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Wild crashes and finishes at MRP
By Bob Burbach
Marysville CA - July 13, 2014... It was a night of close finishes and wild crashes. Saturday’s five division show at Paul and Kathy HawesMarysville Raceway Park once again produced a thrilling end to the MRP Winged Sprint Car main event. Marysville’s Brandon Dozier just beat a charging Kevin Lovell of Yuba City to the line. Phillip Shelby returned and won the MRP Super Stock feature as Kyle Davey scored in the MRP Mini Stock division. Olivehurst’s Eddie Hammett won the MRP Hobby Stock main event and Colusa’s Tim Maclaughlin grabbed the honors in the Pro 4 Sprint Car feature. This was a Contingency Connection event on H and H Trenching's Night at the Races.

In the MRP Winged Sprint Car feature front row starters Dozier and Lovell rocketed away from the field. On lap two, a knot of cars jousting for fourth place turned into a disaster.

Former MRP champion, Kelseyville’s Brent Dothage, and championship contender Heath Hall of Oroville collided at high speed at the end of the front stretch. Dothage started a series of wicked barrel rolls that ended when the car slammed into the first turn wall. Hall fought for control, but he, too, flipped over on his side during the grinding wreck.

Dothage was shaken but unhurt in the wild ride. Hall was through for the evening as well. Later it was discovered that Hall had a mechanical failure that caused his car to suddenly slow with Dothage running over Hall’s left rear tire. The track video clearly shows the genesis of the accident.

The restart had Dozier and Lovell renew their dice to the end. In a brilliant try, Lovell almost got by Dozier on the last lap, but the fleet Marysville chauffeur held off the attack and saw the checkers, finishing just ahead of Lovell. The crowd rose to its feet and roared their approval.

Yuba City’s Korey Lovell got a fine third ahead of Woodland’s Peter Paulson and point leader John Michael Bunch. Jeremy Hawes of Marysville and Fresno’s Mike Stallings took heat race honors.

Yuba City’s Phillip Shelby scored an impressive victory in the MRP Super Stock main event. After Shelby’s disastrous race last time out, the former champion was brilliant in his return to victory lane.

A big story was the early race retirement of point leader, Yuba City’s Jerry Bartlett. Bartlett was on a big run to the front just prior to his mechanical meltdown.

Former champion Corey Hall of Yuba City took advantage of Bartlett’s retirement and jumped into second and finished there ahead of impressive Bay Area driver Mike Walko, Marysville’s Rick Dozier and James Castleberry.

It will be very interesting to see how the points shake out when the race is declared official on Tuesday. Castleberry and Hall won the heat races.

The MRP Mini Stock event was won by Yuba City’s Kyle Davey. He survived a great duel with fellow Yuba City resident Jimmy Ford and went on to capture his second win of the season. For nearly half the race these two jousted for the lead in a very entertaining event.

James Foster of Linda came in third after a terrific battle with brothers Shaun and Damian Merritt who finished fourth and fifth respectively. Sacramento’s Mike Dehoogh took the checkers sixth. Davey swept the program by winning the heat race.

Local lady racer Misty Castleberry’s run for the season sweep in Pro 4 competition ended Saturday night. A massive engine failure, while leading, put the skids on the sweep. Colusa’s Tim Maclaughlin, a five time champion of the division, won the accident marred contest.

On lap three Orangevale’s Dan Morgan collided with a rapidly slowing car and flipped wildly coming to rest on the back chute, where it promptly caught fire. The track video shows immediate fire and rescue response and the fire was doused instantly. Morgan jumped out of the smoldering wreck unharmed.

In another wild moment, three laps later, Sutter’s Blake Scroggins lost control in turn one and flipped several times turning his car into a ball. He, too, was unscathed, but it was a wild ride just the same.

Maclaughlin beat former winner Matt Beadslee to the line for the victory. Maclaughlin also won the heat race.

In a fender and wall banging finish, Olivehurst’s Eddie Hammett scored another victory in the MRP Hobby Stocks. Hammett, in a race-long duel with defending champion Jeremy Hammons, scored the victory while traveling backwards on the track.

In a last ditch effort on the last turn of the last lap, leader Hammett and second running Hammons got together and Hammett spun, slammed into the front stretch wall and came sliding across the finish line; tail first.

It was the first time that this observer, after 25 years at the track, saw a feature event win scored while traveling backwards. Hammett was rocked by the impact with the wall, but was OK after a moment or two.

Next Saturday night is Kid’s Night at the Races. Anyone 12 and under, when properly supervised, is free. The track will give away bikes, have Mini Soap Box Racing for all the kids in attendance and stacks of cool toys, gadgets and racing decals to give away. This annual event is always a kick and this year it features the return of the mighty MRP Winged Sprint Cars for the first time in eight years to this event.

The MRP Wingless Sprint Cars will also be back after a three week hiatus. The MRP Mini and Hobby Stocks are also on the card with a return visit of the Vintage Hardtops

Gates open at 5 with racing at 7,

Look for the latest updates at www.marysvilleracewaypark.com or at the Marysville Raceway Park Facebook page.

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 and facebook pages.