FORD AND KRUSEMAN FINISH ONE-TWO IN
THE WELD WHEELS 360 FEATURE
By Windy McDonald
Phoenix, AZ (November 6) A last lap pass netted Josh Ford the win in the
360 cubic inch sprint car 30 lap feature but Ford was apologetic in the
winner’s circle as he made contact with the leader Cory Kruseman in the final
turn and that netted him the win.
Ford lined up for the 30 lap race on Manzy’s one third mile track in the
second row on the outside of Kruseman with Josh Pelkey, the 1997 Arizona sprint
car champion, and Mike Martin in the front row. Pelkey put the Total Seals
Piston Rings sprinter to the front at the drop of the green but yielded the lead
to Kruseman on the second lap with Martin running in third and Ford in fourth.
Martin spun off the track in turn two while working the fifth lap.
While Kruseman and Ford battled for the lead all eyes were on J.T. Imperial who
had led most of the season finale at Manzy and finished second to Jeremy Sherman
who passed him in the closing laps.
Imperial had sold his Pick-Up to get money for a new engine and was a terror as
he came flying out of the seventh row to the top five. He was running third when
the leaders encountered heavy traffic. A lapped car moved down on the youngster
just before the halfway point of the race and Imperial’s J.R. Tuttle car ran
over the rear wheel of the car and did a series of violent flips down the front
straightaway and off turn one. A dejected driver climbed from the heavily
damaged car and walked away.
Ford made an inside move on Kruseman and took the lead on the eighth lap. He led
until 22 laps had been completed and Kruseman put the Dave Ellis sprinter in
The two leaders ran nose to tail until the final turn of the final lap when Ford
drove it in deep on the inside and pushed into Kruseman who managed to save it
and crossed the line in second. Pelkey ran strong the entire race and was third
at the line ahead of Nathan High who made a late charge to net fourth ahead of
Jerry Coons, Jr. who was subbing for Arizona champion Eric Wilkins who underwent
surgery for a kidney stone Friday evening was fifth.
Mike Leslie was sixth and Charles Davis, Jr. ended his night of hard work as the
hard charger of the race as he came from 22nd to seventh. Davis started the
night lined up in the back row of the “C” main, won that one and then
qualified for the feature with a drive from 18th to fourth in the “B”. Mike
Kirby, Jeremy Sherman and Rickie Gaunt rounded out the top ten.
Jay Ervine started on the pole in the “B” main which took three restarts to
get it officially underway. Ervine beat fellow front row starter Bob Ream, Jr.
into the first turn but five cars tangled coming off turn two with at least one
car flipping. All five cars suffered damage and were unable to recover. Out for
the night were James Aragon, Chris Beal, Larry Neighbors, Larry Lloyd and
A total of ten caution periods plagued the drivers in the “B” and only 13 of
the 24 starters took the checkered flag.
One of the cautions came when Bernie Smith spun on the second restart and
Charles Davis, Jr. slammed into him. Although there was some damage to both cars
they were able to continue. Ervine took the lead on the offical first lap but
soon yielded to Ream who led until the closing laps when he chose a high line on
a yellow flag restart and Erivne shot past.
Ronnie Clark came home in third and Davis made a remarkable drive to take fourth
ahead of Smith and Kelly Dennison who also transferred to the feature.
Fourteen of the scheduled sixteen starters in the “C” main answered the call
and only nine finished. One car had scratched from the “B” main leaving
seven spots to be filled from the “C”.
Davis, who had miserable luck in trying to qualify, started last and showed
patience in driving to the win. Ronnie Case was second, Seainn Henricson third,
Steve Sussex fourth and Ryan Linder fifth. Michael Bryan and Keith Rauch took
the other two “B” main berths while pole sitter Scott Pasmore, Jerry
Johnston, Ashley Corey, Andy Reinbold, Brian Swinehart, Jeff Henry and Rick
Byler called it a night.
NAPA/BUDWEISER WESTERN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
WELD WHEELS 360 SPRINT CARS
1. Josh Ford 2. Cory Kruseman 3. Josh Pelkey 4. Nathan High 5. Jerry Coons, Jr.
6. Mike Leslie 7. Charles Davis, Jr. 8. Mike Kirby 9. Jeremy Sherman 10. Rickie
Gaunt 11. Marty Miller 12. Jay Ervine 13. R.J. Johnson 14. Charlie Fegan 15.
Danny Olmstead 16. Ben Gregg 17. Kelly Dennison 18. Ronnie Clark 19. Ricky
Johnson 20. Willy Grombach 21. J.T. Imperial 22. Bernie Smith 23. Bob Ream, Jr.
24. Mike Martin
Lap leaders: lap 1 Pelkey, laps 2-7 Kruseman, laps 8-22 Ford, laps 23-29
Kruseman, lap 25 Ford
1. Jay Ervine 2. Bob Ream, Jr. 3. Ronnie Clark 4. Charles Davis, Jr. 5. Bernie
Smith 6. Kelly Dennison 7. Davey Bateman 8. Michael Bryan 9. Chuck Buckman 10.
Ronnie Case 11. Bruce St. James 12. Cole Houser 13. Steve Sussex 14. Seainn
Hendricson 15. Terry Shank, Jr. 16. Keith Rauch 17. Terry Belcher 18. Chris
Bonneau 19. Ryan Linder 20. James Aragon 21. Chris Beal 22. Larry Neighbors 23.
Larry Lloyd 24. Brandon Lane
1. Charles Davis, Jr. 2. Ronnie Case 3. Seainn Hendricson 4. Steve Sussex 5.
Ryan Linder 6. Michael Bryan 7. Keith Rauch 8. Scott Pasmore 9. Jerry Johnston
10. Ashley Corey 11. Andy Reinbold 12. Brian Swinehart 13. Jeff Henry 14. Rick