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Civil War, Taco Bravo, and KWS stars clash vying for $40,000 Sat

By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - March 8, 2014 --- California’s premiere winged 360 sprint car tour will open the 2014 season at Marysville Raceway Park Saturday night. Paul and Kathy Hawes will offer their inviting, fan friendly facility for Round 1 of the Flowmaster, Hoosier Tire California Sprint Car Civil War Series. This is the first top notch, season long, clay track racing series that will be offered during the early part of the season this year in California. The California Sprint Car Civil War Series will be decided in special events that touch the length and breadth of California.

This event will kick off the run for the title in the California Sprint Car Civil War Series and will feature a superb field of professional sprint car stars and cars as no winged 360 sprint car races are scheduled within 500 miles of MRP and it will also be the start of California sprint car racing's inaugural run for the Triple Crown. With the Triple Crown format in place for this event look for some nationally ranked superstars from the 410 ranks to throw their hats into the ring for race #1 at MRP. For instance, central state sprint car super-star, Tommy Tarlton from Easton has said that he will be going after the Triple Crown. Drivers from the California Sprint Car Civil War, the King of the West sprint car series and the west coast’s Taco Bravo Series can claim some $40,000 in prize money by sweeping all three series. All three series have inked dates that do not conflict.

Among the championship caliber drivers that will be reaching for the lion’s share of some $20,000 in prize money this Saturday include Auburn's Andy Forsberg (7-time Civil War Champion), and the “Colfax Comet” Colby Wiesz. Forsberg in the F&F x1 and Wiesz in the family hot rod will be among the favorites. Wiesz may well have an advantage at MRP as he has a record 52 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.

The former King of California 410 Series champion Jonathan Allard is expected in the famous Tri-C #3. Allard has appeared infrequently at MRP, but has been very quick and had dismal luck during a couple of recent events. Former King of California sprint car champion, World of Outlaws feature event winner and the defending California Sprint Car Civil War Series champion Sean Becker is scheduled to saddle up for this one in the Main #35m. Becker flew to victory in both of MRP’s open events last season. He dominated last year’s Toller Memorial, and then he pulled off a spectacular last lap, last-turn victory in the Gold Fever Open that closed the 2013 MRP sprint car season. He scooped up some $5000 in cash plus contingencies for his efforts here last season.

Promoter Paul Hawes told this observer that 66 loads of new clay were installed at Marysville Raceway Park over the winter. With the weather forecast for calling for partly cloudy skies and 82 degrees, conditions will be perfect. Marysville’s famous and varied food fare and midway offerings make this event the most fan-friendly of all the stops on the circuit.

Becker, Forsberg and traveling racer Greg Decaires have accounted for the last ten California Sprint Car Civil War Series championships. Decaires came from 18th in the Sherm Toller Race in 2013 to an amazing 3rd place finish, riding the rim all the way in a breathtaking charge to the front. All three will have their work cut out for them as, not only do they face tough competition from other travelers, but regional and local stars as well.

Yuba City’s own Korey Lovell is expected. The 5-time champ (a record) has pulled off impressive showings since recovering from serious injuries in 2012. Lovell has 37 (2nd on the all-time list) victories on his MRP resume. When Lovell strapped into his 800 horsepower car last year, all the questions seemed answered and he went forward all year. A more confident Lovell will be on the pedal again Saturday night. In a couple of day’s time, we’ll know whether twin brother Kevin will compete in the event as well.

Other local stars to watch for include Marysville’s Jeremy Hawes. This observer was notified that Hawes will be bringing his sparkling new winged sprinter to do battle Saturday. Hawes spectacular driving style in the wingless sprint car classes garnered him dozens of victories, but except for an occasional outing, raced wingless sprint cars his entire open wheel career. This will be the first time that Hawes will seriously challenge the best stars that the western region has to offer in the premiere 360 racing class. Another pair of local stars to watch for includes MRP champion sprint car driver Cort Dozier and nephew Brandon Dozier, both of Marysville. Brandon Dozier got to victory lane again last year at MRP. Cort Dozier has victories in both sprint car divisions and also was victorious again last season.

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. Burt too was coming back from severe back injuries that had him in a brace for five months after a vicious crash at MRP in 2012’s season finale. The Grass Valley hotshoe’s brave come back garnered him another runner-up finish in the point standings last season.

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 once again. Monahan’s gallant fight back to victory lane in 2012 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. He’s about the only driver to draw cheers from the crowd even when he qualifies. He is a significant factor at his home track and visited victory lane again last year, finishing 3rd in the standings.

In addition to the aforementioned drivers, Oregon star Vern Wheeler of Eagle Point, Oregon is headed toward MRP again. Wheeler, a 2-time winner at MRP, had a tough go of it last time he was here. He looks to change that. Several of his toughest Pacific Northwest competitors on the rough and tumble ASCS circuit are expected join him. Woodland’s Peter Paulson continues to impress and this truly could be his year. Paulson was a factor all year in 2013. 9-time Hawaiian sprint car champion Dean Freitas is also expected. Additional championship caliber entries from California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada will be at MRP for this one as well.

The expanded series format at MRP will offer a 30-lap feature event that will pay $2000 to win plus the contingency bonuses and one of the finest, boldest looking trophies offered in sprint car racing. A full program of qualifying, heat races and last chance races will seed the crowded, tightly packed 22-car starting field. Some 18,000 horsepower will take the green flag in 100 mph feature event action in the main event.

A mountain of talent is expected. Thirty-eight of the western region’s finest 360 winged sprint car superstars tested the Marysville clay the last time the California Sprint Car Civil War Series came to town. The traveling Civil War Series will also return to MRP for the annual Mel Hall Memorial Race on May 24th. Justyn Cox in Harley Van Dyke’s red 5h grabbed the Hall trophy last year. That team will also be expected Saturday.

As we know more, you’ll know more. See you Saturday at MRP!

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

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

Note: Please make this observer aware of any names that are misspelled or incorrect. Go to Marysville Raceway Park’s facebook for all the latest updates or our website at