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 Press Release

Miller Gets First Win Since 2000
By: Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (May 4) The pits resembled a wrecking yard following Saturday night's Sprint Car/Dirt Modified races at Manzanita Speedway but even the high number of flips and multi-car crashes could not detract from the side by side, nose to tail racing for the lead in both divisions. The lead changed hands seven times before Marty Miller finally edged ahead of Chuck Buckman on the 17th lap of the 25 lap Sprint Car feature which was contested on Manzanita's one third mile track. Buckman, driving the best race of his career, dogged Miller the final seven laps and was less than a second back at the checkered flag. A six car pile up in the first turn of the first lap gave an indication of things to come and it went downhill after that as only ten of the 20 starters took the checkered flag. Fred Bryan, Josh Pelkey and Ben Gregg were unable to restart following the first lap
melee. Terry Belcher was in the pits for three laps as a result of the crash and then ran only two more laps before calling it quits. Meanwhile, Chris Bonneau had the lead for the first three laps but then Nathan High ran up on the rear end of Jay Ervine's car and flipped, bring out a red flag. High climbed from the wreckage but his night was over but Ervine was able to continue. Bonneau was sent to the rear of the field for failing to stop for the red flag and made on four more laps before taking his car to the pits. With Bonneau's penalty, Jeff Henry led but before he could complete a lap Terry Belcher, Jr. moved past. Junior led
for three laps but the two leaders made contact on the seventh lap and both cars flipped hard off turn two. Bonneau exited under the yellow flag and the field was down to eleven cars with only six laps completed. Marty Miller brought the cars to the green flag with Buckman and four time winner Eric Wilkins in pursuit. The top three were running under a blanket but Wilkins slowed coming of the second turn while working the 11th lap and drove off the track marking his first non finish of the year.

Miller led until the 12th lap when Buckman, driving the best race of his career took the lead. One lap later Miller was back in front with Buckman racing side by side until he again claimed the lead on the 16th lap. Miller, the 2000 driving champion, went back in front to stay on lap #17 and then held Buckman at bay and crossed the finish line less than a second out front for his first win since May 27, 2000. Buckman was the hard charger of the race after starting 15th while 16th starting Ricky Johnson matched his performance with a third place finish. Ervine had his first top five of the year as he edged Mike Martin for fourth. The rest of the cars that survived were Paul Norbury, Darrell Sickles, Brandon George, Michael Bryan and Bernie Smith. Wilkins, although finishing only ten laps was 11th and managed to hang on to the points lead dispite having missed one race this
year. Miller closed the gap and now trails by only 28 points. Terry Belcher won the semi main with Pelkey, Buckman, Johnson and Smith trailing. Jeff Henry beat Martin and Ervine in the first heat, Bonneau topped High and Michael Bryan in the second heat while Wilkins, who had earlier won the trophy dash, came from last to first in only three laps and bested Fred Bryan and Ben Gregg in the final heat. The Sprint Cars will get their first break of the year next week after seven straight races and will return to Manzanita on May 25th. 


Main event: 1. Marty Miller 2. Chuck Buckman 3. Ricky Johnson 4. Jay Ervine 5. Mike Martin 6. Paul Norbury 7. Darrell Sickles 8. Brandon George 9. Michael Bryan 10. Bernie Smith 11. Eric Wilkins 12. Chris Bonneau 13. Terry Belcher, Jr. 14. Jeff Henry 15. Bob Ream, Jr. 16. Nathan High 17. Josh Pelkey 18. Ben Gregg 19. Terry Belcher 20. Fred Bryan 
Lap Leaders: 1-3, Bonneau–4-6, Belcher, Jr.–7-11, Milller–12, Buckman–13-15, Miller–16, Buckman–17-25, Miller 

Semi main: 1. Terry Belcher 2. Josh Pelkey 3.Chuck Buckman 4. Ricky Johnson 5. Bernie Smith 6. Brandon George 7. Bob Ream, Jr. 8. Paul Norbury 9. John Gaston 10. Jason Sutphen 11. Ryan Linder 12. Lonnie Sherman 

1st heat: 1. Jeff Henry 2. Mike Martin 3. Jay Ervine 4. Marty Miller 5. Bernie Smith 6. Pelkey 7. Brandon George (DNS–Bob Ream, Jr, Josh Foster) 

2nd heat: 1. Chris Bonneau 2. Nathan High 3. Michael Bryan 4. Terry Belcher, Jr. 5. John Gaston 6. Ricky Johnson 7. Jason Sutphen 8. Lonnie Sherman 9. Breck Higgins

3rd heat: 1. Eric Wilkins 2. Fred Bryan 3. Ben Gregg 4. Darrell Sickles 5. Chuck Buckman 6. Terry Belcher 7. Paul Norbury 8. Ryan Linder 9. Davey Bateman 

Trophy dash: 1. Eric Wilkins 2. Nathan High 3. Chris Bonneau 4. Ryan Linder 

1. Eric Wilkins 1285 2. Marty Miller 1257 3. Ricky Johnson 1096 4. Bob Ream, Jr. 1060
5. Jeff Henry 1038 6. Josh Pelkey 1014 7. Mike Martin 925 8. Terry Belcher 894 9. Terry Belcher, Jr. 865 10. Jason Sutphen 844 


The Dirt Modifieds ran on the half mile track for only the second time this year and Anthony Madrid and Iggy Jackson were side by side for most of the race with Madrid edging Jackson by a car length for his second IMCA win of the year, his seventh overall. The race figured to be another Belcher family affair but neither Terry or Terry, Jr. survived. Belcher started the race lined up on the inside of the sixth row and was involved in a crash on the first lap that ended his night prematurely. He had won his last two starts. Jackson
moved up to the front row for the restart after Jeff Gibson had motor problems and Jason Noll had damage resulting from the multi-car crash that also involved Belcher. Iggy jumped out front and held the lead for two laps before Belcher, Jr., up from fifth took over on the third lap. Junior, who had finished second to his dad in his past two starts, began pulling away but jumped the cushion, hit the wall and flipped while working the sixth lap ending his night. Jackson moved back to the front for the restart and had Madrid, who had started sixth, looking inside and outside for a line to the front. The two were side by side through the turns with Madrid getting his nose in front only to have Jackson beat him off the turns. Madrid, who had won his fourth Factory Stock race the previous night, finally made the pass with  two laps remaining and then held off a hard charge by Jackson for the win. Shawn Zalenka drove his way from 12th to finish third, Joe Warner was the night's hard charger in coming from 17th to fourth and John Cornell took fifth. Leading the rest of the survivors on a night filled with minor crashes and mechanical problems were Ricky Thornton, Darin Center, Brandon Eichelberger, Dave Van Brugen and Jeff Stafford. Madrid entered the evening ranked fourth in points but only six markers behind Thornton. He cut five points off that lead and is only one back waiting for the May 18th race. Gibson had a front row start for the first heat and finished almost a straightaway in front of
Jackson and Darren Williams. Belcher, Jr. passed Rene on the final lap to win the second heat with former champion Randy Harrison taking third. It was no contest in the final heat as Terry Belcher drove his way out of the back row to dispose of Madrid and Zalenka 


Main event: 1. Anthony Madrid 2. Iggy Jackson 3. Shawn Zalenka 4. Joe Warner 5. John Cornell 6. Ricky Thornton 7. Darin Center 8. Brandon Eichelberger 9. Dave Van Bruggen 10. Jeff Stafford 11. Mike Ostrum 12. D.J. Wood 13. Randy Harrison 14. Dave Craft 15. Jason Black 16. Darren Williams 17. Terry Belcher, Jr. 18. Rick Ward 19. Rene Madrid 20. Jason Noll 21. Jeff Gibson 22. Terry Belcher 
Lap Leaders: 1-2, Jackson–3-5, Belcher, Jr. 6-12, Jackson–13-15, Madrid 

1st heat: 1. Jeff Gibson 2. Iggy Jackson 3. Darren Williams 4. Jason Noll 5. Dave Van Bruggen 6. Brandon Eichelberger 7. Rick Ward 

2nd heat: 1. Terry Belcher, Jr. 2. Rene Madrid 3. Randy Harrison 4. John Cornell 5.
Jason Black 6. Joe Warner 7. Jeff Stafford 8. Mike Ostrum 3rd heat: 1. Terry Belcher 2. Anthony Madrid 3. Shawn Zalenka 4. Ricky Thornton 5. Dave Craft 6. Darin Center 7. D.J. Wood (DNS–R.C. Whitwell) 

1. Ricky Thornton 210 2. Anthony Madrid 209 3. Joe Warner 200 4. Jason Black 199 5. Darin Center 198 6. Darren Williams 195 7. Iggy Jackson 191 8. John Cornell 188 9. Jason Noll 158 10. Rick Ward 149 






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