AZ (April 10) When Marty Miller
flipped wildly into turn one in the April 5, 2003 Sprint Car main event on
Manzanita Speedway’s half mile track, it was the end of his season and many
feared also the end of his career. Miller,
who was seeking a third straight win, had several injuries including vision
problems and did not return. It was not until well after the 2003 season ended
that, after talking with his family, car owner and sponsors that he decided to
try again. He did defer to his family’s wishes and bypassed the season opener
on the half mile track and will probably skip all such races.
made his first start in the March 13th outing and failed to qualify
for the feature. He got the feel of the Bill Sweeney car two weeks later and
finished eighth. He let his presence be known early Saturday night when he
finished second to Eric Wilkins in the first eight lap heat race. He
showed the patience and skill that carried him to the 2000 driving title as he
came out of the third row to win the 25 lap feature on Manzy’s one third mile
track. The wind swept track
put passing at a premium and Miller was up to the task. He took his time and did
not find a way to get to the front until the closing laps as Chuck Buckman
turned in his best drive since winning the July 12, 2002 main event.
who started third, wrested the lead from Ashley Corey on the fifth lap and had
to wait out two red flags immediately after moving out front. Wilkins and Ryan
Linder got together as they worked the sixth lap and both cars rolled. Neither
driver was injured but the night ended early for both. On the restart Charles
Davis, who was far back in the field after starting 17th, got upside
down at the green flag, ending his night.
went back to work with Miller in hot pursuit. The two were nose to tail until
Miller got the message from the flagman that only five laps remained. He showed
his championship form as he made a pass for the lead on the 22nd lap
and pulled away to a three car length advantage at the checkered flag.
High, after flipping hard in the March 27 race put together 25 good laps and
finished third. Points leader Bob Ream, Jr., winner of two of the three previous
races, finished fourth and increased his points lead dramatically with Davis and
Wilkins, his closest pursuers both failing to finish. Josh Pelkey took fifth
with Bugs Norbury, Joey Moriarity, Corey, Ricky Johnson and Willy Grombach
rounding out the top ten. As his crew celebrated behind him Miller thanked his
owner and sponsors for having faith in his ability to regain the form that had
made him a champion and expressed his belief that more wins would follow.
started off the evening in good fashion with a win over Ream, Miller and Buckman
in the Arizona Race Mart trophy dash but ran into problems on the first lap of
his heat race when he made a quick move from his fourth starting berth but ran
out of room, crossed up and was involved in minor contact that sent him to the
pits. He rejoined the field at the back of the pack and failed to transfer to
the feature. He won the 12 lap semi which put him 17th in the
starting grid. Davis entered the
race only 16 points out of the lead but his 18th place finish dropped
him 110 points in arrears. Wilkins maintained his third place standings but is
now 140 points behind Ream.
addition to Wilkins, Ream, Jay Ervine and Buckman scored heat race wins.
Behind Wilkins and Miller in the first heat were Grombach, making his
first start of the year, and Ricky Johnson. Ream’s win came at the expense of
Corey, Norbury and Bernie Smith. Ervine won a race long battle with High to get
the third heat win. Andy Reinbold and Moriarity earned the other main event
positions. Buckman used his pole position to good advantage as he beat Linder,
Pelkey and Mike Martin in the final heat. Behind
Davis in the semi were Jeff Henry, Jeff Slinkard and R. J. Johnson who made a
great pass in the final turn to take the fourth spot away from Ben Gregg.
SPRINT CAR ASSOCIATION
1. Marty Miller 2. Chuck Buckman 3. Nathan High 4. Bob Ream, Jr. 5. Josh Pelkey
6. Bugs Norbury 7. Joey Moriarity 8. Ashley Corey 9. Ricky Johnson 10. Willy
Grombach 11. Jay Ervine 12. Mike Martin 13. Jeff Henry 14. Jeff Slinkard 15.
R.J. Johnson 16. Andy Reinbold 17. Bernie Smith 18. Charles Davis, Jr. 19. Eric
Wilkins 20. Ryan Linder
Leaders: laps 1-4 Corey, laps 5-21 Buckman, laps 22-25 Miller
1. Charles Davis, Jr. 2. Jeff Henry 3. Jeff Slinkard 4. R.J. Johnson 5. Ben
Gregg 6. Michael Bryan 7. Paul Norbury 8. Bruce St. James 9. Kelly Dennison 10.
Scott Pasmore 11. Seainn Hendricson 12. James Aragon 13. Mikey Kuemper 14. Chris
Bonneay 15. Chris McArthur
1. Eric Wilkins 2. Marty Miller 3. Willy Grombach 4. Ricky Johnson 5. Jeff Henry
6. Bruce St. James 7. Scott Pasmore 8. Chris McArthur
1. Bob Ream, Jr. 2. Ashley Corey 3. Bugs Norbury 4. Bernie Smith 5. Ben Gregg 6.
Seainn Hendricson 7. James Aragon 8. Dave Colegrove
1. Jay Ervine 2. Nathan High 3. Andy Reinbold 4. Joey Moriarity 5. Michael Bryan
6. Jeff Slinkard 7. Kelly Dennison 8. Paul Norbury
1. Chuck Buckman 2. Ryan Linder 3. Josh Pelkey 4. Mike Martin 5. Charles Davis,
Jr. 6. R.J. Johnson 7. Mikey Kuemper 8. Chris Bonneau
1. Charles Davis, Jr. 2. Bob Ream, Jr. 3. Marty Miller 4. Chuck Buckman
Bob Ream, Jr.
Charles Davis, Jr.