Marysville Raceway Park

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Allard holds off late charge in KWS feature.
Giusti gets Pro 4 trophy. Late Models return Sat!

By Bob Burbach & Gary Thomas
Marysville CA - April 21, 2012 --- A packed house at Yuba Sutter’s only professional sports stadium, Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park, saw 410 Sprint Cars on a hooked up, wicked fast track. The Cancen Oil King of the West Series presented by Goodyear was the featured attraction along with the local Pro 4 Sprint Car Series. Chico’s Jonathan Allard stood in victory lane after a thrilling duel with veterans Bobby McMahan and Jimmy Sills, before fending off a late challenge from defending KWS champ Tim Kaeding. Yuba City’s Joel Giusti grabbed the hardware in the companion Pro 4 feature.

It was Allard’s 29th career win in King of the West main events, which breaks a tie with Steve Kent for third on the all-time list. It was also Allard’s first ever 410 win at Marysville Raceway Park. 

“It’s great to come out here and get the win tonight for Morrie & Katie Williams, Ashley Smith and this whole team,” said the two-time state 410 champion. “I saw Tim (Kaeding) poke his nose in there a couple of times and I just stayed focused, drove hard and here we are on the front stretch. I also want to thank all you fans for coming out. It's great to see so many people here in the stands.” Allard was right. The throng of fans that packed into MRP was among the biggest in the track’s 44 year history.

The 30-lap feature came to the line with KSE Dash winner Bobby McMahan on the pole and Hall of Famer Jimmy Sills to his outside. At the waving of Ryan Riley’s green flag it was McMahan getting the jump into turns one and two. Sills however, stalked the rear of the No. 25 sprinter over the early laps and when traffic came into play, things got even more interesting. 

The track surface remained extremely tacky and drivers were blazing around the Marysville Raceway Park’s 1566 feet of clay, catching lapped cars very quickly. Once they began the lapping process it created a three-car fight for the lead between McMahan, Sills and Allard. The trio put on an outstanding show and had fans on the edge of their seats, often rising in unison as the leaders flew past on the front stretch. 

Sills was making his return in a 410 Sprint Car and got the crowd on its feet when he carved his way underneath McMahan to take the lead down the back stretch. It was short lived however, as “Bobby Mac” stayed with it and charged back by coming off the fourth corner to re-claim the spot. At this time Allard had found his groove and made a move to get by Sills, just prior to the only caution flag coming out on lap 15. On the ensuing double file restart McMahan got the jump, but coming around turn four fought a push and that’s all Allard needed to make his way by for the lead. 

While that was going on Sills had motor issues that parked him on the infield and put an end to his amazing run. It was still a very impressive night for the legend, who qualified fifth quick overall and finished second in the Dash. 

With the final 10-laps approaching Tim Kaeding had been steadily making his way to the front after starting from the fifth row. “TK” battled hard with McMahan for a handful of laps and finally made the pass for second on lap 24. He then closed in on Allard for the lead of the race and it set up a classic fight between two of the west coast’s very best sprint car drivers. The defending King of the West champ was all over Allard turning 12.5s in the closing laps (3 tenths quicker than the fastest qualifier), but “JA” hit his marks and dealt with traffic to perfection. Allard crossed the checkered flag by 0.783 seconds ahead of Kaeding to narrowly claim his first KWS victory of 2012. McMahan came home in third. Completing the top-five were Evan Suggs and 13 time KWS Champ Brent Kaeding. 

Rico Abreu captured an entertaining Last Chance Qualifier, with Bobby McMahan claiming the KSE Dash. Kaeding Performance heat race wins went to Brent Kaeding, Craig Stidham, Tyler Wolf and Kyle Hirst. A total of 29 cars were on hand Saturday and KWS rookie driver Chad Compton earned his first career “BR Motorsports Fast Time Award” with a lap of 12.846 around the quarter-mile.

Yuba City’s Joel Giusti in his familiar 17 simply stunned the Pro 4 field in their companion feature event. Giusti ran away from the field after he experiencing what most observers thought was a fatal engine problem while leading his heat.

While Giusti was quick, the quickest of the bunch was P.J. Petersen. But Peterson gathered up Johnny Burns on the front stretch and launched into the night’s scariest ride. Petersen kept it on all 4s, but Giusti’s biggest threat was gone. Giusti was flawless to the end and was grateful to a terrific combination of dedicated people who got his hot rod up and running after the heat ace mechanical failure.

Tim Maclaughlin won the Pro 4 heat race using a last lap pass to do it in arguably the most competitive heat race of the night.

Next week the 1st appearance of the Limited Late Model Series will headline the program. Wingless Warrior Sprint Cars return on Buttes Insurance night. The MRP Mini Stocks will present their long awaited season opener and the MRP Hobby Stocks will be offered in round 2 of their 2012 season. After weather related delays the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars will make their 2012 debut as well. 100 laps of feature event racing will top the card. There will be a lot of action as MRP offers one of the few 5 division programs on tap for 2012.

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