AZ (November 12) It was standing room only for the finals of the 38th
Annual Checker Auto Parts/Budweiser Western World Championships, presented by
the Parker Store Saturday night at Manzanita Speedway and
92 of the nations top sprint car drivers responded with a night of high
Pelkey was pushing the cushion and repulsing every attempt by Cory Kruseman to
get the lead but lapped traffic was his undoing.
Friday night’s qualifying feature winner and Kruseman who won Thursday
night, started the 30 lap race on Manzy’s one third mile track side by side
in the front row. They were side by side or nose to tail for most of the race
which, after a three car crash on the fourth lap, went the final 26 laps
without another caution. The crash occurred near the front of the field and
eliminated the cars driven by Brian Hacker, Jeff Henry and Bruce St. James.
fast pace set by the leaders, with Pelkey on the high side and Kruseman taking
the low groove, led to much of the field finishing a lap down creating traffic
problems. Pelkey was trapped by a slower car while working the 28th
lap and that left the door open for Kruseman who had the lead coming off turn
Pelkey tried to reclaim the lead Kruseman
was up to the challenge and brought the Dave Ellis car home in front. Cory
finished second in the 360 Western last year. Pelkey, in the Total Seal
sprinter, also improved by one
position his 2004 finish and had to be content as he led the most laps and
pocketed an extra $690 in lap prize money. Cory added $480 to his $2500 win
with lap money and Charles Davis, Jr. earned an extra $300 by running third
for the entire 30 laps.
Johnson came out of the fifth row to finish fourth ahead of Mike Martin.
Rounding out the top ten were Ricky Gaunt, Nathan High, Bobby Boone, up from
14th, Jeremy Sherman
and Ricky Hood.
shared the front row with Blake Miller for the start of the 15 lap “B”
main and made it no contest as he brought the Fred Bryan car home in front of
Boone, Miller, Matt Rossi and A.J. Anderson. Other drivers who transferred to
the feature were Chris Bonneau, Damion Gardner, Jerry Coons, Jr., Brad Kuhn,
Danny Sheridan, Josh Ford and Chad Boespflug. Thirteen year old Chad Boat,
making only his fourth sprint car start, missed making the feature by only one
driving for Keith Bryan, started deep in the field in the “C” main and
beat Boespflug, Ford, Sheridan, Tom Ogle and Kelly Denison who all transferred
to the “B
360 and their style of wheel to wheel racing on the third mile track proved
their worth as they grabbed their share of fan support in all three races.
pulled out all the stops in trying to return the Western to its glory days.
Lealand McSpadden was the Grand Marshall and was gracious in signing
autographs among his many duties. The fans were welcomed to the track by
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and District 7 City Councilman Doug Lingner. Then
Jesse McGuire thrilled the standing room only crowd as he trumpeted out the
National Anthem as only he can do. It was certainly a major coup to get
McGuire who has played his trumpet at major events such as the World Series.
main event driver for both divisions were brought to their cars on a haywagon,
reminiscent of the way it used to be.
STORE 360 WESTERN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Main: 1. Damion Gardner 2. Chad Boespflug 3. Josh Ford 4. Danny Sheridan 5.
Tom Ogle 6. Mike Kuemper 7. Kelly Denison 8. Chuck Buckman 9. Ronnie Clark 10.
Seainn Hendricsen 11. Ashley Corey 12. Brian Swinehart 13. Tim Beal 14. Jason
Tanner 15. Jon Taylor 16. James Aragon 17. Ronnie Case 18. Jerry Johnston 19.
Bernie Smith 20. Derek DeMartino 21. Brandon Lane 22. Tony Everhart 23. Mike
Main: 1. Jeremy Sherman 2. Bobby Boone 3. Blake Miller 4. Matt Rossi 5. A.J.
Anderson 6. Chris Bonneau 7. Damion Gardner 8. Jerry Coons, Jr. 9. Brad Kuhn
10. Danny Sheridan 11. Josh Ford 12. Chad Boespflug 13. Chad Boat 14. Jerry
Kuemper 15. Andy Reinbold 16. Scott Pasmore 17. Jay Ervine 18. Mike Leslie 19.
Bob Ream, Jr. 20. Tom Ogle
Main: 1. Cory Kruseman 2. Josh Pelkey 3. Charles Davis, Jr. 4. R.J. Johnson 5.
Mike Martin 6. Rickie Gaunt 7. Nathan High 8. Bobby Boone 9. Jeremy Sherman
10. Ricky Hood 11. Chris Bonneau 12. Ben Gregg 13. Jerry Coons, Jr. 14. A.J.
Anderson 15. Josh Ford 16. Brad Kuhn 17. Chad Boespflug 18.Damion Gardner 19.
Danny Sheridan 20. Blake Miller 21. Matt Rossi 22. Bruce St. James 23. Jeff
Henry 24. Brian Hacker.
leaders: laps 1-27 Pelkey, laps 28-30 Kruseman