a successful pre-season schedule now in the books Manzanita Speedway looks
forward to the regular season which
begins Saturday night, March 6th.
Keith Hall has taken a page out of the past as he has both Sprint Cars
and Late Model Stock Cars in his season opener with both classes running on the
half mile track. That combination
proved to be the most successful of the season openers in the early nineties and
with the showing by both the sprints and stocks last year, combined with the
popularity of the half mile track and the first race of its kind in years, Hall
is expecting both a full pit area and a full grandstand.
2004 season poses several questions and one race will not provide the answers.
For instance, can perennial champions Ricky Johnson and Wayne Noyes add to their
Johnson holds the record for most Sprint Car championships, six, at
Manzanita and also for the most championships at his home track, eight. In
addition to his Sprint Car titles, Johnson also has one in Midgets and one in
Dirt Modifieds. Noyes won his eighth Southwest Dirt Modified title last year
which is a record that may never be equaled.
question being asked is will Eric Wilkins be able to go out a winner. The former
Midget champion and the 2002 Sprint Cars titlist has declared that he will be
hanging up his driving suit following this year and will concentrate on his
family and help his children with their racing.
former champions Bob Ream, Jr. and Josh Pelkey return to their glory days. Josh
battled Johnson down to the final checkered flag last year but fell short of
getting a companion championship trophy to match the one he took home in 1997
when he won 12 feature races. Ream
is in the longest drought of his career. He has not won a main event since July
3, 2002. He has also been in two
horrific accidents during that stretch.
Marty Miller return from injuries to again be serious threat. Marty, the 2000
champion won the first two races of the 2003 season and then suffered serious
injuries in the first race on the half mile track last year. Those injuries
forced him out of the season.
anyone offer a serious challenge to Noyes in the Late Models? That question may
be answered Saturday night. The field appears to be strong with Adam Crippen,
Mike Tathanen, Randy Burrows and a full field of others offering up the
competition. There is a possibility
that Noyes will also be facing Terry Belcher, generally regarded as the best
Phoenix stock car driver of all time. Car owner Dick Reid has indicated that he
may have the car ready to go. Terry
Belcher, Jr. is also hopeful of being ready for the season opener.
Ward, a four time Dirt Modified champion bought a car last year and is expected
to be a contender in the 2004 season.
time for the half mile track doubleheader is set for 7:30 P.M.