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See You At The Races!!!

 Press Release

By Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (October 2) Nathan High and Ed Bebee picked special nights to score their first ever wins in Saturday night’s races at Manzanita Speedway. High’s win came on a night when 37 sprint cars, the largest field for a regular show in at least a decade while Bebee won extra cash posted by Allscapes Landscapping Co. in the J.D. Byriders Dirt Modifieds.

Nathan High found the fast groove when the green flag flew to start Saturday night’s 25 lap Arizona Sprint Car Association feature and shot from fifth to first on the opening lap. He stayed in the groove and scored his first career win as he beat former champions Josh Pelkey (1997) and Marty Miller (2000).

The move on the opening lap was instrumental in Nathan’s first win. “The crew always does a great job and had the car set up to run the bottom. Once I got out front I was not about to move up on the track,” A jubilant driver said in his victory lane interview.

Pelkey, still working for his first win of the year, took a little time in working his way past Mike Leslie, Jeff Henry and Chris Bonneau and was still running behind High and Ricky Johnson past the halfway point of the feature.

All eyes were diverted from the leader as the crowd watched R.J. Johnson and his progress toward the front. The youngster won the semi main to earn the 17th starting position and was the fastest on the track in the feature. He broke into the top ten before eight laps had been completed and methodically, using the low line, picked off the cars one by one.

He took over the third spot from Pelkey on the 15th lap and shot to the inside of the second place car a lap later. That car was driven by his Dad, Ricky. The cars touched coming through turn four and locked together and they came to a stop on the front straightaway. That ended the good run for both but R.J. drove from 19th to ninth in the remaining nine laps and Ricky finished 13th. The incident cost Ricky his fourth spot in the points standings as he switched positions with High.

With the Johnsons tagging the field, Miller took over the third spot. Brain Hacker outdueled Bob Ream, Jr. and Eric Wilkins for the fourth spot. The position changed on almost every lap as Hacker kept it low while Ream and Wilkins were pushing the cushion.

With only three races remaining in the 2004 season the chase for the championship ended the night where it started. Wilkins won his heat race and Ream finished second in his preliminary race. That netted Wilkins a gain of five points and pushed his total margin to 188 points. By finishing a position ahead of Eric, Bobby gained those five point back and the two will enter the October 9th races with Wilkins leading by 183.

Jeff Henry was in the mix for the battle for third as he stayed low on the track and was passed several times by Ream and Wilkins but was always able to reclaim his spot until the two finally dropped him to seventh. Mike Leslie was the hard charger of the race as he came from 18th to eighth. Then came R.J. Johnson and Chuck Buckman.

Buckman got in a lot of laps as he came from the consy to the semi and then made it to the feature with a drive from 11th to fourth in the semi behind Johnson, Leslie and Jeff McDonald

Pelkey won his third heat race of the year when Scott Pasmore had serious motor problems as he took the white flag out front ending his night early. Bonneau, Andrew Reinbold and Brandon Lane qualified for the feature by finishing in the top four.

Ricky Johnson was strong in his win in the second heat as he beat Henry, Ryan Linder and Rick Byler. The third heat was a win for High who lead all eight laps in the Jerry and Susie Pritchett Long Branch Saloon Stewart Chassis for his sixth heat race win of the year. Ream, after starting fifth, was second followed by Miller and Davey Bateman.

The fourth heat had the fans on their feet as Wilkins started last in the nine car field and sped to the front with the left front tire seldom touching the clay. He got to second and went to work on rookie driver Steve Sandrolini who was trying for his first win of any kind. With Wilkins applying the pressure the rookie slipped wide in the final turn and Wilkins three wheeled the Ahearn Equipment Buckley to the checkered flag. Sandrolini recovered for a second place finish ahead of Hacker and Bernie Smith.

Brian Hacker was slated to start third in the four car trophy dash but got the pole when Dan Olmstead was called for jumping the green flag and was put to the rear. That was all the advantage Hacker needed to bring his Dura Plumbing sprinter home first for his second trophy dash win of the year.

J.T. Imperial did several end over end flips in the fourth heat and Jay Ervine did a slow roll in the semi. Ervine rejoined the field after inspecting his car but Imperial, although not injured, was through for the night.



Main Event:
1. Nathan High 2. Josh Pelkey 3. Marty Miller 4. Brian Hacker 5. Bob Ream, Jr. 6. Eric Wilkins 7. Jeff Henry 8. Mike Leslie 9. R.J. Johnson 10. Chris Bonneau 11. Chuck Buckman 12. Ryan Linder 13. Ricky Johnson 14. Bernie Smith 15. Brandon Lane 16. Jeff McDonald 17. Davey Bateman 18. Rick Byler 19. Steve Sandrolini 20. Andrew Reinbold

Lap leaders: laps 1-25 High

1st Heat:
1. Josh Pelkey 2. Chris Bonneau 3. Andrew Reinbold 4. Brandon Lane 5. Willy Grombach 6. R.J. Johnson 7. Art Garcia 8. Chris McArthur 9. Scott Pasmore

2nd Heat:
1. Ricky Johnson 2. Jeff Henry 3. Ryan Linder 4. Rick Byler 5. Jay Ervine 6. Mike Leslie 7. Michael Bryan 8. Lonnie Sherman

3rd Heat:
1. Nathan High 2. Bob Ream, Jr. 3. Marty Miller 4. Davey Bateman 5. Ashley Corey 6. John Williams 7. Dan Olmstead (DNS-James Aragon, Seainn Hendricson)

4th Heat:
1. Eric Wilkins 2. Steve Sandrolini 3. Brian Hacker 4. Bernie Smith 5. Ben Gregg 6. Terry Belcher 7. Jeff McDonald 8. J.T. Imperial 9. Chuck Buckman

Semi Main:
1. R.J. Johnson 2. Mike Leslie 3. Jeff McDonald 4. Chuck Buckman 5. Jay Ervine 6. Willy Grombach 7. Michael Bryan 8. Ashley Corey 9. Terry Belcher 10. Dan Olmstead 11. Ben Gregg 12. Art Garcia 13. John Williams 14. Jesse Dunham 15. Chris McArthur 16. James Aragon

Consolation Race:
1. Chuck Buckman 2. Lonnie Sherman 3. Chris McArthur 4. Jesse Dunham 5. Seainn Hendricson 6. James Aragon

Trophy Dash:
1. Brian Hacker 2. Nathan High 3. Bernie Smith 4. Dan Olmstead


Eric Wilkins 3886
Bob Ream, Jr. 3703
R.J. Johnson 3227
Nathan High 2988
Ricky Johnson 2919
Josh Pelkey 2598
Jeff Henry 2598
Marty Miller 2325
Bernie Smith 2318
Chuck Buckman 2318







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