(MARCH 11, 2003) After having
their March 1st season opener rained out, the Arizona Sprint Car Association
drivers are chomping at the bit getting ready for the March 15th outing and a
full field is expected with all the usual contenders for the championship being
joined by a strong field of rookies.Programs should be at a premium because, as
the saying goes, "you can't tell a driver without one."
While many of the drivers will go with last
year's numbers there are a number of significant changes. Eric Wilkins will have
his much deserved #1 on the Westgate Electric/Canyon Apparel Buckley and Bob
Ream, Jr.'s Monte Taylor car will sport #2. Yuma's Mike Martin will have a #57
on his Naquin Precision Earth Moving car.Wilkins will be trying to become the
first driver to put together back to back driving titles since Johnson turned
the trick in ‘94-‘95.
While it can be expected that past
champions Wilkins, Ream, Marty Miller, Josh Pelkey and Ricky Johnson will be
mixing it up in the chase for the driving title, the battle for rookie of the
year could steal the spotlight. The top two Midget drivers, R.J. Johnson and
Justin Fisher will be prime contenders for the honor. Johnson, who at fifteen
years of age became auto racing's youngest champion and sixteen year old Fisher
waged a season long battle for the Arizona Midget Racing Association title last
year. Fisher is hoping to get revenge on his buddy by beating him out for the
The sixty car field that is registered with
the ASCA has many other rookies listed as their drivers. KFFR newsman Bruce St.
James, Jeff McDonald, Jesse Dunham, Mike Kuemper (winner of a mini sprint car
feature last year), Michael Shnackel, Dale Coldgrove, Larry Petersen, Michael
Bonneau and John Williams. Channel 3 newman Scott Pasmore is also expected to
drive a Jeff Henry backup car in a few outings.2003 also marks the return of
Jimmy Norman to non winged sprint car racing. He will be in the seat of a Roy
Fields owned H&E Equipment car.
Mini Sprints, headed by their points
champion Dennis Parks and the Desert Dwarf Cars featuring perennial champion
Kevin Cain, will also be opening their season. All three divisions will be
competing on the one third mile track with the first green flag scheduled to
wave at 7:30.
Manzy will also be opening the Friday night
portion of its 2003 season. The Super Stocks, Factory Stocks and Bombers had a
successful opener last Saturday night with both the Super Stocks and Factory
Stocks staging a couple of race long side by side racing. Anthony Madrid, last
year's Factory Stock champion and the 2001 Super Stock titlist bested James
Seaton in the Super Stock race and Bobby Taylor held off former champion Kent
Staley to win in the Factory Stocks. Randy Allen will be looking for a third
straight win in the Bombers.