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Burt’s Back!
Castleberry, Sherman and Hammett also score

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - April 7, 2013 --- Promoters Paul and Kathy Hawes turned the lights on Saturday night and presented the 45th consecutive opening day for championship point racing at Marysville Raceway Park. Jeremy Burt, the 2007 winged sprint car champion raced his way into victory lane in the MRP Winged Sprint Car feature. James Castleberry survived a bizarre MRP Super Stock Car main event and picked up the trophy in that one. Tim Sherman Jr. ran to victory wire-to-wire in the MRP Wingless Sprint Car feature. Eddie Hammett won the wild, crowd pleasing Hobby Stock closer.

Burt's story is an amazing one. The Grass Valley speedster pulled off a late race pass after a torrid duel with early race leader Mike Monahan. Burt’s victory signaled a successful comeback after suffering a broken back during the last race of the 2012 season.

The race was a close one all the way as former champion Brent Dothage and Monahan had a nice joust in the early laps before Monahan set sail. The race was slowed on a couple of occasions and stopped when Peter Paulson got his yellow sprinter upside down in turn 4. Brandon Dozier also toppled over 4 later on.

The last 11 laps were filled with drama as Burt made his way to the front from his 5th starting position. He found 2nd after a brief battle with Dothage. Then with 5 to go, Burt was visibly catching Monahan. As Burt and Monahan battled off of turn 2 with 2 laps to go, Burt flashed by; never to be headed.

At the stripe, Monahan stayed 2nd with Dothage 3rd. Oregon’s Vern Wheeler and Korey Lovell rounded out the top 5 in this entertaining, highly competitive event. Burt was enthusiastic as he jumped from his machine. It was the end of a long journey of recovery and he was back in victory lane once again.

Billy Wallace was the Legal Sheild/sprintcarfan.com quick time qualifier as Dean Freitas and Brandon Dozier grabbed heat race honors.

The MRP Super Stock feature was a slam-bang affair…literally. However, in between the crashing was some terrific stock car racing. The feature event was plagued by early race yellow flags, but once it got rolling it was a thriller. Veterans Cortney Dozier and Mitch Machado slugged it out for the lead early on. Mechanical issues sidelined Dozier and 2011 champ Corey Hall raced into the picture with Ray Trimble and James Castleberry in tow.

Leaders Machado and Hall became tangled up in lapped traffic near way and a terrific, multi car collision littered the front stretch. Machado and Hall had to leave the track for repairs; both returned.

Trimble was the beneficiary of all this as he led Castleberry to the final green flag segment. It was on from there! Castleberry was all over Trimble for the final handful of laps. In an astonishing move, on the outside, in turn 3, Castleberry wrestled the lead from Trimble as the pair raced to the white flag. Then, Machado, who had charged from the back, slipped by Trimble as well. Neither Trimble nor Machado could answer Castleberry’s charge, and Castleberry took the well-deserved victory amid a shower of cheers from the crowd.

Victory lane was packed with well wishers as the popular driver enjoyed this trip to the front stretch perhaps somewhat more than the others he has made. It was a great knock-down/drag-out stock car race to the finish. Trimble slowly coasted by Castleberry at the end giving Castleberry a thumbs-up as he drove by. Dozier and Cory Hall took heat race honors.

In the MRP Wingless Sprint Car feature, Tim Sherman Jr. flew into victory lane in an impressive wire to wire victory. Sherman was the outside pole sitter and simply parked his gleaming #1jr on the cushion and walked away from the field. Rowdy McClenon found 2nd right away and stayed there. The best passing job of the night was turned in by young Cameron Bartlett. Bartlett came from 8th and finished 3rd ahead of pole sitter Jeremy Hawes and Peter Paulson. Hawes and Sherman won the heat races.

Eddie Hammett won the fender crunching, door handle to door handle battle to the checkers in the MRP Hobby Stock main event. Early leader Brian Compton had issues just a couple of laps away from his 1st checkered flag of 2013. Hammett and last year’s champ Jeremy Hammons jumped to the front and started banging on each other all around the MRP oval. Hammett just did beat the champ to the line with the crowd going wild. Compton came across 3rd ahead of Kyle Cheney and Garrett Agnew. Hammons ran away with the heat race win.

Next week, the mighty sprint cars return. Both divisions will again present full programs. The MRP Mini Stocks will make their first 2013 appearance as will the Pro 4 Sprint Cars. Stay tuned.

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