 2nd. Then Wallace really got up on the wheel. With no traffic to hinder him, Wallace reeled in Burdick and surprised the youngster as the pair negotiated tight lapped traffic in turn 3. Wallace was gone after that. Fielding and Hight got together in turn 2 sending Hight to the pits and Fielding to the back.
With Wallace in control, all eyes were on Fielding as he carved his way back through the field. He went from the back into 3rd riding high on the cushion. He simply ran out of time when the checkers fell on Wallace (Fielding was dropped 3 positions in the final result for jumping a restart). Birthday boy Burdick rode the rim into 2nd, Heath Hall (quickest in practice) claimed 3rd as Korey Lovell got 4th. Pete Paulson, Kevin Lovell, Wallace and Hall grabbed the heat race honors.
The MRP Super Stocks crowned a repeat champion in their closer. The multi-talented Corey Hall clinched his second consecutive title when the green flag dropped on the feature event. Another full field of Super Stocks was on hand for the MRP point racing season finale.
Mired in 12th starting position Hall dodged errant cars and rapidly picked his way through the field and eventually into the lead. Sounds like it’s over, right? Not by a long shot.
Originally the event was dominated by James Castleberry from his front row starting position. Craig Neimans followed Castleberry closely in the early going. An early race yellow bunched the field and the restart was a disaster for Neimans who popped sideways during the agonizingly slow restart by Castleberry. Several cars were jostled around and Corey Hall picked up a number of positions placing 4th as the field came to another yellow flag. Brent Hall was right behind Castleberry with a rejuvenated Mike Walko in 3rd. At the new green Corey Hall made quick work of Walko, then surprised brother Brent with a daring move in turn 3 for 2nd. Hall tracked down Castleberry and after a brief tussle motored on by.
But Brent Hall had other ideas as he passed for 2nd and doggedly ran down brother Corey. After a couple of side by side laps and with 2 laps to go Brent Hall used lapped traffic as a pick and got by brother Corey as the pair headed for the white flag. Brent Hall won the battle and flashed under the checkers with his 3rd straight win while Corey Hall was a close 2nd, but had won the war. He was the champion.
If you weren’t stunned by the battle up front, Neimans came from last to 6th in a dramatic rush to the front after his problems in the early lap restart. Ray Trimble was 3rd as he, too came from the back having sustained damage in that difficult restart. Brent Hall, Trimble and Willie Horn took heat race honors.
Tim Maclaughlin grabbed the checkers and his 4th title in the last 5 years after a titanic struggle at the front with star lady racer Misty Castleberry in the Pro 4 feature event. The Pro 4s saved their best race of the season for their last race of the 2011 point racing year.
Castleberry dominated the non-stop affair early in her red, white and blue #95. Dan Morgan, Joel Giusti and Maclaughlin put on a whale of a show for the runner up spot until Maclaughlin broke free and started to pursue Castleberry.
Maclaughlin reeled in Castleberry and the two rugged competitors were side by side as they took the white banner. Maclaughlin had a better turn 3-4 than Castleberry on the last lap and crossed over from the top and just got underneath Castleberry to claim the victory in front of a standing, screaming grandstand. Giusti was a close 3rd and Morgan crossed the line in 4th in his most impressive run to date.
Jim Waller won the MRP Hobby Stock main after a spirited duel with Mike Dehoogh in the early laps. Dehoogh shredded his right rear tire in the battle and limped to the pits ending his win streak. Jeremy Hawes was 2nd.
Next Friday and Saturday night, the West Coast Dwarf Car Nationals will raid MRP’s lightning fast surface. Some 75 to 85 cars will be on the grounds for 2 days of action. The MRP Mini Stock point race finale will be presented during the Friday night show and the Hobby Stocks will conclude their season with a run on Saturday night in conjunction with the final events in the WCDCN on Saturday.
On Friday night Mini Stock champion Misty Castleberry will have her championship winning car on display behind the grandstand before the races and invites anyone at the show to sign it. Castleberry will honor her fans by racing the car that night with everybody’s name on it. Castleberry’s “Fan Appreciation” run will be capped by Castleberry sponsored giveaways by raffle during the evening’s festivities.
The Pit Gate opens at 3pm. The front gates open at 5pm with racing at 6pm on both nights.
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.