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Civil War opens with Battle of Marysville
West’s best winged 360s fly Saturday

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - March 12, 2013 --- California’s premiere winged 360 sprint car tour will open the 2013 season at Marysville Raceway Park Saturday night. Paul and Kathy Hawes will offer their sparkling facility for Round 1 of the Hoosier Tire California Sprint Car Civil War Series. This is the second in a series of top notch racing programs that will be offered during the early part of the season this year at MRP. The California Sprint Car Civil War Series will be decided in 14 special events this season with two stops at MRP. This event will feature an even stronger field than the Sherm Toller Memorial Race held two weeks ago as this event will kick off the run for the title in the California Sprint Car Civil War Series.

Champion drivers that will be reaching for the lion’s share of some $20,000 in prize money include Auburn's Andy Forsberg (7-time Civil War Champion), and the “Colfax Comet” Colby Wiesz. Forsberg and Wiesz finished one-two in last year’s California Sprint Car Civil War Series title chase. Wiesz may have an advantage Saturday night as he has a record 50 MRP sprint car feature event wins to his credit; the all-time record. MRP is decidedly Wiesz’s home track with three track titles to his credit as well.

King of California sprint car champion and World of Outlaws feature event winner Sean Becker is scheduled to saddle up in his familiar black Dan Monhoff #35. Becker flew to victory in the recent Sherm Toller Memorial Race at MRP and scooped up $2500 in cash plus contingencies. He has garnered multiple championships over the course of his illustrious career including two California Sprint Car Civil War Series titles. 

California Sprint Car Civil War champion and former track record holder at MRP Greg Decaires will be aboard Rudy Warrington’s potent #18. Decaires, Becker and Forsberg have accounted for the last eight California Sprint Car Civil War Series championships. Decaires came from mid-pack in the Sherm Toller Race to an amazing 3rd place finish, riding the rim all the way in a breathtaking charge to the front.

Grass Valley's Billy Wallace will also be in the hunt again Saturday. Wallace is the defending 2-time champion at MRP. Wallace has been on an amazing run at MRP over the last two years. Wallace is also a 2-time winner of California Sprint Car Civil War Series events at MRP.

Yuba City’s Korey Lovell is entered. Lovell is still bothered by nagging injuries suffered late last year in a violent, late season flip. Lovell’s outing during the Toller event two weeks ago raised some eyebrows. The 5-time champ pulled off an impressive 4th place finish. His own assessment going into the race was one of extreme pressure. He hadn’t been in a rough and tumble 100 mph sprint car race since the accident and Lovell was unusually quiet and reflective. When Lovell strapped into his 800 horsepower car, all the questions seemed answered and he went forward all night. A more confident Lovell will be on the pedal again Saturday night.

Jeremy Burt, the 2007 MRP winged sprint car champ and runner-up last year, said he will be at this year’s California Sprint Car Civil War Series opener. Grass Valley’s Burt likely would have been unhappy with his performance two weeks ago. But Burt was coming back from severe back injuries that had him in a brace for five months. Burt’s brave come back garnered him a 9th place finish two weeks ago (from the back) just barely flashing by Wiesz at the checkers.

Speaking of recoveries, Sparks Nevada's Mike Monahan (2004 MRP Champ and 3-time Montana State Champion) will be at the controls of his Superior Hydraulics #49. Monahan’s gallant fight back to victory lane last year after losing four fingers of his right hand is a story that makes legends. Monahan is outrageous, outspoken and an incredibly popular driver with fans at MRP. 

Others to watch for include two Marysville based teams from Performance Auto Supply. MRP champion sprint car driver Cort Dozier and nephew Brandon Dozier are ready to roll again. Fearless pro Cort Dozier grabbed a heat race victory at the Toller event two weeks ago. Oregon star Vern Wheeler of Eagle Point Oregon is headed toward MRP again. Wheeler had a tough go of it at the Toller Race and told this observer he’d be back, better prepared this time. Woodland’s Peter Paulson continues to impress. Paulson was a factor all night at the Toller Race. 9-time Hawaiian sprint car champion Dean Freitas will be back. Freitas also grabbed a heat race victory during the Toller Race. “High Flyin’” Herman Klein in Dale Wondergem’s #91 will be another driver to watch for. Klein was 5th in the California Sprint Car Civil War Series standings last year. Additional championship caliber entries from California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada will be at MRP for this one as well. 

In addition to the record purse for California Sprint Car Civil War Series at Marysville Raceway Park, sprintcarfan.com will be offering an additional $100 to the fast time qualifier Saturday.

Gates open at 5. Hot laps at 6.00. sprintcarfan.com qualifying follows hot laps at 6.30. Racing is scheduled immediately after qualifying at about 7:30.

The text is based on information we have at the time of its release.

Note: Please make this observer aware of any names that are misspelled or incorrect.