Marysville CA – September 7, 2004. The
Twin Cities Speedway Labor Day Classic was just that. Three outstanding
feature races capped off a fine night of racing.
Chris Paquette served notice that when next season dawns
he will be the man to beat. The Live Oak lead foot came screaming to the front
of the Stock Car feature and staved off the challenges of many determined
racers. Paquette turned in the performance of his career and picked up the
biggest victory as well.
The race was a thriller from the start. Marysville
chauffer Chris Warner led the field into the first tur and stayed on top until
lap eleven. Paquette camped on Warner’s tale and charged on by on the
backstretch of that same circuit. Paquette wouldn’t be headed from that
point until the end. Warner endured a flat tire and headed toward the pits as
Andy Aust showed up in second place. Aust and Paquette had a memorable duel as
Aust tried high and low to get around Paquette. Paquette admitted later that
he never saw Aust as he concentrated on one of the fastest and smoothest rides
seen in some time. Long green flag periods made this grind a tiring ordeal for
all of the finishers.
Aust made a dive into turn number three on lap twenty one
and simply turned his car around and slid to a halt on the front chute. To
everyone’s surprise Aust jumped from his car and was very animated. Aust
then jumped back in and restarted. He came on to finish a respectable forth.
The final few circuits were all Paquette as Kenny
Robinson posted a close second place finish. Teammate Archie Flynn held on to
third ahead of the charging Aust and Grass Valley’s Herb Doxtater got fifth.
Doxtater posted his best ever finish at TCS.
Paquette was drained in victory lane saying that the race
was his biggest challenge physically to date. “I never saw Aust, I was as
smooth as I could be. Man, am I tired!”
Brownsville’s James Castleberry continued his winning
ways at TCS and emerged from a frantic duel with teammate Brandon Dozier with
The event was simply a four car race. Castleberry and
Dozier battled with a close running Robert Mull for most of the distance. In a
relatively tame (by mini-stock standards) race that had few yellows, the
battle at the top was intense. Dozier seemed to have Castleberry’s number
and pulled away at half distance only to be reeled back in. Mull poked his
nose into the fight on more than one occasion. As the dynamic trio were waging
war up front, Marysville’s Mike Merritt calmly picked his way to the front
and found himself in fourth position from fifteenth.
With four to go Dozier’s car sputtered and began to
lose power. Castleberry, Mull and Merritt flashed by as the hapless Dozier
fell through the field. With three to go Mull started to close rapidly on
Castleberry, but just ran out of time before he could mount a challenge.
Castleberry was a very happy racer and thanked just about everyone he knows
for helping him to victory.
“I didn’t think we could get him (Dozier).” Mused
Castleberry. “It was lookin’ like we were good enough for second and that
was about it. I guess his battery went dead on him.” Battery or not, the
Castleberry victory string has been impressive. A tip of the hat to Mike
Merritt who, with this third place finish, had his best drive to date, and his
best season ever.
In the featured Speedway Sprint Cars a fine field was
simply dominated by Clayton driver Darrell Hanestad. Hanestad made a bold last
lap pass for the lead in the Fast Dash and secured a pole position start in
the big finale.
At the green Hanestad outgunned Napa’s David Goodwill
into turn one and it was all over. Well, almost. There were mighty battles
raging behind the leading pair. Once again Rio Linda’s Rick Eversult put in
another fine performance showing up and finishing in third position. The
runner up in TCS points this year continues to be among the hardest chargers.
The race was stopped by two red flags. One for a minor
roll over; one was serious. On lap fourteen TCS Speedway Sprint Car Champion
Chris Magoon checked up to avoid a spinning car in front of him. Magoon
cranked it sideways and came to a halt in turn three. Magoon was T-boned with
terrific force in the left side of the driver’s cage. The cars slid to a
halt appearing almost welded together. Magoon was unconscious and the rescue
workers went to work. The other driver involved was unhurt. While Magoon
remained unconscious for several minutes, the rescue workers were encouraged
by his vital signs. Magoon slowly came around, was quickly removed and taken
to the trauma center in nearby Roseville.
The race resumed after the lengthy red flag segment and
it ended as it started, with Hanestad in control. Goodwill held on for second
and Eversult garnered third. Ty Hawkins and Oakley’s Daryl Moore rounded out
the top five.
Hanestad has won in both appearances at TCS this season.
“This is a fun place and we’ll be back.”
(Postscript regarding the condition of TCS Speedway
Sprint Car Champion Chris Magoon: I talked to Chris Magoon’s wife Jennifer
just after this article was authored. Mrs. Magoon said Chris had sustained a
serious concussion. He was home and resting comfortably. She noted that his
racing must be curtailed for at least six weeks. She remarked that his helmet
sustained a major hit on the front just above the face shield. Mrs. Magoon was
generous with her time and she will talk to us again later in the week. We
also will try to talk to Chris a bit later on this week as well. All updates
will be posted to the website first.)
The California Sprint Car Civil War will bring it’s
high powered road show to TCS Saturday September 25th. Grandstand
gates open at 5 with racing set to get underway at 7. Visit us on the web at
the Official Web Site for Twin Cities Speedway www.twincitiesspeedway.net or
call (916) 985-2089 to reach the business office. All
the latest updates are always posted to the website first.