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 Press Release

ASCA Season Opener At Manzanita
By: Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (March 2) The duece was wild in Saturday night's Arizona Sprint Car Association season opener on Manzanita Speedway' 1/3 mile clay oval as Eric Wilkins dominated with the #2 Canyon Apparel/Westgate Electric/ACM Equipment Rental Buckley.

Wilkins could do no better than third in the four car trophy dash but broke the two year old eight lap record in his heat race and then was in a class by himself in the 25 lap feature. It figured that Wilkins and Bob Ream, Jr. would be the drivers to beat and both performed well after sharing the sixth row at the drop of the green flag. Wilkins quickly headed to the front with Ream not far behind him. Wilkins was aleady up to sixth when a multi-car crash occurred on the fourth lap. Ream was involved in the melee but was able to restart at the back of the pack. Kaylene Verville and John Kuescher were not so fortunate as the crash sent their cars to the pits.

Another yellow, this time for a tangle between Terry Belcher and Brian Stansbury, came out a lap later and Wilkins had slipped into fifth. He made it to third by the start of the eighth lap and then made the move of the race as he went between the first place car driven by Jeff Henry and second running Paul Beregszaszy who was trying the high side for the lead.

Wilkins led lap nine and then it was another caution as Beregsaszy spun. Josh Pelkey was on the move at the restart and, after starting eighth, moved past Henry's Robbie Allen owned sprinter for second before the race was halted when fourth running Jason Sutphen ran over a wheel and did a series of violent snap rolls while working lap #12. He was able to walk away from his damaged machine.

Wilkins went back to work and Ream tried to work his way to the front. He was up to sixth on the restart but was trailing a tough field that managed to keep him at bay until he slipped past Fred Bryan and Ricky Johnson to get fourth at the checkered flag. Wilkins had a 5.67 second advantage, hugh by ASCA standards, when he crossed the finsh line. Pelkey had his best finish in a couple of years as the ‘97 champion brought the J.D. Byrider/Gerrie Masseth car home in second. Henry had his career best with his third place finish ahead of Ream's Monte Taylor/Truck Works Buckley. Johnson, a five time champion, was fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Bryan, Steve Cushman, Jay Ervine, Nathan High and the 2000 champion Marty Miller.

Mike Martin, who arrived at the track without an engine, rewarded his crew for their hard work with an 11th place effort. The engine arrived as the field was running the trophy dash and the crew had it in the car for the heat race but it would not fire and he was forced to start the feature at the back of the pack.

Ream won both the trophy dash and his heat race when he beat Miller in both events. Pelkey fell victim to Wilkin's record run in the second heat and Verville returned to non winged sprint car racing with a win over Nathan High in the final heat.

Charles Mokry tied last year's win total as he led all but the opening lap in the 20 lap Arizona Mini Sprint Car Association feature.

Jeff Perry beat last year's top ranked rookie Amy Maris into the first turn but gave way to Mokry the second time around the 1/3rd mile track. He withstood several yellow flags for harmless spins and built a two second lead over the field before Scott Pasmore, subbing for Jeff Henry in the Maxima Oils car, made a late charge and battled for the lead before suffering mechanical problems with only four laps remaining.

Chris Rein then took up the chase as Maris faltered due to a faulty engine and dropped to ninth. Troy Johnson, the 2000 champion crossed the finish line in third ahead of Ron Pickering and Dennis Parks, the night's hard charger who started 19th.  The rest of the top ten were Dennis Cormany, Terry Palmer, Thomas Ogle, Maris and Mike Kuemper. Pickering won both the trophy dash and his heat race while other heats went of Kiley Fellers and Johnson.


Main event: (25 laps) 1. Eric Wilkins 2. Josh Pelkey 3. Jeff Henry 4. Bob Ream, Jr. 5. Ricky Johnson 6. Fred Bryan 7. Steve Cushman 8. Jay Ervine 9. Nathan High 10. Marty Miller 11. Mike Martin 12. Terry Belcher 13. Josh Foster 14. Brandon George 15. Jason Sutphen 16. Chris Bonneau 17. Bernie Smith III 18. Paul Beregszaszy 19. Brian Stansbury 20. Clint Haulot 21. Kaylene Verville 22. John Kuemper
LAP LEADERS: Jeff Henry, 1-8   Eric Wilkins, 9-25

lst heat (8 laps-No time) 1. Bob Ream, Jr. 2. Marty Miller 3. Ricky Johnson 4. Jay Ervine 5. John Kuescher 6. Brandon George 7. Chris Bonneau 8. Steve Cushman

2nd heat: (8 laps-Time: 1:57.65, 81.588 mph-New Track Record) 1. Eric Wilkins 2. Josh Pelkey 3. Fred Bryan 4. Jason Sutphen 5. Brian Stansbury 6. Bernie Smith III (DNS-Davey Bateman, Ryan Linder)

3rd heat (8 laps-Time: 2.01.85) 1. Kaylene Verville 2. Nathan High 3. Paul Beregszaszy 4. Jeff Henry 5. Josh Foster 6. Clint Haulot 7. Terry Belcher (DNS-Mike Martin)

Trophy dash: (4 laps-Time: 1:02.43) 1. Bob Ream, Jr. 2. Marty Miller 3. Eric Wilkins 4. Ricky Johnson

1.  Eric Wilkins 85
2.  Josh Pelkey 81
3.  Jeff Henry 76
    Bob Ream, Jr. 76
5.  Ricky Johnson 71
6.  Fred Bryan 68
7.  Jay Ervine 61
8.  Nathan High 60
9.  Steve Cushman 58
10. Marty Miller 57

Main event (20 laps)
1. Charles Mokry 2.Chris Rein 3. Troy Johnson 4. Ron Pickering 5. Dennis Parks 6. Dennis Cormany 7. Terry Palmer 8. Thomas Ogle 9. Amy Maris 10. Mike Kuemper 11. Matt Bowman 12. Jim Mattison 13. Kiley Fellers 14. Kasdan Hall 15. Lance Peterson 16. Scott Pasmore 17. Jeff Perry 18. Jeff Greszler 19. Mark Stroh 20. Danny Mathus
LAP LEADERS: Jeff Perry, 1 Charles Maokry, 2-20

1st heat (6 laps-Time 1:34.19) 1. Kiley Fellers 2. Dennis Parks 3. Charles Mokry 4. Amy Maris 5. Jeff Greszler 6. Thomas Mokry (DNS-Dave Alexander)

2nd heat: (6 laps-Time: 1:33.66) 1. Troy Johnson 2. Terry Palmer 3. Scott Pasmore 4. Dennis Cormany 5. Mark Stroh 6. Danny Mathus 7. Lance Peterson

3rd heat: (6 laps-Time: 1:33.28) 1. Ron Pickering 2. Chris Rein 3. Jeff Perry 4. Kasdan Hall 5. Mike Kuemper 6. Matt Bowman 7. Jim Mattison

Trophy dash(4 laps-Time: 1:07.00) 1. Ron Pickering 2. Mark Stroh 3. Terry Palmer 4. Jeff Greszler






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