AZ (May 8) Cory Kruseman ended a busy weekend standing in Manzanita
Speeway’s winner’s circle Saturday night. Kruseman finished second in a USAC
National Sprint Car race in Memphis, TN Friday night, hopped a plane to Phoenix
and then won a thriller over Mike Kirby in the USAC/CRA feature race on
Manzy’s half mile track. The former California champion who drives the
National series in a car owned by
NASCAR ace Tony Stewart, started the evening by setting fast time and then
started eighth in the 30 lap main event. It took him 23 laps to make it to the
front in the Mark Alexander sprinter and then he pulled away to a 1.94 second
advantage at the checkered flag.
eyes were at the front of the 20 car field from the time the green flag flew as
Rip Williams, the USAC/CRA points leader, beat Bobby Cody into the first turn
with Kirby who started just behind him quickly into second.
“The Ripper” kept the Sharon Jory car in front for seven laps before
Kirby took over.
trying for his 11th win at Manzanita, had the Crossno sprinter dialed
in and left it to the rest of the field to battle for second. He had a
comfortable lead over Charles Davis, Jr. when the first yellow flag flew on the
17th lap when Williams blew a right rear tire and stopped. His crew
managed a tire change before the green flag came out for the restart and he
eventually worked his way back to a top ten finish.
On the restart it was Kirby, who had one lapped car between him and
Davis, and then Kruseman and Steve Ostling. Two laps later the race was red
flagged when Rickie Gaunt caught the turn one wall and rolled. He was then hit
by Rick Ziehl’s car but neither driver was injured.
Kruseman dropped Davis to third a lap later and then began working on
Kirby. He finally found a passing groove and had the lead when the 23rd
lap was completed and started pulling away. Despite traffic in the closing laps
he was not seriously challenged on his way to his second USAC/CRA win of the
Ostling, who started alongside the winner, drove the Harlan Willis car to
a third place finish with Davis garnering fourth ahead of Troy Rutherford. Local
driver Jeremy Sherman drove from 11th to sixth and Eric Wilkins
earned passing honors in coming from 15th to seventh.
Williams, Brian Venard and Mike Spencer filled out the top ten.
Venard was the first car out for qualifying and set the standard for the
rest of the field as he turned a 19.607 lap on a heavy track. It stood up as
fast time until late in qualifying and Kruseman, the 22nd driver out,
clicked of his 19.436 that barely edged Ostling who later tripped the clock at
The first three heat races were run without incident as Cody beat
Williams, David Cardey and Kruseman in the first ten lapper; Wilkins took the
measure of Damion Gardner, Ostling and Spencer and then Kirby won over
Rutherford, Greg Bragg and Jeff Slinkard in the third heat.
The fourth heat was marred by the night’s most serious accident when
Tony Jones drove deep into turn three on the first lap and made contact with Bob
Ream, Jr. sending both cars flipping with Jones almost going over the fence.
Both drivers quickly climbed from their cars but two of the expected front
runners were out for the night. Davis took the final heat over Mike Leslie,
Bobby Cody and Robert Hall. Venard won the semi over Gaunt, Sherman and Josh Ford as they transferred
to the 30 lap feature.
Event: 1. Cory Kruseman 2. Mike Kirby 3. Steve Ostling 4. Charles Davis, Jr. 5.
Troy Rutherford 6. Jeremy Sherman 7. Eric Wilkins 8. Rip Williams 9. Brian
Venard 10. Mike Spencer 11. Damion Gardner 12. Bobby Cody 13. Josh Ford 14. Greg
Bragg 15. Jeff Slinkard 16. Robert Hall 17. David Cardey 18. Rickie Gaunt 19.
Rick Ziehl 20. Mike Leslie
leaders: laps 1-7 Williams, laps 8-22 Kirby, laps 23-30 Kruseman
Heat: 1. Bobby Cody 2. Rip Williams 3. David Cardey 4. Cory Kruseman 5. Rickie
Gaunt 6. Jeremy Sherman 7. Matthew Rossi
Heat: 1. Eric Wilkins 2. Damion Gardner 3. Steve Ostling 4. Mike Spencer 5. Josh
Ford 6. Keith Williamson 7. Bruce
Heat: 1. Mike Kirby 2. Troy
Rutherford 3. Greg Bragg 4. Jeff Slinkard 5. Brian Venard 6. Ronnie Case 7. R.J.
Heat: 1. Charles Davis, Jr. 2. Mike Leslie 3. Bobby Cody 4. Robert Hall 5.
Nadine Keller 6. Tony Jones 7. Bob Ream, Jr.
Main: 1. Brian Venard 2. Rickie Gaunt 3. Jeremy Sherman 4. Josh Ford 5. Keith
Williamson 6. Matthew Rossi 7. Ronnie Case 8. R.J. Johnson 9. Nadine Keller 10.
Bruce St. James