Championship awards dinner
JANUARY 18, 2013
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Hirst slices and dices his way to victory in Civil War Mel Hal Memorial
Series makes triumphant return to Marysville Raceway Park for fans and competitors
By Bill Sullivan/ Civil War Sprint Car Series
Photos by Donna Peter
MARYSVILLE, CA (5-26-12) - The Hoosier Racing Tires Civil War Sprint Car Series made a triumphant return to the likes of Marysville Raceway Park Saturday night for the first time after a several year hiatus from the longtime facility in the heart of the North State. The event was the Mel Hall Memorial race and when the checkered flag waved Elk Grove native Kyle Hirst stood in victory lane and there wasn't likely a fan or a competitor in the joint that could argue it was a fine tribute to a man that dedicated his life to California dirt track racing.
"A big thank you to the race teams who chose MRP as a destination for this tribute race to Mel Hall," said Marysville Raceway Park Promoter Paul Hawes "The passing and dicing from front to back for all the mains made for a night when I didn't have to be a promoter but only an enthusiastic fan again. In the A main the action was so great, the drivers so skilled that the checkered flag was way too soon. "
Over the last couple of years, Hawes and his wife Kathy have shed a great deal of blood, sweat and tears in hard work to restore Marysville Raceway Park to one of Northern California's competitive facilities once again,. Following a short series of failed promotion efforts after the long successful stint held by the Hall family, Hawes came in with a long term plan and Saturday night that plan brought California's premier series for winged 360 sprint cars back to the track and eager to return once again.
Saturday's event brought a packed grandstands to Marysville Raceway Park along with a pit area packed with 38 entries for the second round of the Civil War Sprint Car Series presented by Hoosier Racing Tires. The program yielded action packed racing in all of the preliminary events leading up to the 30-lap feature event that was nothing short of spectacular in the way of passing and multi-lane racing.
Hirst started Saturday's feature event in the 8th place position as the 22-car field took the green flag. Multiple Mel Hall Memorial Champion Colby Wiesz of Colfax was the first driver to the point in Saturday's race and was quickly chased down by defending series champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn who powered up to third on the opening lap to close in on second place runner Jeremy Bert of Grass Valley.
With four laps complete Wiesz was running strong out in front while Forsberg overtook Bert for the bridesmaid position. On the 17th lap the battle between the Colfax Comet and Mr. Excitement was heating up and Forsberg took the lead over Wiesz for one lap until the three time Marysville titlist redeemed it one lap later. While this dogfight among former champions was taking place, Hirst had worked his way up to the top three positions by the 14th lap and was closing in on the action.
On the 18th lap Hirst muscled his Vertullo Racing #83v around Wiesz for the second position and set his sights on Forsberg. Two laps later Hirst took the excitement out of Forsberg's effort when he worked his way into the lead. Once in front Hirst never relinquished the position while Forsberg and Wiesz dueled for the second position. Steven Tiner of Visalia joined the top three in the final laps, overtaking Wiesz for third on the 26th lap. At the finish line Hirst picked up the win followed by Forsberg, Tiner, Wiesz, Bert, Mason Moore of Princeton and Robert Stice of Grass Valley.
In preliminary action on Saturday, Moore was the fastest time of the night with a 13:209. Heat race victories were earned by Stice, Richard Bailey of Napa, Herman Klein of Sacramento and Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove. Bradley Terrell of Sebastapol won the C-main event followed by Sean Becker of Antelope and Phillip DeLarosa. Former track champion Billy Wallace won the B-main event followed by Josh Haulot, Chase Johnson, Reyna Krueger and Brett Rollag.Following the Mel Hall Memorial at Marysville the Civil War contenders headed north to Chico on Sunday for round three and the Silver Dollar Fair event to complete a double header weekend in the North State. For further information on this event visit www.silverdollarspeedway.com and www.silverdollarfair.org.