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 Press Release

Eric Wilkins Dominates Manzy Sprints
By: Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (April 13) Eric Wilkins proved once again that he is in a class by himself as he decimated the 30 car field of non winged sprint cars at Manzanita Speedway in scoring his third win of the year. His only loss this year came at the hands of a non regular on the circuit, SCRA's Charles Davis, Jr.

No one could come close to Wilkins who lined up in the third row and chased down Marty Miller who led laps 2-8. Following a yellow flag brought about by a rare spin by five time champion Ricky Johnson, Miller missed the ensuing green flag and his failure to stand on it cost him four positions as Wilkins roared to the front. Once there, only yellow flags could keep the field close.

The final yellow flag was waved at the midpoint of the race and then Wilkins kept it smooth as he pulled away from a seven car battle for runnerup honors. Kent Rosevear, making his first start of the year, kept the six car freight train behind him while Josh Pelkey, Josh Ford, a visitor from Camarillo, CA, Miller, Davey Bateman, Terry Belcher, Jr. and Terry Belcher were swapping positions.

Wilkins had a commanding 6.67 second advantage over the field when he brought the Canyon Aparrel/ACM Equipment Rental Buckley under the checkered flag. Rosevear led the parade to the line for second with Pelkey edging Ford for third. Miller, whose crew protested the green flag start that saw him lose the lead, was fifth. The rest of the top ten were Bateman, Belcher, Jr., Belcher, Paul Norbury and Jason Sutphen.

Johnson was involved in a multi car crash on the first lap and his second problem put him in the pits and  broke a streak of 21 straight top ten finshes.  It was his  first non finish on the one third mile track since the 1998 season.

Bob Ream, Jr. entered the race with three top five finishes and was ranked second in points but failed to make the feature. Ream, the ‘98 champion and winner of 45 ASCA features, drove it in deep into turn three in the first heat trying to get by Johnson for the final main event transfer spot. He pushed into Johnson moving him out of the groove. In a major show of sportsmanship he backed off on the front straightaway giving the transfer spot back to Johnson and relegating himself to the semi main. He uncharacteristically spun while leading and could not get back into the top four to make the feature.

Sutphen inherited the lead when Ream spun and then held off Belcher, Jr., Jeff Henry and Brandon George who all transferred.

Mike Martin won the first heat race over Norbury and Rick Byler who returned to the racing wars after a two year absence. Miller won the second heat over Michael Bryan and Chris Rhein as they were the only three cars to finish. Pelkey and Ryan Linder pitted with mechanical problems while Theo McCarty and Clint Haulot were eliminated when McCarty pushed into Haulot.  McCarty did a couple of snap rolls and Haulot's throttle stuck and he shot off turn four, barley missed a light pole and hit the wall on the half mile track and almost slammed a push truck.

Wilkins easily beat Ford and Rosevear in winning the third heat and Fred Bryan, who had earlier won the trophy dash, bested Chris Bonneau and Belcher in the fourth heat.
The evenings worse crash came in the semi main when Steve Cushman did a series of snap rolls and end over end flips off turn two. Miraculously he managed to climb out of the car and take the long walk back to his pits.

Michael Bryan flipped in the first turn of the main event and he, too, was not injured.
The Sprint Cars will be returning April 20th but they will move out onto the famed half mile track for the first time this year and Wilkins will carry a 185 point lead over Miller into the speedfest. The SCRA schedule shows an open date for the 20th so it is probable that Charles Davis, Jr. and Western World Sprint Car champion Jeremy Sherman will be among the entries.


Main event: 1. Eric Wilkins 2. Kent Rosevear 3. Josh Pelkey 4. Josh Ford 5. Marty Miller 6. Davey Bateman 7. Terry Belcher, Jr. 8. Terry Belcher 9. Paul Norbury 10. Jason Sutphen 11. Paul Beregszaszy 12. Jeff Henry 13. Darrell Sickles 14. Fred Bryan 15. Rick Byler 16. Ricky Johnson 17. Mike Martin 18. Chris Bonneay 19. Brandon George 20. Michael Bryan
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, Bonnea–Laps 2-8, Miller—Laps 9-25, Wilkins

Semi main: 1. Jason Sutphen 2. Terry Belcher, Jr. 3. Jeff Henry 4. Brandon George 5. Darrell Sickles 6. Jake Ford 7. Bob Ream, Jr. 8. Bernie Smith 9. Kaylene Verville, 10. J.T. Imperial 11. Steve Cushman
1st heat: (Time: 2:00.93) 1. Mike Martin 2. Paul Norbury 3. Rick Byler 4. Ricky Johnson 5. Bob Ream, Jr. 6. Jeff Henry 7. Steve Cushman 8. Bernie Smith
2nd heat: (No time)1. Marty Miller 2. Michael Bryan 3. Bernie Smith 4. Josh Pelkey 5. Ryan Linder 6. Clint Haulot 7. Theo McCarty
3rd heat: (Time 1:59.90) Eric Wilkins 2. Josh Ford 3. Kent Rosevear 4. Paul Beregszaszy 5. Terry Belcher, Jr. 6. Darrell Sickles 7. J.T. Imperial 8. Jake Ford
4th heat: (2:03.14) 1. Fred Bryan 2. Chris Bonneau 3. Terry Belcher 4. Davey Bateman 5. Jason Sutphen 6. Brandon George 7. Kaylene Verville

Trophy dash: ( Time: 1:00.25) 1.Fred Bryan 2. Ricky Johnson 3. Marty Miller 4. Paul Beregszaszy
1.  Eric Wilkins 915
2.  Marty Miller 730
3. Ricky Johnson 660
4.  Bob Ream, Jr. 645
5. Josh Pelkey 596
6.  Jeff Henry 583
7. Mike Martin 543
8. Terry Belcher 496
9.  Fred Bryan 460
10. Terry Belcher, Jr.  455

Luke Icke showed great patience as he methodically worked his way through the field from this fourth row starting berth and was in the right place at the right time to garner his second main event win of the year in the AMRA 20 lap feature on Manzanita's one third mile track.

Icke, who now has two seconds to go with his wins was trailing race long leader Bugs Norbury who was trying for this first career win when the race was slowed by a yellow flag with only two laps remaining. As he had done on a couple of previous occasions, Icke drove to the bottom of the track entering turn one but this time he managed to move to the front as Norbury's machine faltered and he was dejectedly pushed to the pits.

Mike Leslie and R.J. Johnson tried to overtake the Colorado driver on the final laps but, after they traded the second spot a couple of times, Leslie, who had earlier won the BG Chemicals trophy dash,  got to the line in second with the 14 year old highschool freshman in third. Adam Young finished fourth and Shane Parker was fifth at the checkered flag.  Rounding out the top ten were Steve Sussex, Jr., Dustin Burkhart, Dean Daly, Doug Elliott and Dale Daly.

The defending AMRA champion David Birmingham, Jr. beat Icke and Parker in the first heat race while Mike Welker bested Leslie and Johnson in the second heat.
While Icke has been a thorn in the side of the local drivers, they may have seen the last of him for the season as the Colorado midget season is set to start and his long trip to find a race may be over for awhile.

Main event: 1. Luke Icke 2. Mike Leslie 3. R.J. Johnson 4. Adam Young 5. Shane Parker 6. Steve Sussex, Jr. 7. Dustin Burkhart 8. Dean Daly 9. Doug Elliott 10. Dale Daly 11. Bugs Norbury 12. Mike Welker 13. David Birmingham, Jr. 14. Justin Fisher 15. Rob Clary
Lap Leaders: 1-8, Norbury–19-20, Icke

1st heat: 1. David Birmingham, Jr. 2. Luke Icke 3. Shane Parker 4. Adam Young 5. Justin Fisher
2nd heat: 1. Mike Welker 2. Mike Leslie 3. R.J. Johnson 4. Bugs Norbury 5. Steve Sussex, Jr.
Trophy dash; Mike Leslie
1.  Luke Icke 288
2.  Adam Young 241
3.  Steve Sussex, Jr. 228
4. R.J. Johnson 224
5. Shane Parker 202
6. Justin Fisher 196
7. Dustin Burkhart 188
8. Doug Elliott 167
9. David Brimingham, Jr, 155
   Bugs Norbury 155






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