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
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.
ASCA SPRINT CARS
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,
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:
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)
UNOFFICIAL ASCA POINTS
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
WILLIAMS KEEPS COOL IN THIRD WIN OF THE YEAR
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
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
IMCA DIRT MODIFIEDS
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
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)
UNOFFICIAL FINAL IMCA POINTS
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