MARYSVILLE, Calif. — Eighteen-year-old second-generation driver Justyn Cox followed in his father’s footsteps to victory lane at Marysville Raceway Park Saturday.
Cox ran away after a late race restart and claimed his first Mel Hall Memorial trophy. The Hall Memorial was a California Sprint Car Civil War event.
Cox started on the outside of row one next to celebrated speedster Shane Golibic. Cox got the jump and led every lap. Cox’s dad, Terry Cox, has won feature events at MRP in Midget Lite competition a decade ago.
Unusual weather conditions from a steady southeast wind created challenging track conditions that kept the 37 entrants guessing all night. MRP’s largest crowd since the Sherm Toller Race, that opened the 2013 season, packed the grandstand. The Mel Hall Memorial Race is MRP’s signature sprint car race honoring the driver, innovator and promoter that brought professional sprint car racing to the Yuba-Sutter area.
The feature was a whirlwind of action as the front row starters along with hard charging Andy Gregg reached lapped traffic quickly in the early stages of the 30 lap Mel Hall Memorial Race. Gregg was the Legal Shield fast time qualifier and jumped into 3rd from his 6th starting slot. Cox picked through traffic with relative ease as the other competitors were stymied by lapped traffic. But, when yellow flags interrupted the proceedings on 4 occasions, Cox got a breather and easily moved away from the field at each new green flag until; once again, lapped traffic gave other competitors a shot at the lead. But Cox was spot-on and mistake-free all race long.
Point leader Justin Sanders was one of the early yellow flags and had to tack on to the back for a lap-six restart. Sanders would turn in the best passing job of the night going from 21st on lap six to eighth in the late going.
Gregg, while running third, collided with another driver that cost him a shot at the win. Gregg retired with a flat tire and perhaps other damage. B Main winner Moore was impressive as he moved forward to a third-place finish behind Cox and Golibic. Wiesz and Sean Becker were fourth and fifth, respectively.