Phoenix, AZ (March 29)
Marty Miller stayed perfect, Justin Fisher got his first win and Thomas Ogle
made it to the winner's circle in Saturday night's races at Manzanita Speedway.
A lot of hard driving plus a little bit of
luck kept Marty Miller's undefeated Sprint Car season intact Saturday night at
Manzanita Speedway. Miller, the 2000 Arizona Sprint Car Association driving
champion won both his heat race and the Main event in the March 15th opener at
Manzy, traveled to Perris California last week and won both his heat and main
and then scored wins in both his heat race and feature Saturday night.
While Miller was fast he also need a
helping hand from Lady Luck in getting his Bill and Linda Sweeney Buckley from
ninth to first. He was running third, a half lap behind the leader Charles
Davis, Jr. midway through the 25 lap race when Davis cut a tire and retired. The
yellow flag allowed the field to bunch up with Jeremy Sherman at the point.
Sherman, fresh from winning the SCRA/USAC Gary Sokola Classic, managed to
keep Miller at bay until the 22nd lap. Miller had repeatedly tried to pass
Sherman on the inside and finally tried a hard pass, pushed into Sherman shoving
him high and then went on to the win.
Although the contact blew the left front tire on Sherman's car he managed to
barely beat Bob Ream, Jr. to the checkered flag with Josh Pelky fourth and Bugs
Norbury fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Ricky Johnson, Mike Martin, Tony
Smiley, Rob Davis and Shon Deskins.
Eric Wilkins, after losing a motor in the
season opener had another bad night. With one of the owners of his car, Bob
Meixsell, in a local hospital, the defending champion jumped out front at the
opening green flag and was slowing pulling away from Davis, Jr. who had started
on the outside of the third row, when the magneto failed as he completed the
fourth lap ending his night.
Davis then took over and pulled away from
the field with his Fred & Evelyn Bryan Buckley. "Charging Charlie"
was running about a quarter of a second faster than the rest of the field until
he cut down his right rear tiee on a small piece of debris and coasted to a stop
bringing out the yellow flag. Miller used the low side of the one third mile
track and pulled along side Sherman in each turn but Sherman was up to the task
and kept the lead. Miller drove in deep in turn one of the 22nd lap, slid wide
and made contact with Sherman's Stacy Fuller owned machine. Bob Ream, Jr. was
running third at the time and had to brake hard to avoid hitting Sherman.
With Sherman slowing due to the blown tire
Miller pulled away to a 1:47 second advantage as he flashed under Chris Odom's
checkered flag. Johnson and Martin made the big moves in the feature as they
started far back in the field and drove their way to sixth and seventh
respectively. Johnson had won the 12 lap semi in a record time of 3:01.01 (79.58
mph) and was 17th on the grid with Martin in 19th.
The 31 car field was divided into four heat
races with only Charlie Fegan unable to compete. Sherman started fourth in the
first heat and took the win over Bugs Norbury, Mike Boat and Bob Ream, Jr with a
quick move on a restart following a yellow flag that carried him past both Boat
and Ream. The second heat went to Jay Ervine who led wire to wire in beating
eighth starting Wilkins, the 1997 champion Pelkey and Desjubs, In heat #3 it was
Rob Davis leading all the way with Davis, Jason Sutphen and Nathan High
in pursuit. The final heat was a donnybrook with Miller edging Ream, John
Gaston and Kaylene Vervile. Miller was pushed to a near track record as he
tripped the clock at 1:58:53, just a tick of a clock off the eight lap record of
1:57.65 held by Wilkins.
The night's only serious crash came just after the green flag flew for the third
heat. The cars were bunched entering the first turn and High ran out of room and
vaulted into the air. While he continued Jeff Henry found no place to go and
flipped as he exited turn two. He was able to walk away but his Robbie Allen ABC
Body Shop car was through for the night.
Charles Davis, Jr. made it look easy in
winning the trophy dash by almost a full straightaway as he broke the five year
old four lap record held by Ream. He was clocked at 59:05 lowering the standard
by .70 seconds. The Sprint Cars will be switching to Manzy's half mile track for
the April 5th race with the IMCA Dirt Modifieds racing on the short track.
Sixteen year old Justin Fisher passed Amy Maris on the 12th lap and went on to
score his first win in the Midget main event with Maris in second ahead of David
Rosales, David Rosales and Cole Houser. Thomas Ogle led Danny Mathus, Jeff
Greszler, Scott Pasmore and Tim Ogle to the finish line in the Mini Sprint
Main Event: 1. Marty Miller 2. Jeremy Sherman 3. Bob Ream, Jr. 4. Josh
Pelkey 5. Bugs Norbury 6. Ricky Johnson 7. Mike Martin 8. Tony Smiley 9. Rob
Davis 10. Shon Deskins 11. Kaylene Verville 12. Brandon Lane 13. Jay Ervine 14.
Jason Sutphen 15. Joey Moriarty 16. Charles Davis, Jr. 17. Nathan High 18. Eric
Wilkins 19. Mike Boat 20. John Gaston
Lap Leaders: laps 1-4, Wilkins–laps 8-12, Davis, Jr.–laps 13-21,
Sherman–laps 22-25, Miller
Semi Main: 1. Ricky Johnson 2.
Brandon Lane 3. Mike Martin 4. Joey Moriarty 5. Brian Hacker 6. Ben Gregg 7.
Paul Norbury 8. Terry Belcher, Jr. 9. Jimmy Norman 10. Rick Johnson 11. Mike
Kuemper 12. Chris Bonneau 13. Justin Fisher ( Time: 3.01:01–79.57 mph- New 12
lap track record)
1st Heat; 1. Bugs Norbury 2. Mike
Boat 3. Jeremy Sherman 4. Bob Ream, Jr. 5. Brandon Lane 6. Joey Moriarty 7.
Chris Bonneay 8. Paul Norbury
2nd Heat: 1. Jay Ervine 2. Eric
Wilkins 3. Josh Pelkey 4. Shon Deskins 5. Ricky Johnson 6. Ben Gregg 7. Jimmy
3rd Heat: 1. Rob Davis 2. Charles
Davis, Jr. 3. Jason Sutphen 4. Nathan High 5. Terry Belcher, Jr. 6. Mike Martin
7. Rick Johnson 8. Jeff Henry (Time: 2.04:93)
4th Heat: 1. Marty Miller 2. Bob
Ream, Jr. 3. John Gaston 4. Kaylene Verville 5. Brian hacker 6. Mike Kuemper 7.
Justin Fisher( Time: 1:58.53)
Trophy Dash: 1. Charles Davis, Jr.
2. Marty Miller 3. Bob Ream, Jr. 4. Brandon Lane (Time; 59:05, New four lap
FISHER GETS TO DRINK FROM THE WINNER'S
After using consistently high finishes to end the 2002 season ranked second in
points Justin Fisher finally got to the checkered flag in front as he scored his
first career win in the Arizona Midget Racing Association 15 lap feature.
The defending champion, R.J. Johnson started alongside Mike Leslie and had the
lead coming off turn two of the opening lap. The 15 year old stayed in front
until he lost power while working the fifth lap ending his hopes of getting
another win. Amy Maris took command and kept her Razor Oil Pumps car in front
despite several yellow flags and a race stopping red flag brought about by a
hard series of barrel rolls by Doug Elliott. Matthew Rossi was also involved and
both cars were towed to the pits. David Birmingham, Jr. had problems and was the
next one to retire quickly followed to the pits by Leslie.
Maris gave up the lead to Fisher on the
11th lap but was back in front the next time around. Then Fisher put the Capital
Tree Service Midget to the front with a low side pass and stayed in front of
Maris to the checkered flag. Behind the front running duo were David Rosales,
Mike Courtney and rookie driver Cole Houser.Rounding out the top ten wre Robert
Ellis, Dean Daly, James Tash, Terry Palmer and Dale Daly.
Birmingham was a wire to wire winner in the
first heat race as he bested Leslie, Johnson and Palmer. Palmer, a former Dwarf
Car champion took his first ride in a Midget since 1987 and was impressive. The
second heat went to Elliott who won from the pole with sixth starting Maris
taking second ahead of Fisher and Tash.
Birmingham also won the trophy dash as he held off a hard charge by Johnson with
Fisher and Mike Welker trailing.
Main Event: 1. Justin Fisher 2. Amy Maris 3. David Rosales 4. Mike Courtney
5. Cole Houser 6. Robert Ellis 7. Dean Daly 8. James Tash 9. Terry Palmer 10.
Dale Daly 11. Mike Leslie 12. David Birmingham, Jr. 13. Doug Elliott 14. Matthew
Rossi 15. R.J. Johnson 16. Jim Nutter
Lap Leaders: laps 1-4, Johnson–laps 5-10, Maris–lap 11, Fisher–lap 12,
Maris–laps 13-15, Fisher
1st Heat: 1. David Birmingham, Jr.
2. Mike Leslie 3. R.J. Johnson 4. Terry Palmer 5. David Rosales 6. Robert Ellis
7. Cole Houser 8. Dean Daly
2nd Heat: 1. Doug Elliott 2. Amy
Maris 3. Justin Fisher 4. James Tash 5. Mike Courtney 6. Jim Nutter 7. Mike
Welker (Time: 2.06:95)
Trophy Dash: 1. David Birmingham,
Jr. 2. R.J. Johnson 3. Justin Fisher 4. Mike Welker (Time: 1:04.69)
OGLE SHOWS PATIENCE IN GETTING MINI
Thomas Ogle did not turn it loose until the closing laps in the 20 lap Mini
Sprint Car feature but once he decided to move he showed the same power that had
carried him to a win in the second race of the 2002 season last March 23rd.
Ogle was situated in the third row at the start of the race and was content to
let Kiley Fellers, Jeff Greszler and Terry Palmer set the pace. The pace was
slowed by several yellow flags and was stopped when Robert Mitchell barrell
rolled his car on the sixth lap. Mitchell was able to walk away from his mangled
Ogle methodically worked his way to the
front as he got by a slowing Palmer and then moved into second behind race long
leader Kiley Fellers. Danny Mathus was also on the move as he was in fourth
after starting sixth and Scott Pasmore had worked his way to fifth with a
great drive from 15th.
Ogle finally wrested the lead from Fellers
on the 15th lap and pulled away. Fellers lost it coming off the final turn and
that put Mathus in second with Greszler following up his second place finish in
the March 15th opener with a third place effort. Pasmore took passing honors
with a fourth place finish and Tim Ogle, the winner's father, in fifth.
Behind the top five were Mark Stroh, Brandon George, Fellers, Tony Osuch and
Fellers won the first heat race over Palmer, Dennis Parks and Stroh; Kurt
Schultz beat Ogle, Don Keesler and Jim Mattison in the second heat and Greszler
bested George, Tim Ogle and Mathus in the final heat.
Dustin Carmony went wire to wire in the 10
lap semi main with Charles Mokry in third. Scott Pasmore was again the passing
leader with a drive from tenth to third ahead of Scott Birdzell and Mitchell.
Greszler won the trophy dash with Mathus, Palmer and Thomas Ogle in pursuit.
Main Event: 1. Thomas Ogle 2. Danny Mathus 3. Jeff Greszler 4. Scott Pasmore
5. Tim Ogle 6. Mark Stroh 7. Brandon George 8. Kiley Fellers 9. Tony Osuch 10.
Rick Alexander 11. Don Keesler 12. Dennis Parks 13. Trey Deane 14. Dustin
Carmony 15. Terry Palmer 16. Kurt Stults 17. Robert Mitchell 18. Scott Birdzell
19. Jim Mattison 20. Charles Mokry
Lap leaders: laps 1-14, Fellers–laps 15-20, Ogle
Semi Main: 1. Dustin Carmony 2.
Charles Mokry 3. Scott Pasmore 4. Scott Birdzell 5. Robert Mitchell 6. Rick
Alexander 7. Tony Osuch 8. Trey Deane 9. Dale Janisse 10. Lance Petersen 11.
Judd Hathaway 12. Michael Young 13. Dan Goodman
1st Heat: 1. Kiley Fellers 2. Terry
Palmer 3. Dennis Parks 4. Mark Stroh 5. Dustin Carmony 6. Charles Mokry 7. Dale
Janisse 8. Tony Osuch 9. Michael Young 10. Dan Goodman (Time: 2.05.78)
2nd Heat: 1. Kurt Stults 2. Thomas
Ogle 3. Don Keesler 4. Jim Mattison 5. Judd Hataway 6. Rick Alexander 7. Tony
Osuch 8. Robert Mobley 9. Scott Pasmore
3rd Heat: 1. Jeff Greszler 2.
Brandon George 3. Tim Ogle 4. Danny Mathus 5. Scott Birdzell 6 Brian Shaw 7.
Lance Petersen 8. Robert Mitchell 9. Brent Yarnell
Trophy Dash: 1. Jeff Greszler 2.
Danny Matthus 3. Terry Palmer 4. Thomas Ogle 5. Kurt Stults 6. Charles Mokry