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See You At The Races!!!

 Press Release

By: Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (September 21) Marty Miller and Darren Williams won the half mile track doubleheader main events Saturday night at Manzanita Speedway and Ricky Thornton repeated as IMCA Dirt Modified champion.

If his car is as comfortable as he claims, Marty Miller may have a hard time staying awake.
After dominating the 25 lap Arizona Sprint Car Association feature race for a third straight win, the 2000 champion gave all the credit to his crew who has found "the perfect setup".
When asked to explain his streak that has now included two wins on the half mile oval, Miller said, "The WJS Development Buckley  is just so comfortable, that I can put it anywhere and it responds. We have tried some radical ideas and we finally hit just the right combination."

Miller won his first trophy dash of the year to get things going, finished second in his heat and then made a quick move from tenth to first as he took the lead from Bernie Smith on the third lap of the feature.While the talent ladened field worked their way toward the front Miller was playing a game of "get gone". He built a three second lead over  Charles Davis, Jr.  who finally broke into second on the tenth lap after starting 12th. Miller's big lead went by the boards as a yellow flag came out for a stalled car just shy of the midpoint of the race. However Miller had two lapped cars between him and the two time ASCA champion who was again at the wheel of the F&E Development Buckley. Davis quickly passed the slower cars and steadily cut into Miller's lead, getting to within a car length.

They again encountered traffic in the closing laps and Miller was better in the heavy traffic that saw him lap all but the ninth place car. "I could move up a little if I had to, or I could take it low. And, yes, I did know that it was Charlie behind me but the way the car worked, I was never worried." Miller received praise for his drive from Hall of Fame driver Lealand McSpadden who was known as the Master of Manzy in his heyday. "That is the way a sprint car is supposed to look on the half mile track," McSpadden told him. "That was great, coming from Lealand," Marty said with a huge grin.

The top five read like a who's who of Arizona sprint car racing. Eric Wilkins came out of the eighth row to finish third and increase his points lead over the 1998 champion Bob Ream, Jr. who was fourth after starting 14th. Wilkins drive also made him the hard charger of the race. Jeremy Sherman, the defending NAPA Auto Part/Budweiser Western World champion finished fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Mike Martin, up from 19th, Nathan High who was substituting for Josh Pelkey who was attending a wedding, Smith, Ricky Johnson and Brandon Lane.

Davis had the pole for the first eight lap heat race and ran away from Paul Norbury, Brandon George and Jay Ervine who all transferred to the feature. Sherman drove the Joey Moriarty Total Seal Buckley from sixth to first in winning the second heat. The other transfer positions went to Verville, Travis Cooley and Ream.  Mike Boat led all eight laps in winning the third heat over Jeff Henry, Smith and Ryan Linder. The final heat was the best as Brandon Lane held of Miller, High and Wilkins for the win. Ronnie Clark went wire to wire to win the 12 lap semi main. Johnson finished second, Martin, after starting sixth, was third and the final main event berth went to Ron Kratz who just edged former main event winner Chuck Buckman.

Main event: 1. Marty Miller 2. Charles Davis, Jr. 3. Eric Wilkins 4. Bob Ream, Jr. 5. Jeremy Sherman 6. Mike Martin 7. Nathan High 8. Bernie Smith 9. Ricky Johnnson 10. Brandon Lane 11. Kaylene Verville 12. Paul Norbury 13. Jay Ervine 14. Ron Kratz 15. Brandon George 16. Ryan Linder 17. Ronnie Clark 18. Travis Cooley 19. Mike Boat 20. Jeff Henry (no time)
Lap leaders: Laps 1-2, Smith–laps 3-25, Miller
Semi main: 1. Ronnie Clark 2. Ricky Johnson 3. Mike Martin 4. Ron Kratz 5. Chuck Buckman 6. Michael Bryan 7. Brian Hacker 8. Ben Gregg 9. Mark Desovick 10. John Gaston 11. Kim Deal 12. Shon Deskins 13. Alex Pruett 14. Chris Bonneau (12 laps, time: 4:17.67)
1st heat: 1. Charles Davis, Jr. 2. Paul Norbury 3. Brandon George 4. Jay Ervine 5. Ronnie Clark 6. Mark Desovick 7. Chris Bonneau 8. John Gaston (8 laps, time: 2:43.70)
2nd heat: 1. Jeremy Sherman 2. Kaylene Verville 3. Travis Cooley 4. Bob Ream, Jr. 5. Ron Kratz 6. Mike Martin 7. Chuck Buckman 8. Ben Gregg (8 laps, no time)
3rd heat: 1. Mike Boat 2. Jeff Henry 3. Bernie Smith 4. Ryan Linder 5. Michael Bryan 6. Kim Deal 7. Alex Pruett (8 laps, time: 2:43.47)
4th heat: 1. Brandon Lane 2. Marty Miller 3. Nathan High 4. Eric Wilkins 5. Ricky Johnson 6. Brian Hacker 7. Shon Deskins (8 laps, no time:
Trophy dash: 1. Marty Miller 2. Chuck Buckman 3. Ricky Johnson 4. Bob Ream, Jr.(4 laps, time: 1:24.16)

1. Eric Wilkins 4005
2. Bob Ream, Jr. 3542
3. Marty Miller 3515
4. Ricky Johnson 3226
5. Josh Pelkey 3160
6. Jeff Henry 2932
7. Terry Belcher, Jr. 2747
8. Jason Sutphen 2399
9. Davey Bateman 2398
10. Brandon George 2136

The win in the Boone, IA Super Nationals taught Darren Williams to keep his nerves under control and he was unfazed when eight time main event winner Terry Belcher kept constant pressure on him and it paid off with a win in the 15 lap Dirt Modified feature on the half mile track. Williams also said that the momentum from winning the nation's most prestigious race may have been a factor it was that "It kept me from being nervous out there, even when Terry showed me his nose", he said. Williams was playing second fiddle to Robert King, Jr. when a yellow flag slowed the race on the fifth lap. King, who had shot away from the field at the drop of the green pitted for a blown tire, handing the lead to Williams with Belcher, up from 12th resting on his rear bumper.

Williams put his Beebe Plumbing/Hollywood Body and Paint Modified in the high groove and even though Belcher repeatedly tried to make an inside pass, Darren held him at bay.
Joe Warner, who entered the race 16 points out of the lead, made a strong move from his 11th starting berth and took second as Belcher developed a handling problem and eventually faded to sixth. Williams was still comfortably in front when the checkered flag fell with "Smoking" Joe Warner in pursuit. Anthony Madrid finished third, Ron Funk was fourth and Ricky Thornton won the driving title with a fifth place finish. Behind the top five, all on the lead lap, were Belcher, Jason Black, Shawn Zalenka, Jeremy Thornton, Steven Adams, R.C. Whitwell, Dominique Askren and Jim Hurd. Thornton became the first driver to win a championship this year as the other divisions are still to be decided. The defending champion was a picture of consistency as he had no finish worse than 15th this year.
Williams won the first heat over Warner, Whitwell and Mark Harrison. The second heat went to King who made it look easy in beating Funk, Jeremy Thornton and Black. The final heat went to Madrid who bested Belcher, Dave Van Bruggen and Askren .

Main event: 1. Darren Williams 2. Joe Warner 3. Anthony Madrid 4. Ron Funk 5. Ricky Thornton 6. Terry Belcher 7. Jason Black 8. Shawn Zalenka 9. Jeremy Thornton 10. Steven Adams 11. R.C. Whitwell 12. Dominique Askren 13. Jim Hurd 14. Mike Ostrom 15. Robert King, Jr. 16. John Collins 17. Dave Van Bruggen (DNS–Steven Rayleigh, Terry Belcher, Jr., Dave Erickson)
Lap leaders; laps 1-5, King, Jr.–Laps 6-15, Williams
1st heat: 1. Darren Williams 2. Joe Warner 3. R.C. Whitwell 4. Mark Harrison 5. Mike Ostrom 6. Steven Rawleigh (DNS–Dave Erickson)(6 laps, no time)
2nd heat: 1. Robert King, Jr. 2. Ron Funk 3. Jeremy Thornton 4. Jason Black 5. Ricky Thornton 6. Shawn Zalenka 7. Jim Hurd (6 laps, time: 2:17.57 New Track Record)
3rd heat: 1. Anthony Madrid 2. Terry Belcher 3. Dave Van Bruggen 4. Dominique Askren 5. John Collins 6. Steven Adams 7. Terry Belcher, Jr. ( 6 laps, no time)
1. Ricky Thornton 693
2. Joe Warner 680
3. Anthony Madrid 664
4. Darren Williams 653
5. Jason Black 648
6. Terry Belcher 602
7. Darin Center 572
8. John Cornell 557
9. R.C. Whitwell 481
10. Jason Noll 462






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