AZ (October 16) ...With one of the
strongest fields of the year on hand for the running of Saturday night’s Buddy
Taylor Memorial race on Manzanita
Speedway’s half mile track, the fans were treated to one of the best Sprint
Car races in recent memories. Thirty-two cars were on hand for the speedfest
featuring the non winged 360
sprints in the Arizona Sprint Car Associtation sanctioned race.
the drop of the green flag until the race was finally decided with a last lap
pass, the fans were on their feet. Davey Bateman surprised the star studded
field when he took the lead on the first lap and held all comers at bay until
Charles Davis, Jr. made a high side pass on both second running Rickie Gaunt and
Bateman for the lead on the 16th lap. Gaunt, Davis’ teammate in
the Tony Smiley/Tony Zorika stable, followed him and the duo who
dominated the Sprint Car Racing Association season started their own private
battle for the win.
it was getting crowded at the front as 2001 Western World champion Jeremy
Sherman and the Arizona Sprint Car Association points leader Eric Wilkins closed
on the leaders. Sherman, who
started fifth, finally worked his way by Gaunt who had won the Non Winged World
Championship series a couple of weeks earlier, and then set his sights on Davis,
runner-up to his team mate in both the NWWC and the SCRA standings.
of the knowledgeable fans knew that Sherman had one of his patented slide jobs
waiting and he used it entering turn one of the final lap. Davis was powerless
to stop it as he had used up his right rear tire and watched Sherman take his
sixth main event of the year.
made a last ditch effort to reclaim the lead as he came off the final turn. He
almost pulled it off but fell short by half a car length. Gaunt finished third
and Wilkins maintained his points lead with only one race remaining on the ASCA
schedule with a strong fourth place finish. Bob Ream, Jr. kept his championship
hopes alive with a fifth place finish and lost only one point to Wilkins.
Rounding out the top ten were the 1997 ASCA champion Josh Pelkey, Nathan
High, Paul Norbury, Brandon Lane and Brian Hacker.
Bateman’s great drive ended on the 20th lap when he popped
his right rear tire and he was credited with an 18th place finish.
Memorial was made even more special than usual with Buddy’s Grandson Jon
Taylor making his first start ever on a half mile track. Jon had come from
behind to win the New Mexico Motor Racing Association championship a week
earlier. It marked the first start on a half mile track and he was fast but gave
the track the respect it deserves and did not qualify for the feature.
well prepared half mile track was a little sloppy in the early going and it put
a premium on passing. However, the track was worked in by the time the third
heat race ran. Ream got things off to a
good start as he won the Arizona Race Mart trophy dash over High, Pelkey and
Bernie Smith. His win took four points off Wilkins’ lead lowering his deficit
to 101 points.
Henry shot from his front row starting berth
and then held off Gaunt to score his first heat race win of the year.
Smith and High trailed the leaders and made the feature with their third and
fourth place finishes. High made a last lap pass on Mike Leslie to get into the
second heat was strictly no contest as Davis worked his way from fourth to first
and then put second running Paul Norbury a full straightaway behind. Seainn
Hendricson was third, just ahead of Brandon Lane.
had the pole for the third heat and lead all eight laps with Bateman taking
second ahead of Hacker and R.J. Johnson.
fourth heat was a preview of things to come as Ream had the pole and Wilkins was
on the inside of the back row. As expected Ream took the win, his 11th
heat victory of the year but all eyes were on Wilkins. He had the Ahearn Rentals
Buckley flying and was second at the line.
picked up another five points and trailed Wilkins by 96 heading into the feature
where Wilkins beat him by one position and increased his lead by ten points. The
two broke almost even on the night with Wilkins taking a 105 point advantage
into the finale on October 23.
Leslie shattered the 12 lap record in winning the semi main. His time of 4:02.95
was far better than the previous record of 4:09.95 that had been held by Chris
BUDDY TAYLOR MEMORIAL (1/2 Mile Track)
Event: 1. Jeremy Sherman 2. Charles Davis, Jr. 3. Rickie Gaunt 4. Eric Wilkins
5. Bob Ream, Jr. 6. Josh Pelkey 7. Nathan High 8. Paul Norbury 9. Brandon Lane
10. Brian Hacker 11. Jeff Henry 12. R. J. Johnson 13. Shon Deskins 14. Bobby
Marcum 15. Mike Martin 16. Chuck Buckman 17. Seainn Henricson 18. Davey Bateman
19. Mike Leslie 20. Bernie Smith
leaders: laps 1-15 Bateman, laps 16-24 Davis, lap 25 Sherman
Heat: 1. Jeff Henry 2. Rickie Gaunt 3. Bernie Smith 4. Nathan High 5. Mike
Leslie 6. Shon Deskins 7. Ricky Johnson 8. Ben Gregg
Heat: 1. Charles Davis, Jr. 2. Paul Norbury 3. Seainn Henricson 4. Brandon Lane
5. Bobby Marcum 6. Jeff McDonald 7. Chris Bonneau 8. Alex Pruett
Heat: 1. Jeremy Sherman 2. Davey Bateman 3. Brian Hacker 4. R.J. Johnson 5.
Chuck Buckman 6. Rick Byler 7. Jerry Johnston 8. Ron Kratz
Heat: 1. Bob Ream, Jr. 2. Eric Wilkins 3. Josh Pelkey 4. Mike Martin 5. Jon
Taylor 6. Andrew Reinbold 7. Brian Swinehart 8. Jay Ervine
Main: 1. Mike Leslie 2. Bobby Marcum 3. Chuck Buckman 4. Shon Deskin 5. Jeff
McDonald 6. Ricky Johnson 7. Chris Bonneau 8. Andrew Reinbold 9. Brian Swinehart
10. Jon Taylor 11. Jerry Johnston 12. Ron Kratz 13. Rick Byler (12 laps; time,
4:02.95 New track record)
Dash: 1. Bob Ream, Jr. 2. Nathan High 3. Josh Pelkey 4. Bernie Smith