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 Press Release

Kirby beats Sherman in Hall of Fame Vintage Classic at Manzanita
by Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (Sept. 25) Although Mike Kirby has had great success at Manzanita Speedway, his win in Saturday night’s 5th Annual Hall of Fame Vintage Classic could rate as an upset considering he beat local ace Jeremy Sherman. Sherman has been dominant in the past and was driving the car that won last year’s Hall of Fame Classic.

Sherman made a great charge from his fourth row starting berth but the night belonged to Kirby who needed the win to retain his second spot in the USAC/CRA points chase. He entered the night only two points up on Damion Gardner but got a little breathing room as Gardner finished third.

Charles Davis, Jr., winner of the 2003 Classic, jumped to the lead at the drop of the green and pulled away from the field in his Extreme Chassis, Tony Smiley owned machine. Kirby, who started fourth, slipped past Bobby Cody and slowly closed on Davis. He made a daring pass to lead the 11th lap but Davis was back in front the next time around.

Davis fell off the pace and Kirby put the Glen Crossno TCR back in front on the 14th lap.

The only yellow flag of the night came after 16 laps had been completed when points leader Rip Williams blew a right rear while running fourth. Under the caution Davis and Bob Ream, Jr. joined Williams in the pits to replace tires that were losing air pressure.

When the green flew to restart the race, Kirby had two lapped cars separating him from Sherman. He quickly built his lead to just over a second and then stretched it to 2.38 until he encountered heavy traffic in the closing laps.

Kirby was held up briefly and Sherman cut the lead to 1.28 seconds but then the same traffic slowed his move to the front. Kirby was 2.57 seconds in front when he took the checkered flag ending the 30 lap affair.

Rickie Gaunt, up from sixth, finished fourth and Troy Rutherford drove out of the fifth row to finish fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Mike Spencer, Williams, Ream, Davis and Nathan High.

The six event card was accident free as the fast track provided the 34 car field a chance to display the talent expected from the USAC/CRA drivers.

The night started off with Sherman taking fast time honors at 18.944 just a tick of the clock faster than Steve Ostling’s 19.971. A total of 22 drivers qualified less than a second slower than Sherman’s fast time lap.

The top four cars from each heat earned spots in the feature and then the fastest eight drivers started the feature inverted.

For local drivers made the feature in the first heat. Davis and Ream started in the third row in the first ten lap heat and Davis took a narrow win over Ream with Sherman, who started eighth, taking third and the final transfer position went to pole sitter Mike Leslie.

The second heat saw Kevin Urton jump to the front at the green flag. He then held off Darren Hagen, Bobby Cody and Greg Bragg.

Rick Ziehl started third in the third heat but had the lead when the cars came off the second turn of the opening lap. He was still in front at the finish line with Nathan High, making his first USAC/CRA start, taking second after starting fifth. Rip Williams came out of the back row to nail down third just ahead of Damion Gardner who started beside him.

Kirby gave an indication of things to come with a strong run from seventh to first in the final heat. Keith Williamson led the first six laps before Kirby, the 1993 CRA champion, took command. Williamson was second, Gaunt third and Brandon Lane fourth.

The 12 lap semi gave four more drivers positions in the feature. Steve Ostling made it a no contest affair with a wire to wire win over fellow front row starter Troy Rutherford, Brian Venard and Mike Spencer.

Five members of the motorsports fraternity were inducted into the Arizona Motorsports Hall of Fame just before the feature. Late Model Stock Car aces Carl Trimmer and Dick Moeller were joined by many time Motorcycle champion Jon Sellers. Alvin Clark and Jimmy Blanton were inducted for their long time outstanding contribution to the sport.

A field of over 20 Vintage cars put on four exhibition races and had other cars on display.

The USAC/CRA field will be joined by the USAC National championship drivers in the upcoming Budweiser/NAPA Western World Championships November 4-6 on Manzy’s half mile track. A large field of 360 c.i. sprint cars will also be part of the Western with their races contested on the one third mile track.


Fast Time: Jeremy Sherman, 18.944 (95.016 m.p.h.)

1st Heat: 1. Charles Davis, Jr. 2. Bob Ream, Jr. 3. Jeremy Sherman 4. Mike Leslie 5. Troy Rutherford 6. Justin Fisher 7. Alex Pruett 8. Bugs Norbury 9. Nadine Keller (10 laps, Time: 3:19.42)

2nd Heat: 1. Kevin Urton 2. Darren Hagen 3. Bobby Cody 4. Greg Bragg 5. Mike Spencer 6. Seth Wilson 7. Jeff Henry 8. Steve Ostling (10 laps, Time: 3:24.00)

3rd Heat: 1. Rick Ziehl 2. Nathan High 3. Rip Williams 4. Damion Gardner 5. Brian Venard 6. R.J. Johnson 7. Bruce St. James 8. Jeff Slinkard (10 laps, Time: 3:21.52)

4th Heat: 1. Mike Kirby 2. Keith Williamson 3. Rickie Gaunt 4. Brandon Lane 5. David Cardey 6. Ronnie Clark 7. Paul Norbury 8. Matthew Rossi (10 laps, Time: 3:23.51)

Semi Main: 1. Steve Ostling 2. Troy Rutherford 3. Brian Venard 4. Mike Spencer 5. Ronnie Clark 6. David Cardey 7. R.J. Johnson 8. Jeff Slinkard 9. Justin Fisher 10. Seth Wilson 11. Jeff Henry 12. Paul Norbury 13. Bruce St. James 14. Nadine Keller 15. Bugs Norbury (12 laps, Time: 4:13.61)

Main Event: 1. Mike Kirby 2. Jeremy Sherman 3. Damion Gardner 4. Rickie Gaunt 5. Troy Rutherford 6. Mike Spencer 7. Rip Williams 8. Bob Ream, Jr. 9. Charles Davis, Jr. 10. Nathan High 11. Brian Venard 12. Rick Ziehl 13. Greg Bragg 14. Kevin Urton 15. Bobby Cody 16. Keith Williamson 17. Steve Ostling 18. Brandon Lane 19. Darren Hagen 20. Mike Leslie (30 laps, no time)






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