REAM MAKES EARLY MOVE TO
TAKE HIS FIFTH WIN OF THE SEASON
By Windy McDonald
Phoenix, AZ (July 17)Bob Ream, Jr. and Kenny Hatfield took different paths to
their wins in Saturday nights doubleheader at Manzanita Speedway. Ream found the
low groove to his liking in winning the Sprint Car feature while Hatfield was
pushing the cushion in winning the Dirt Modified main event.
Bob Ream, Jr. became the first Arizona Sprint Car Association five time winner
as he held off Josh Pelkey in the final laps in Saturday night’s 25 lap
feature race on Manzanita Speedway’s one third mile track.
Ream, the 1998 champion and current points leader, made a quick move to the lead
as he came from his fourth row starting position to lead the final 23 laps.
The expected battle between Ream and the 2002 champion Eric Wilkins failed to
materialize when Wilkins, who started alongside Ream, jumped the cushion after
moving into second on the fourth lap. He spun out and restarted at the tail end
of the 20 car field and drove his way back to fifth at the checkered flag.
Ream put his B&R Automotive Buckley on the low side of the one third mile
track at the drop of the green and had the lead before the first lap was
completed. However a restart for a spinout put him back in seventh. On the
restart the field in front of him knew what to expect and he could only make it
to third by the end of the first official lap.
“The Bullet” stayed low and took the lead from Bernie Smith as they started
the third lap with Wilkins pushing the cushion and moving to second as they
worked lap four. “The Whiz Kid” got a little too high in turn three and slid
off the track which effectively ended his threat.
Ream’s win coupled with Wilkins’ fifth place finish padded Bobby’s points
lead. He entered the night 154 points up on Eric but will carry a 200 point edge
into the July 24 running of the Hank Arnold Memorial which will be contested on
the half mile track.
Pelkey dogged Ream’s every move in the final laps and was still on his rear
bumper at the finish line. Seventeen year old R.J. Johnson, ranked third in
points, was third at the line with Mike Martin making another great drive as he
came from 13th to edge Wilkins at the checkered flag.
While the rest of the field were choosing their line Wilkins found a faster way
as he headed to the front after his spin. He diamonded the track in turns one
and two and then ran either high or low at the other end. He entered turn one
high and then shot to the bottom in turn two and that is where he did his most
Behind the top five were midget ace Bobby Boone, making only his second sprint
car start as he subbed for Jeff Slinkard in the Stewart Racing Products car, Ben
Gregg, Ryan Linder, Jeff Henry and Bruce St. James.
Henry was the hard charger of the race after starting 19th. Linder’s eighth
place finish was his first top ten of the year.
R.J. Johnson led all eight laps in the first heat race but Pelkey was the show
as he brought the Total Seals sprint home in second after starting seventh.
Brian Swinehart and Martin also earned main event berths.
The second heat marked the first win ever for James Aragon as he beat Bernie
Smith, St. James and Chris Bonneau. The third heat went to Nathan High who was
better than Ream, Marty Miller and Gregg. High was running second in the feature
when he blew a rear-end in the Longbranch Saloon sponsored Stewart.
The fourth heat marked the second straight win for former Dwarf Car driver Willy
Grombach who also had tough luck in the feature as he rolled his car on the
fifth lap. The rest of the main event qualifiers were Wilkins, Boone and Linder.
Davey Bateman, subbing for Chuck Buckman, led Paul Norbury, Henry and Ricky
Johnson to the finish line in the semi.
Wilkins won his fourth Arizona Race Mart trophy dash of the year as he came from
fourth to beat Andrew Reinbold, Grombach and Henry.
ARIZONA SPRINT CAR ASSOCIATION.
Main Event: 1. Bob Ream, Jr. 2. Josh Pelkey 3. R.J. Johnson 4. Mike Martin 5.
Eric Wilkins 6. Bobby Boone 7. Ben Gregg 8. Ryan Linder 9. Jeff Henry 10. Bruce
St. James 11. Davey Bateman 12. Ricky Johnson 13. Chris Bonneau 14. Brian
Swinehart 15. Bernie Smith 16. Paul Norbury 17. Nathan High 18. Marty Miller 19.
Willy Grombach 20. James Aragon
Lap leaders: laps 1-2 Smith, laps 3-25 Ream
1st Heat: 1. R.J. Johnson 2. Josh Pelkey 3. Brian Swinehart 4. Mike Martin 5.
Davey Bateman 6. Scott Pasmore 7. Michael Bryan 8. Andrew Reinbold
2nd Heat: 1. James Aragon 2. Bernie Smith 3. Bruce St. James 4. Chris Bonneau 5.
Steve Sussex, Jr. 6. Bugs Norbury 7. Ashley Corey
3rd Heat: 1. Nathan High 2. Bob Ream, Jr. 3. Marty Miller 4. Ben Gregg 5. Ricky
Johnson 6. Paul Norbury 7. Travis Cooley
4th Heat: 1. Willy Grombach 2. Eric Wilkins 3. Bobby Boone 4. Ryan Linder 5.
Jeff Henry 6. Chris McArthur 7. Jeremy Sherman
Semi Main: 1. Davey Bateman 2. Paul Norbury 3. Jeff Henry 4. Ricky Johnson 5.
Bugs Norbury 6. Scott Pasmore 7. Michael Bryan 8. Ashley Corey 9. Chris McArthur
10. Travis Cooley 11. Steve Sussex, Jr. 12. Andrew Reinbold
Trophy Dash: 1. Eric Wilkins 2. Andrew Reinbold 3. Willy Grombach 4. Jeff Henry
UNOFFIICAL ASCA POINTS
Bob Ream, Jr. 2750
Eric Wilkins 2550
R.J. Johnson 2273
Ricky Johnson 1956
Nathan High 1714
Chuck Buckman 1707
Marty Miller 1656
Jeff Henry 1626
Josh Pelkey 1617
Bernie Smith 1447