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 Press Release

Four Fantastic Finishes: Mel Hall Memorial Race is a thriller
Marysville CA - June 7, 2004. If you missed the 5th edition of the Mel Hall Memorial Race, you REALLY missed something. The annual salute to one of the stalwart figures in northern California racing circles couldn’t have been better. The week started out with a number of bizarre incidents that had promoter Clyde Tipton shaking his head. First a mechanical problem on the water truck required extensive repair. Then, on Wednesday a rare problem on the grader rendered it useless. The parts for the grader were located, but unattainable until after the scheduled race program. Adding insult to injury the newly repaired water truck required a new shoe when a huge gash in the sidewall required repair at a critical time. Car owner Paul Hawes of H & H Trenching out of Yuba City came to the rescue and showed up at the back gate with a grader.  Mark Moore from Moore’s Custom Grading pitched in and the work started in earnest. From Thursday on, a tireless effort by Tipton and his associates was on. They worked feverishly to get the track into shape for the big show. How would the track be? Read on.

The preliminary races were excellent. Some notable passing efforts and only one red flag punctuated the early events. Lady sprint car driver Chris Zaveson of Gridley gently leaned her white #11 over on it’s left wing side panel after a grinding collision in turn 1.  Other wise, the sprint car heat races featured wheel stands the length of the back chute as well as a wealth of passing as the drivers tried to transfer through the desperation heat races. One battle of note was in heat race #4 when Dennis Wood and Kevin Lovell hooked up in a side-by-side duel that lasted the entire caution free distance. In the end Lovell would win by a nose. Two grooves and side by side; the track came alive.

The TCS Stock Car Series main event rolled out first and pole sitter Wayne Turk wrested the lead on the opening lap. On the backstretch, John Johnson made a solid move into 2nd. Johnson was a rocket and quickly challenged for the lead as Chico’s Andy Aust made his way into 3rd. Johnson’s banzai effort came to an end as he lost control on several occasions during the first few laps ending his bid for the win. Aust took the lead from Turk with a smooth move off of turn 2 a few laps later. Point leader Jerry Bartlett, Chris Paquette and Donnie Fortney showed up behind Turk as the two-groove track helped this trio catch the two leaders. In a race that was remarkably free of yellow flags, the final 5 laps were the best of the year in this class. After a short slowdown for a mechanical stall on the backstretch, Bartlett eclipsed Turk and Paquette did the same.

Bartlett camped on Aust’s tail and the race was on. Lap after lap, in the final 5, Bartlett challenged Aust. High, low; side-by-side…it was a thriller. The white flag flew with Bartlett pushing Aust up the front chute. Through the first series of turns Aust held the advantage. Bartlett looked high and Aust started to make his machine a little wider. On the back chute Bartlett gained on Aust by inches. Then Bartlett stayed on the gas and buried his car into the 3rd turn banking carrying incredible speed. He hooked up. Bartlett and Aust were side by side as they flew onto the straightaway. Bartlett inched ahead and won in spectacular fashion. Aust was second followed by Paquette, Turk and Archie Flynn. Bartlett said later that it was the hardest race he’s run. “They made me work for this one,” he noted. Bartlett is in his final season as a driver and is vying for his 4th championship.

The Featherlite Pacific Sprint Cars were next up. Korey Lovell and Mike Monahan led the field to the green flag. Monahan got the jump and in the first few circuits began to sail away. A lap 4 yellow bunched the field and Lovell made the most of it. Monahan and Lovell battled side by side for several laps before Monahan once again settled into the front spot. 5th starting Colby Wiesz got roughed up in the early laps and lost a few spots. Then the race turned into the most exciting sprint car show all year. The field broke into two groups with cars running high and low all over the swift ribbon of clay. Wiesz looked high, it worked and he headed for the front. In a masterful display of driving Wiesz went high when he had to and low when that opportunity presented itself. As Wiesz got by other cars, they went to school on him and started to move forward. Korey Lovell’s effort ended when he biked and nearly flipped. Lovell did a great job to save it, but suspension damage ended his night.

The story of the race was Wiesz’s run to the front. He passed every competitor in his sights and went on to a convincing win. Monahan held on to 2nd and a fast charging Mark Hall finished 3rd. Fast qualifier Brent Dothage got 4th and Robert Stice picked up 5th in his first appearance of the year. The relatively controlled Wiesz was beside himself as he came to a stop on the front chute to celebrate. He grabbed the checkered flag and climbed onto his car to the cheers of the crowd. This was arguably the best sprint car show presented by TCS. Wiesz was very excited and vocal about the track and it’s preparation allowing the multiple groove racing.

The non-wing Speedway Sprint Cars rumbled off next and pole sitter Darryl Moore led the field into turn 1. Moore and last week’s winner Steve Stein pulled away from the field. Like Wiesz, 8th starting David Goodwill was caught up in some traffic at the start and lost 3 positions. But, when Goodwill gathered it up he put on a clinic. This race featured long green flag segments and Goodwill was on the move. He camped on the high side and picked off cars one by one as he headed to the front. As cars were passed by the high-flying Goodwill they, too, went to the high side and began to pass. A three-car crash, on the front chute at ½ way, had cars flying through the air. Everyone landed on their wheels and walked away. Moore held on to the lead to the finish and led wire to wire. Goodwill with a last lap effort out of turn 4 beat Stein in a photo finish for 2nd. Feature winners earlier in the season, Gary Koster and Kenny Bair completed the top 5. 

The final event of the night was the TCS Mini Stock Series main event. Lady racer, Melissa Bryant and former champion, Glen Wingate, led the thundering herd into turn 1. Wingate led and was pulling away when he shed his right rear wheel on the low side of turn 1 at ¼ distance. Point leader Kevin Sprague, Heather Bartlett and Jeremy Blackshere inherited 1st, 2nd and 3rd with Wingate’s misfortune. James Castleberry and Robert Mull were flying through the field as the new green waved with 13 laps remaining. Then, at ½ way everything changed. In the space of 2 laps, Mull’s efforts came to an end when mechanical failure prompted an early end for last week’s winner. Castleberry’s car began to sputter and stopped. Leader Sprague had a tire problem and had to pit. 5th place James Gillaspie experienced a rear suspension failure and headed to the pits as well. Blackshere and Ken Reische spun together dropping Blackshere 3 positions. This remarkable turn of events affecting every leader, with the exception of Bartlett, put her in the lead. At the new green Gillaspie, Wingate, Sprague, Reische and Castleberry had returned to the battle. The attrition rate among the other competitors left only 12 cars on the track and only 6 on the lead lap. Once again, an impressive drive by Mike Merritt placed him in the top 5 at the new green. After 2 more quick yellows for mechanical failures by some of the backmarkers, Bartlett led the field down for the final green flag segment. Bartlett and a fast closing Castleberry had a stirring duel for the top spot with 9 laps to go. Sprague, Blackshere and Gillaspie all got back into the top 5 during this time.

Castleberry tried low with 6 to go and couldn’t get the job done as Bartlett thwarted the challenge in front of the cheering crowd. On lap 15, Castleberry tried the high side and it paid off. Bartlett stayed low and Castleberry motored by. Bartlett’s valiant efforts in the last two laps fell short as Castleberry took the checkers. Sprague was 3rd, Blackshere 4th and Gillaspie was 5th. Castleberry was as surprised as anyone that he was in victory lane. “I thought we were done. It sputtered and stopped and I thought that was it.” said Castleberry. “I guess I got lucky.” Castleberry’s car was refired and rejoined the field with the four other racers as mentioned above.

This was, by far, the most competitive Mel Hall Memorial Race ever staged. Ceremonies earlier in the evening paid tribute to Mel Hall who promoted races in northern California for decades. Mel promoted races at Twin Cities Speedway until his untimely passing in 1999. Mel’s wife Marlyn, and son Mark, took over before handing the torch to Clyde and Linda Tipton for the 2003 season. Marlyn was on hand with Mark and his family for the tribute. Mark raced to a 3rd place finish in the race named for his father.

This Saturday night TCS will host the California Sprint Car Civil War Series. Pit gates open at 3; the grandstand gates open at 5 with racing at 7.

Visit us on the web at the Official Web Site for Twin Cities Speedway or call (916) 985-2089 to reach the business office. All the latest updates are always posted to the website first.

JUNE 5, 2004 - POINTS RACE #9

1. 2B- Brent Dothage, 2. 21- Colby Weisz, 3. 11S- Robert Stice, 4. 1- 

Willie Croft, Kevin Lovell, Korey Lovell, Colby Weisz

1. Colby Weisz, 2. Mike Monahan, 3. Mark Hall, 4. Brent Dothage, 5. Robert Stice, 6. Brad Sweet, 7. Herman Klein, 8. Jim Richardson, 9. Scott Russell, 10. Troy DeGaton, 11. Pat Harvey, 12. Kevin Lovell, 13. Dennis Wood, 14. Mark Tabor Sr., 15. Kyle Schild, 16. Carl Droivold, 17. Rick Kraushar, 18. #1, 19. Korey Lovell, 20. Willie Croft 

David Goodwill, Chris Magoon

1. Daryl Moore, 2. David Goodwill, 3. Steve Stein, 4. Gary Koster, 5. Kenny Bair, 6. Chris Magoon, 7. Charlie Correia, 8. Tim Sherman, 9. Jacob Serven, 10. Rick Eversult, 11. Bobby Bankson, 12. Jeremy Hawes, 13. Thomas Arbogast, 14. Mark Orth, 15. Nathan Johnson, 16. Jimmy Steward, 17. Scott Pagh, 18. Gregg Hanson

Heather Bartlett, Greg Prather, Ken Reische

1. James Castleberry, 2. Heather Bartlett, 3. Kevin Sprague, 4. Jeremy Balckshere, 5. James Gillaspie, 6. Mike Merritt, 7. Melissa Bryant, 8. Brad Magenheimer, 9. Ken Reische, 10. Robert Luster, 11. Glen Wingate, 12. Shaun Merritt, 13. Joel Guisti, 14. Greg Prather, 15. Robert Mull, 16. Ryan Francis, 17. Damian Merritt, 18. Robert Hunt, 19. Shane Stoker


Jerry Bartlett, Archie Flynn

1. Jerry Bartlett, 2. Andy Aust, 3. Chris Paquette, 4. Wayne Turk, 5. Archie Flynn, 6. Kenny Robinson, 7. George Magenheimer, 8. Jeff Olschowka, 9. Donnie Fortney, 10. Jacob Cavasos, 11. Bob Martinelli, 12. John Johnson, 13. Lonnie Taylor Jr., 14. Aaron Taylor, 15. Tony Licari, 16. Charlie Duffy, 17. Cindy Sherman






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