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THE BIG ONE! at MRP Saturday
Local Stars vs. Best of the West in Hall Memorial Civil War

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - May 22, 2012 --- Paul and Kathy Hawes’ Marysville Raceway Park will host round 2 of the prestigious California Sprint Car Civil War Series Saturday night. The 2012 edition of the Mel Hall Memorial Race will be presented. The $2500 to win 30-lapper is MRP’s crown jewel in the Winged 360 Sprint Car class each season. For the 1st time the Mel Hall Memorial Race is a California Sprint Car Civil War Series race. That is only fitting as Hall was one of the co-founders of the series. Prior to this season the Mel Hall Memorial Race always had been an MRP championship point race.

In addition to the $2500 to win 1st place prize and a generous payout behind, additional contingency awards are offered. For instance, the great folks at sprintcarfan.com have tossed in a couple of “C-notes” ($200) for the fastest qualifier. In addition they will sponsor the post race barbeque in the pits and MRP Promoter Paul Hawes has promised to provide a “Pile O’ Meat” for the post race activities. 

Other sponsors of the event include friends of sprint car racing from all over. Precision Shocks is one by putting their sponsorship where it counts and giving away something any driver could use. The 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th place drivers in the B main will all get a 4 shock dyno free. Those are the 4 cars not to transfer to the A main. 3 tail tank covers from CRV are also in the contingency prize bag. Additional contingency cash awards are posted for various achievements during the event. Those include Fuel Safe ($500 for 2nd in the A feature), A.R.T ($50), Hunt Magneto ($100), Rod End Supply ($60), BR Motorsports ($50), King Racing Products($25), Kaeding Performance($50), Swepco($50), Pit Stop USA($75), VSR($100), Brodix($100), Weld Racing($75), Frankland($50), Butler Built($50), Hansen Machine($75), RCM Design($25 voucher), Design 500 Racewear(product voucher), SRW Wings($25 Hard luck voucher), KSE($50 Hard Charger Award), Racing Optics($26.95), MPD and Motowear. An unidentified benefactor tossed another $50 into the pot for the 1st non-transfer from the B to A main events.

A spectacular field of cars and stars will be at MRP. Point leader Brett Rollag will head a strong field of expected drivers that will include last year’s Mel Hall winner Kyle Hirst. Stephan Allard, Andy Forsberg, Greg Decaires, Colby Wiesz (6 time Mel Hall Memorial Race champion who has 50 feature event victories at MRP), Jeremy Burt and his arch rival (and former Civil War feature winner) Billy Wallace and a host of others.

Monahan returns to sprint car wars:

Before the 1st event on MRP’s 2012 championship schedule, 4 time Montana State Champion, 2004 MRP Champion and Civil War feature event winner Mike Monahan sustained debilitating injuries during a work related accident. It’s hard to say it, even now, but Monahan lost 4 fingers. Word had it that he’d be out the whole year and his return, at all, would be unlikely. I guess they didn’t know who they were dealing with. The reattachment procedures were remarkably successful. 

In Monahan’s own words a few days ago, in an email to this observer, “The doctors took the 6 pins out of my fingers and they didn’t fall off (that’s a good sign). I am sure it will be a bit difficult, but I should be able to handle it. I will see you at MRP on the 26th”. The 26th…the 26th of what? May.

In only two months time Monahan is strapping into his familiar #49!! This is truly an amazing story. Monahan is an MRP fan favorite with his outrageous hammer-down style. Mike has recovered from horrific crashes and severe burns in sprint cars and fought his way back. He acts like it’s no big deal. He will make a triumphant return to the sprint car wars this Saturday night. A tip of the straw hat to this remarkable warrior.

Over the last couple of weeks, open wheel stars like “High Flyin’” Herman Klein and John Michael Bunch as well as others have tested the MRP clay in advance of the Hall event. Bunch has been scary fast…and Klein? This race may owe him one. 

Klein (12 wins at MRP) has been dominant in several Hall Memorials. He has led and has been wicked fast. But, he has never led lap 30…29, yes, never 30. In talking with Klein a couple of weeks ago this observer found that Herman hasn’t forgotten any of it.

“Yep, I think this place owes me one.” he said with a smile. Klein was on the bitter end of Billy Wallace’s amazing, last lap run that just nipped Klein at the checkers in 2009. The finish was the closest winged sprint car race ever staged at MRP. In the end, electronics decided that one…it was that close. The following year, Klein again dominated for the 1st ½ of the event. Then, Steven Tiner slipped by with a few laps remaining. Stephan Allard got by Klein with a couple of laps to go for 2nd, but Tiner spun out on the last lap giving the victory to Allard. Klein was 2nd again, by a whisker! Klein will be fun to watch Saturday.

At last year’s event Kyle Hirst won a stirring victory in an elbows-up charge from his 13th starting position that the railbirds are still talking about. Wiesz’s six victories in the event are the best of all, however. For a while it appeared that the race could be called the “Colby Wiesz $2500 Benefit Race”.

MRP Champions Wiesz, Wallace, Monahan, Brent Dothage, Burt and of course MRP’s own “5-time” Korey Lovell are all drivers who could charge their way into victory lane. Local hot shoes Cort Dozier and Gary Burdick will also have a shot at the big prize.

This past Monday Lovell was at the track testing during open practice and suffered an engine problem that put him in the hauler. So the Korey Lovell Racing crew has some work to do before Saturday on the famous #71.

MRP’s finest will have some stiff competition as the best winged 360 traveling show in the country stops at MRP Saturday night. A beautiful evening is forecast; perfect for elbows up sprint car racing in MRP’s fan friendly environment. Bad-fast open wheel thrills makes “MRP…the place to be” Saturday.

Pit gate opens at 3PM. Grandstands open at 5PM. Hot Laps at 5.30. Qualifying at 6:15. Racing after qualifying.

Don’t forget to monitor our facebook page during the week; we’d love to hear from you. Updates are constantly being forwarded to the page on race night.

IMPORTANT: 2012 minor releases must be signed by parents for all minors entering the pits. 

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.