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 Press Release

Firecracker 50 headlines weekend races at Manzanita Speedway
By Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (June 29) The running of the Firecracker 50 headlines the holiday championships at Manzanita Speedway. The Arizona Sprint Car Association will stage their second of only two fifty lap races of the year on Manzyís one third mile track Saturday night and Manzy officials have planned one of their biggest fireworks shows ever during intermission.


The Friday night card has Factory Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Bombers sharing the short track.


Eric Wilkins, the hottest driver on the circuit this year, will be gunning for his third straight 50 lap race win. He captured the Firecracker 50 last year and won the Arizona Race Mart/Sunoco Salute to Indy May 29th.


Wilkins has had a phenomenal year thus far in what has been announced as his final season. He has failed to finish only one race and missed one event to take his annual  working vacation. He was the second car out of the feature on April 10 which placed him 19th in the finishing order. He won the next race on the circuit but was absent when the ASCA ran on April 24.  When he returned for the May 1st race he was 261 points behind the 1998 champion Bob Ream, Jr. He fell further behind in that outing as Ream won and he was second.


Since then he has steadily chewed into Reamís lead and despite missing that one race he now has a legitimate shot at taking his second driving title. He has scored two  wins, placed third once and also recorded an ninth  place finish since the May 1st outing and has cut Reamís lead in half. He trails by only 132 points heading into the Saturday night race with ten other races remaining on the schedule.


Should he fail to take the title he can go out with a smile on his face as the Wooldrige/Hempleman Buckley has been nearly perfect. His overall ASCA record shows three wins, three seconds and three thirds to go with a ninth and his DNF. He has also won seven heats, second only to the eight won by Ream, and has won two trophy dashes.


Wilkins has also had moderate success in the three USAC/CRA races on Manzyís half mile track. He was 4th on March 19th and was running third the following night when he had a fuel problem which forced him out of the race. He was eighth in the May 8th outing.


The Saturday night Arizona Race Mart trophy dash could well be worth the price of admission as three former champions and one of the prime candidates for most improved driver will be hooking up in the four lap race. Ben Gregg will be starting on the pole with Wilkins on the outside. The back row will be Ream and the 2000 champion Marty Miller. All  have scored trophy dash wins this year.


The factory stocks will be using their Friday night outing to tune up for the Summer Nationals July 9-10.  Former two time champion Anthony Madrid, the only multiple winner in the division, has sold his car making it a wide open affair the rest of the year.  While Madrid has scored three wins, Terry Mumaugh, Larry Price, Reeve Staley, Tony Steele, Ricky Thornton and Paul Arseneau have each driven into the winnerís circle.


Price, the 2000 driving champion holds a precarious 23 point lead over Mumaugh  and Arseneau, the latest winner. Thornton has climbed to within 48 points of the lead.


Tony Martin is on a tear in the Desert Dwarf Cars and will be seeking his fourth win since coming back to the division where he won two driving titles. Travis Seals is the only other driver with more than one win at Manzy.


Casey Cain holds a 116 point lead over Sandy Matthews as he tries to join his father and brother in getting his name on a championship trophy.


Sheila McCurdy saw her win streak broken last week when Omar Coury, making only his second start, took an easy win in the bomber stock car feature. Sheila hopes to get her sixth win of the year Friday night.


The Sunday night card has been cancelled to allow the Super Stocks and Claimers more time to get ready for the Nationals.






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