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 Press Release

Merritt sweeps in first win;

Stein wins Speedway Sprint title

Aust and Kevin Lovell also win

by Bob Burbach

Marysville, CA - August 27, 2005...Shaun Merritt swept the TCS Mini Stock program on KIDZ Nite at Twin Cities Speedway Saturday night before a large enthusiastic crowd. Andy Aust took the Riebes Racing Series Stock Car hardware while Kevin Lovell and champion elect Steve Stein led wire to wire in their respective sprint car features.

 

Merritt simply ran away with his heat and after a mid race mechanical failure sidelined Yuba Cityís Donnie Fortney, convincingly won the feature. Fortney came from his 4th staring spot to lead early in the event with Merritt an easy second. Behind Fortney and Merritt a war was in progress featuring no less than three and as many as five racers at a time. But, a series of minor caution flags slowed the action all too often. When the hammer was down the racing was excellent.

 

As the field approached what would be half way Fortneyís car shed a wheel and his run to the checkers was over. Shane Stoker then took up the chase and pressed Merritt for a number of laps. Then Merritt began to open the gap and cruised to his well-deserved   victory. The Merritt racing team was also a primary sponsor of the 3rd annual KIDZ Nite.

 

2004 champion Kevin Sprague put on the drive of the night coming from an 8th row start to an impressive 4th place finish behind Merritt, Stoker and a hustling Robert Luster. Point leader Ken Reische had a good night with a 5th place in the feature and a heat race  win. Luster and Sprague needed Reische to have a problem or two to significantly cut into his championship point lead. It didnít happen that way. Reische went a long way toward securing his first ever TCS championship with his patient and cool ride into 5th.

Reische will take a 28 point lead into Saturdayís final point race.

 

Marysvilleís Andy Aust won yet another feature event in the Riebes Racing Series Stock Cars. Austís second consecutive victory will further compress the point chase at the top. Point leader Phillip Shelby ran as high as 2nd but a series of tire problems cost him dearly. Shelby was not around at the finish.

 

Front row starter Chris Paquette of Live Oak went to the back of the pack on lap one when he and fellow front row starter Earl Shoopman collided in turn four on lap one. Paquette spent the rest of the night carving his way forward to a 3rd place finish. Oregon House resident Pat Couch finished in 2nd place. Couch has made two appearances at TCS this year and has had great rides each time. Jeremy Blackshere was 4th and Jeff Olshowka came from a late race tire stop to a credible 5th.

 

Austís victory put him back in the point lead by a single marker over Paquette. Shelby is five points back in 3rd. Jake Cavasos remains 4th just twenty-two behind Aust.

 

In the Riebes racing Series Pacific Sprint Cars, Kevin Lovell of Yuba City led wire to wire to secure the win. But, that doesnít tell the tale. It was a thrilling event. A hooked up track by feature time allowed a number of the sprinters to get into the low 11ís as the field of twenty cut and slashed their way around the track.

 

Lovellís early lead was in jeopardy all night. First Brent Dothage of Clearlake bothered him, big time. While Lovell was scored the leader of every lap, Dothage waged war with him four a number of laps. On more than one occasion the pair ripped off frighteningly quick laps side by side. Then, at half way Dothage made a huge mistake. He simply spun out of second place in turn two. Korey Lovell inherited 2nd. Dothage was relegated to the rear and had his work cut out for him.

 

When the race restarted, rookie contender Derek Dozier hushed the crowd with an end over end flip in turn one. Replays showed Dozier and Jim Marsh got together sending the youngest Dozier into the dizzying series of gyrations. Dozier was visibly shaken, but at this writing we know of no injury that may have been sustained by the leader in rookie points.

 

The new green provided a great opportunity for second running Korey Lovell to try for the lead. It was to no avail as twin-brother Kevin led the rest of the way. Dothage came from the back to as high as third position after his spin. Then another miscue by Dothage with two to go dropped him to 6th at the finish.

 

Brandon Dozier came in a well deserved third with Santa Rosaís Randy Lathrop and a hard charging Mike Monahan in tow. For the second week in a row Monahan had a dismal heat race and retired from that event. He started in the last row of the feature and spent the rest of the night fighting his way into contention. The many successes Monahan enjoyed in July have been neutralized by a series of tough luck mechanical failures this month. While Monahan should have a mathematical chance next week for a second consecutive championship he will need some serious help in the form of bad luck from the pair who lead in the standings.

 

Earlier in the evening the grandstand erupted in cheers when Gridleyís Christine Zaveson led wire to wire in her heat to finally win her first ever race in a sprint car.

 

Dothage takes a seven point advantage into the final race. Korey Lovell is in 2nd with Kevin Lovell in 3rd twenty-seven points behind. Monahan is thirty-three behind in 4th.

 

Steve Stein of Vacaville put a period on his championship winning season with a virtuoso drive from the front row to victory lane. Stein was the class of the Hunt Speedway Sprint car field lengthening his lead over runner up Jeremy Hawes on nearly every circuit. Brent Dothage was doing double duty when he strapped into the Eversult #7o to become the 6th driver of that car this year. Dothage was 3rd. Jimmy Steward, Charlie Marrs and James Castleberry finished 4th through 6th. The rookie of the year battle is the only one undecided in this class as Marrs and teammate Castleberry continue to slug it out for that trophy. A single point separates the two racers with Castleberry on top at this time.

 

This was veteran Steinís first championship in any form of racing. With a decade of experience under his belt, Stein shed the wing on his car and began competing last year in the Hunt Speedway Sprint Car Series on a limited basis. He won a couple of features and decided to go for the championship this year.

 

The Riebes Racing Series Stock Cars and Pacific Sprint Cars will return to TCS, as will the Hunt Magneto Speedway Sprint Cars and the TCS Mini Stocks for Riebes Championship Night this Saturday. Three of the four divisions have championships on the line. Greg and Linda Kearns will also host the First Annual Fan Appreciation Night. Tickets are just $5 general admission ANDÖitís the most important race of the year! $1 hot dogs, $1 soft drinks and $2 beer are also offered all night long

 

Gates open at 5 with the first race scheduled for 7PM. Call 530.742.9222 or the business office at 530.675.2050 for more information. Visit the website at twincitiesspeedway.net for all of the latest updates and scheduling.

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