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 Press Release

Gary Sokola Classic Results - March 15th
By: Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (March 16) There is no match for speed but a little luck can go a long way as Jeremy Sherman proved in the first round of the Gary Sokola Classic Friday night at Manzanita Speedway. Sherman started alongside pole sitter Cory Kruseman in the 20 lap qualifying main event and following a lap four red flag due to a flip by Damion Gardner urged the Mark Priestly Stealth chassis to the front but Mike Kirby was on the move from his seventh starting berth and had the nose of his Brad & Nancy Guerin owned Stinger in front at the end of lap # 6.

Sherman was back in front for five laps with Kirby running the low side of the half mile track and Sherman pushing the cushion. Kirby finally officially led laps 11-17 but Sherman led most of those laps on the back straightaway with Kirby getting back to the front through turns three and four. Kirby finally managed to get a car length in front but as he started lap 18 smoke rolled from his engine and he took it to the pits.

Sherman then beat Tony Jones, winner of the inaugural Sokola Classic last year, to the checkered flag for his third straight win in Sprint Car Racing Association competition at Manzanita. He won his qualifying main event for the  October 25th NAPA/Budweiser Western World Championship and then became the first Phoenix driver to win a Western when he edged Jones in the finale.

Kruseman, the defending SCRA champion brought the Harlan Willis entry home in third with three time SCRA titlist Richard Griffin getting fourth. 

J.J. Yeley, the reigning USAC National Sprint Car Champion, ended a bad night on a good note with a fifth place finish. J.J. blew an engine in his ABC Sand & Rock machine in hotlaps but secured a ride in the Smiley Crane Service Extreme Chassis car that Tony Smiley had entered. Although he was only about a half second off Steve Ostling's fast time, he qualified 17th then had problems in his heat race and ran last. That put him in the B-main where he lined up seventh but managed to finish fifth which put him in the eighth row for the feature.

Rip Williams, the winningest driver in the SCRA earned the hard charger award in driving from 17th to sixth. Rounding out the top ten were Mike English, Ostling, John Scott and Charles Davis, Jr. Scott and Davis were involved in a multicar crash in the first turn of the initial lap with Soctt getting upside down but they both were ready for the restart. Jerry Coons, Jr. was not as fortunate as his NAPA Auto Parts Stealth went to the pits on the hook.

Seventeen of the 22 starters were running at the finish and all were still on the lead lap.
Derek Davidson, driving the BWB Racing entry sponsored locally by Coyote Express and Main Street Group, won the B-main after turning in the night's second best qualifying time. Griffin, Scott, Rickie Gaunt, Yeley and Levi Jones used the B-main to transfer to the feature.

Heat races went to Kirby, Gardner, Davis, Jr. and Mike Spencer. Bobby Graham beat Levi Jones in the C-main.

A total of 29 cars were within a second of Ostling's fast lap of 18.781 (95.841 mph).


Main event: 1. Jeremy Sherman 2. Tony Jones 3. Cory Kruseman 4. Richard Griffin 5. J.J. Yeley 6. Rip Williams 7. Mike English 8. Steve Ostling 9. John Scott 10. Charles Davis, Jr. 11. Tony Elliott 12. Michael Hinrichsen 13. Troy Rutherford 14. Rickie Gaunt 15. Derek Davidson 16. Levi Jones 17. Mike Spencer 18. Mike Kirby 19. Mike Boat 20. Bob Ream, Jr. 21. Damion Gardner 22. Jerry Coons, Jr.
LAP LEADERS: 1-4, Kruseman—5, Sherman—6, Kirby—6-10, Sherman–11-17, Kirby–18-20, Sherman

B-main: 1. Derek Davidson 2. Richard Griffin 3. John Scott 4. Rickie Gaunt 5. J.J. Yeley 6. Levi Jones 7. Bud Kaeding 8. Kevin Doty 9. Adam Mitchell 10. Bobby Graham 11. Mark Nation 12. Paul Norbury 13. Steve Venard 14. Rick Ziehl 15. Jay Drake

C-main: 1. Bobby Graham 2. Levi Jones 3. Bud kaeding 4. Paul Norbury 5. Cal Smith 6. Bobby Cody 7. Jack DeArmond, Jr. 8. Dan Hillberg 9. Charlie Ekiss 10. Fred Bryan

1st heat: 1. Mike Kirby 2. Tony Elliott 3. Steve Ostling 4. Michael Hinrichsen 5. Rickie Gaunt 6. Mark Nation 7. Bobby Graham 8. J.J. Yeley

2nd heat: 1. Damion Gardner 2. Mike English 3. Jeremy Sherman 4. Mike Boat 5. Adam Mitchell 6. John Scott 7. Derek Davidson 8. Levi Jones

3rd heat: 1. Charles Davis, Jr. 2. Jerry Coons, Jr. 3. Tony Jones 4. Troy Rutherford 5. Rick Ziehl 6. Bud Kaeding 7. Kevin Doty 8. Steve Venard

4th heat: 1. Mike Spencer 2. Rip Williams 3. Cory Kruseman 4. Bob Ream, Jr. 5. Steve Ostling 6. Jay Drake 7. Paul Norbury 8. Paul Beregszaszy

Passing Masters Trophy dash: 1. Cory Kruseman 2. Jeremy Sherman 3. Tony Jones 4. Tony Elliott 5. Steve Ostling 6. Troy Rutherford 7. Mike Kirby 8. Bob Ream, Jr.






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