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See You At The Races!!!

 Press Release

By: Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (June 15)... The leader board for Saturday night's 36th Annual Hank Arnold Memorial at Manzanita Speedway sported a couple of new names as Jeremy Sherman added his name to the list of Arizona Sprint Car Association winners and Adam Young became a first time winner in the BG Midget Car Series

Jeremy Sherman and his Sprint Car Racing Association car owner opted to skip the SCRA race in Santa Maria, CA and that left the door open for the Western World champion to drive the locally owned 360 c.i. sprinter to a hard fought win. While Sherman was hooked up in the Joey Moritarty Total Seal sprinter, the drivers who usually appear at the top of the leader board were nowhere to be found.

Sherman's night started without giving a hint of things to come as he trailed Fred Bryan in his heat race and earned a sixth row starting berth for the 25 lap feature on Manzy's famed half mile track. In a drive that had many fans comparing him to Lealand McSpadden, "The Master of Manzy", the Western World Champion used every inch of the big oval and patiently worked his way to the front.

Bobby Marcum, making only his second start of the year, took a quick lead at the drop of the green and sped away from fourth starting Davey Bateman. Marcum built what appeared to be an insurmountable lead but his pursuers slowly closed in and Bateman used traffic to grab the lead on the 13th lap.

Meanwhile Sherman was taking care of business. He passed ASCA points leader Eric Wilkins and Mike Boat, a former winner of the Arnold Memorial, on the 13th lap and then did the same to Terry Belcher, Jr. and Chuck Buckman. He overhauled Marcum on the 17th lap and set his sites on the tail section of Bateman's Arizona Race Mart/Car Smart car. Working both high and low and using traffic to his advantage Sherman finally made the pass for the lead on the 20th lap.

Sherman was unable to pull away from Bateman and was running at record speeds until the race was halted on the 24th lap when Ryan Linder and Brandon George both flipped in the only incident of the night.  Neither driver was injured and it set up a wild dash to the checkered flag on the restart.

There was no trouble at the front of the pack but positions were changing everywhere else on the track. Mike Boat made up ground as he improved two positions in those final two laps as did Belcher, Jr. Bob Ream, Jr., who had moved from 17th to fifth lost one spot in the wild scramble. Bateman's second place finish was a career high and Marcum came home in third followed by Boat and Belcher, Jr. Rounding out the top ten were Ream, Rick Byler, Buckman, Wilkins and Marty Miller.

The time clock, which was stopped for the red flag incident and restarted on the ensuing green read 9:52:27 for a 25 lap ASCA half mile track record. Even though the race was run without a yellow flag with only the red flag slowing the pace, 17 of the 20 starters were running at the finish with 13 of them on the lead lap.

Wilkins had his worse finish of the year (not including two that he did not finish) but his ninth place was the best of his closest pursuers as  Miller, ranked second, was tenth after starting 19th and third ranked Ricky Johnson was 11th . Johnson won the trophy dash and was better than Miller in heat race competition and took over the second rung of the points ladder but is 174 points behind Wilkins.

Ream had his problems early and had to win the semi to earn a main event berth. Miller parked his car before the heat and brought out his back up. He finished last in his heat, tagged the 13 car semi and ran third.

Bateman won the first eight lap heat race with Byler, Breck Higgins and Josh Pelky also earning transfer spots. The second heat went to Wilkins who started sixth with Buckman, Jason Sutphen and Jay Ervine trailing. In heat three it was Fred Bryan beating Sherman, Marcum and Linder.  Jeff Henry led the way in the fourth heat followed by Boat, Belcher, Jr. and Johnson. In addition to Ream, Mike Martin, Miller and George used the 12 lap semi to get into the feature. The Sprint Cars will be back in action, but on the usual 1/3rd mile track, on June 29th when they share the card with the Mini Sprints and Dwarf Cars.

Adam Young can always remember his first win as it came in the best race of the 2002 series and it did not come easy. Michael Welker, trying for a second straight Hank Arnold Memorial win wasted no time in trying to defend his championship. He beat Young into the first turn and quickly found the fast way around the one third mile track. It was quicker on the high side through turns one and two but the bottom was the place to be at the other end.

He had the Mad Max Upholstery car flying but Young dogged his every move. Welker stayed in front until Young made the high side work and moved his Elite Collision
Center Midget to the front on the 14th lap. Behind him it was a donnybrook with Welker being pressured by Mike Leslie, Matthew Rossi , Chris Edwards and Justin Fisher. Fisher had problems and took it to the pits. He was followed to the disabled car area by Rossi, then Edwards and Leslie.

Young could not shake Welker but had enough to bring it home. R.J. Johnson, after an early spin, put on a great charge in the closing laps to finish third and increased his points over Leslie. David Birmingham, Jr., winner the last time out, crossed the line in fourth and rookie driver Amy Maris, making only her second start, was fifth. Mike Courtney was sixth and Jeff Perry was the only other driver still running at the end while non finishers Leslie, Edwards and Rossi were credited with top ten finishes.

15 of the 17 cars on hand started the race and all seven finishers were on the lead lap.
Leslie, who was celebrating his 30th birthday got the evening off to a great start as he won the trophy dash and followed that up with a win in his heat race. Young, Welker, Rossi and Johnson trailed Leslie in the first heat.  New Mexico's Robert Marfia, jr. came out of the back row to win the second heat over Edwards, Ronnie Clark, Fisher and Birmingham.
The Midgets have two and a half weeks to repair their broken cars as their next race is on July 4th when they share the card with the IMCA Dirt Modifeds. A fireworks show is also part of the Holiday outing.


Main event: 1. Jeremy Sherman 2. Davey Bateman 3. Bobby Marcum 4. Mike Boat 5. Terry Belcher, Jr. 6. Bob Ream, Jr. 7. Rick Byler 8. Chuck Buckman 9. Eric Wilkins 10 Marty Miller 11.Ricky Johnson 12. Jason Sutphen 13. Jay Ervine 14. Jeff Henry 15. Josh Pelkey 16. Mike Martin 17. Breck Higgins 18. Ryan Linder 19. Brandon George 20. Fred Bryan
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-12, Marcum–Laps 13-20, Bateman–Laps 21-25, Sherman

Semi main: 1. Bob Ream, Jr. 2. Mike Martin 3. Marty Miller 4. Brandon George 5. Ben Gregg 6. Travis Cooley 7. Chris Bonneau 8. Chris Rhein 9. Michael Bryan 10. Bernie Smith 11. Brian Hacker 12. Lonnie Sherman 13. John Gaston

1st heat: 1. Davey Bateman 2. Rick Byler 3. Breck Higgins 4. Josh Pelkey 5. John Gaston 6. Brian Hacker 7. Ben Gregg

2nd heat: 1. Eric Wilkins 2. Chuck Buckman 3. Jason Sutphen 4. Jay Ervine 5. Mike Martin 6. Michael Bryan 7. Chris Rhein

3rd heat: 1. Fred Bryan 2. Jeremy Sherman 3. Bobby Marcum 4. Ryan Linder 5. Brandon George 6. Bernie Smith 7. Lonnie Sherman

4th heat: 1. Jeff Henry 2. Mike Boat 3. Terry Belcher, Jr. 4. Ricky Johnson 5. Bob Ream, Jr 6. Travis Cooley 7. Chris Bonneau 8. Marty Miller
Trophy dash: 1.Ricky Johnson 2. Fred Bryan 3. Chris Bonneau 4. Marty Miller

Main event:
1. Adam Young 2. Michael Welker 3. R.J. Johnson 4. David Birmingham, Jr. 5. Amy Maris 6. Mike Courtney 7. Jeff Perry 8. Mike Leslie 9. Chris Edwards 10. Matthew Rossi 11. Dale Daly 12. Justin Fisher 13. Robert Marfia, Jr. 14. Tony Everhart 15. Doug Elliott
Lap Leader: Laps 1-13, Welker–Laps 14-25, Young

1st heat: 1. Mike Leslie 2. Adam Young 3. Michael Welker 4. Matthew Rossi 5. R.J. Johnson 6. Amy Maris 7. Mike Courtney 8. Steve Alcott

2nd heat: 1. Robert Marfia, Jr. 2. Chris Edwards 3. Ronnie Clark 4. Justin Fisher 5. David Birmingham, Jr.  6. Tony Everhart (DNS–Doug Elliott, Jeff Perry)

Trophy dash: 1.Mike Leslie 2. Michael Welker 3. David Birmingham, Jr. 4. R.J. Johnson






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