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See You At The Races!!!

Press Release

by Windy McDonald
Phoenix, AZ (July 2) With a near capacity crowd cheering him on, Matt Rossi held off all challengers to score his first ever Sprint Car win in Saturday night’s Firecracker 50 at Manzanita Speedway and Mike Leslie takes Midget main event.

Racing under less than ideal conditions 19 year old Matt Rossi passed Jeremy Sherman on the 32nd lap and stayed in front for the final 18 laps as some of the challengers fell victim to blown tires caused by the hard slick track which was attributed to allowing time trials which started under a blazing sun and wore the track out almost before competitive action got underway.

Marty Miller, the 2000 driving champion, shot from third to first on the initial lap and kept the Bill Sweeney entry in front for eight laps but was smoking the tires almost all the way around Manzy’s one third mile track.

Jeremy Sherman, seeking his ninth win of the year, wrested the lead from Miller on the ninth lap and withstood several caution flags including one for Miller who popped a tire.

Rossi, who started in the fourth position applied pressure to Sherman and both had smoke rolling off their rear tires. Matt, who had won a Midget race in 2001 at the age of 14, was driving with abandon, obviously punishing his tires but determined to get to the front.

He found an opening on the bottom of the track on the 32nd lap and shot past Sherman. He slid wide and Sherman tried a cut back move but Rossi held on to the lead.

It was evident that Sherman had worn out his right rear and he dropped all the way to fifth before finally blowing it on the 42nd lap. That caused a yellow and Sherman headed to the pits. As the green flag was waved he left the pits and so did the push truck causing a quick yellow. The Arizona Sprint Car Association conferred and it was determined that an official had told Sherman not to leave the pit area. He was subsequently black flagged.

Chris Bonneau had a great drive going as he moved into the top five but fell victim to a blown tire. He went to the pits but was guilty of leaving the pits when the green was waving and he, too, was disqualified.

Nathan High had made his way from the sixth row to challenge Rossi and Josh Pelkey was stalking the leaders. High made repeated tries for the lead but Rossi was flawless. With only two laps remaining High fell victim to tire wear and blew the right rear. That set up a two lap charge to the finish with Rossi holding off Pelkey and the celebration began.

As Rossi started a well deserved victory lap, his right rear let go as he entered turn one. Had the race gone one lap more he would have joined the 10 cars that did not finish the long grind.

Two weeks earlier Jeff Henry drove from 17th to finish second in the feature. He matched that with a drive from 19th to third just behind Pelkey. Jay Ervine had a great run as he came from 18th to finish fourth. Chris Edwards, who had earlier finished fifth in the Midget feature matched that in the Sprint main.

Rounding out the top ten were rookie driver Tom Ogle, Mike Martin, Brian Hacker, Shon Deskins and Seainn Hendricsen.

Rossi came out of the third row to win his fourth heat race of the year as he beat Pelkey, up from eighth, Edwards and Andy Reinbold. The second heat was won by Sherman who drove from sixth to get his tenth heat win of the year. Also earning berths in the feature were Miller, up from seventh, High and Hendricsen.

The third heat went to Ogle who lead all eight laps in beating Bobby Boone, Mike Leslie and Deskins. Bernie Smith took the measure of Hacker, Bonneau and Ben Gregg in the final heat.

Martin earned an ninth row starting berth in the feature with a win over Ervine, Henry and Jesse Dunham in the 12 lap semi.

Although the time trials resulted in a worn out track, they did provide some drama. Sherman, a late qualifier, broke the one lap record of 14. 893 that was set by Pelkey on March 12 as he lowered the standard to 14.804. Pelkey hit the track a few minutes later and reclaimed the record with a clocking of 14.766.

A promised brilliant fireworks show more than lived up to expectations and led to the best crowd of the year for an Arizona Sprint Car outing.



Main Event (50 Laps) 1. Matt Rossi 2. Josh Pelkey 3. Jeff Henry 4. Jay Ervine 5. Chris Edwards 6. Thomas Ogle 7. Mike Martin 8. Brian Hacker 9. Shon Deskins 10. Seainn Hendricsen 11. Nathan High 12. Bernie Smith 13. Chris Bonneau 14. Jeremy Sherman 15. Jesse Dunham 16. Ben Gregg 17. Andy Reinbold 18. Mike Leslie 19. Marty Miller 20. Bobby Boone

Lap leaders: laps 1-8 Miller, laps 9-31 Sherman, laps 32-50 Rossi

1st Heat (8 laps) 1. Matt Rossi 2. Josh Pelkey 3. Chris Edwards 4. Andy Reinbold 5. Jeff Henry 6. Michael Bryan 7. Steve Sandrolini 8. Mike Harris

2nd Heat (8 laps) 1. Jeremy Sherman 2. Marty Miller 3. Nathan High 4. Seainn Hedricsen 5. Jay Ervine 6. Chris McArthur 7. Trey Deane 8. Don Keesler

3rd Heat (8 laps) 1. Tom Ogle 2. Mike Leslie 3. Bobby Boone 4. Shon Deskins 5. Mike Martin 6. Cole Houser 7. Jesse Dunham 8. Bruce St. James

4th Heat (8 laps) 1. Bernie Smith 2. Brian Hacker 3. Chris Bonneau 4. Ben Gregg 5. Scott Pasmore 6. Ashley Corey 7. Brian Swinehart 8. Johnny Williams, Jr.

Semi Main (12 laps) 1. Mike Martin 2. Jay Ervine 3. Jeff Henry 4. Jesse Dunham 5. Trey Deane 6. Bruce St. James 7. Chris McArthur 8. Steve Sandrolini 9. Michael Bryan 10. Brian Swinehart 11. Johnny Williams, Jr. 12. Scott Pasmore 13. Mike Harris 14. Ashley Corey 15. Don Keesler

Arizona Race Mart Trophy Dash: (4 laps) 1. Jeremy Sherman 2. Josh Pelkey 3. Bobby Boone 4. Ben Gregg

Qualifying: Josh Pelkey 14.766 (new one lap record) 2. Jeremy Sherman 14.804 3. Bobby Boone 14.936 4. Ben Gregg 14.964 5. Matt Rossi 14.977 6. Marty Miller 15.026 7. Mike Martin 15.072 8. Brian Hacker 15.081 9. Jeff Henry 15.126 10. Seainn Hendricsen 15.138 11. Cole Houser 15.244 12. Chris Bonneau 15.270 13. Andy Reinbold 15.333 14. Nathan High 15.347 15 Jesse Dunham 15.398 16. Bernie Smith 15.411 17. Steve Sandrolini 15.492 18. Trey Deane 15.510 19. Shon Deskins 15.516 20. Brian Swinehart 15.537 21. Chris Edwards 15.545 22. Jay Ervine 15.573 23. Bruce St. James 15.586 24. Scott Pasmore 15.706 25. Michael Bryan 15.801 26. Chris McArthur 15.859 27. Tom Ogle 15.870 28. Ashley Corey 15.873 29. Mike Harris 15.978 30. Don Keesler 16.041 31. Mike Leslie 16.098 32. Johnny Williams, Jr. 17.711


1.. Jeremy Sherman 2624
2.. Josh Pelkey 2328
3.. Matt Rossi 2111
4.. Nathan High 2013
5.. Jeff Henry 1950
6.. Mike Martin 1921
7.. Bernie Smith 1950
8.. Jay Ervine 1715
9.. Mike Leslie 1652
10.. Marty Miller 1556






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