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Press Release

Western World entries at high level
by Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (October 25) Manzanita Speedway will be dark this weekend as maintenance crews get ready for the Dwarf Car Nationals November 4-5 and especially for the biggest race of the year, the 38th running of the Checker Auto Parts/Budweiser Western World Championships November 10-12.

The Nationals are expected to attract over 50 Dwarf Cars from throughout the Southwest. The Dwarf Car pre-entry deadline is still a week away but the early entries indicate that this year’s event could attract a record number of cars. The field will have a practice session on Manzy’s one third mile track Thursday night, November 3 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.. The practice session is open to the public in the grandstand area. Friday night the field will be divided into eight heat races and then a number of qualifing races.

Mini Sprints will be sharing the short track with the Dwarf Cars in what will be a shootout between Mike Colegrove and Chad Boat for the 2005 championship.

The Western, even though the pre-entry deadline is still a week away, had 41 cars entered as of October 25. The USAC entry list has attracted several big name drivers including Josh Wise, one of the most versatile drivers in the field and the third place finisher last year. Wise is the National Midget points leader, is ranked fourth in the USAC National Sprint Car points and second in the Silver Crown. Wise will be in the Mopar Sprinter owned by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.

Levi Jones who came close to winning last year’s Western but ended up second to two time winner Bud Kaeding, is the USAC Sprint Car leader with a 75 point lead over Dave Darland. All three nights of the Western which will be run on Manzy’s famed half mile track and will award points toward the National championship and the 2005 champion will be crowned at Manzanita.

Last year’s race awarded points in only the Saturday night event and yet attracted 13 of the top USAC drivers and this race is more critical to the final standings. Already the 2005 race has entries from nine of the top14 drivers in USAC points. In addition to Jones, Darland and Wise, Jay Drake, the 2000 Western champion who is ranked third,  sixth ranked Nat Neeley, eighth, ninth, eleventh and 14th place drivers--Jerry Coons, Jr., Darren Hagen, Tom Hesseert III and Dickie Gaines-- are listed among the early entries.

Local drivers entered include the 2001 Western World Champion Jeremy Sherman, 1998 Arizona champion Bob Ream, Jr., Nathan High and R.J. Johnson who is a prime candidate for rookie of the year honors with the USAC/CRA. He had his third podium finish of the year last week at Perris.

Among the West Coast USAC drivers already entered are the top two drivers in points, Damion Gardner and Cory Kruseman and Mike Kirby who is fourth in points.

Coons, who is ranked second in the chase for the USAC National Midget Championship, is also entered in the 360 races which will be contested on the one third mile track. The Tucson driver is ticketed to drive for the Colcord/Norman race team. 


Out of state entries have been received from Ric Hill of New Jersey and West Coast drivers Ronnie Case, Mark Deskovick, Bobby Boone and Larry Lloyd.


The complete USAC field will run all three nights. Complete programs will be run both Thursday and Friday nights and points will be earned each night. The total for the two nights will determine starting positions in Saturday night’s Consy, Semi and 40 lap main event. If necessary, a “D” main may be added to the program.


The 360 field will be split with half of the field running heat races and a main event Thursday night and the remaining drivers will repeat the process Friday night. A 12 lap consolation race, 15 lap “B” main and a 30 lap “A” feature make up the Saturday night program for the Parker Stores 360s.


For reserved tickets or information call Manzanita Speedway at 602 276-7575 or visit the website at






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