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 Press Release

Gardner beats Kruseman in Manzanita's USAC/CRA feature
by Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (May 20) Damion Gardner was at his best as he mastered Manzanita Speedway's half mile track and won the USAC/CRA sprint car feature at Manzy Saturday night. Gardner, as usual, was the quickest qualifier, the ninth time he has been fastest, in ten races this year. It was Gardner's fourth overall feature win of the year, his second straight at Manzy. Gardner, by virtue of his qualifying run, started on the outside of the fourth row and assumed the lead when David Cardey, who had led laps 2-10, coasted to stop with mechanical problems. Running behind the leader was Johnny Rodriguez, Cory Kruseman, Charles Davis, Jr. and Seth Wilson. Wilson later spun and prior to that Ogle crashed. They were the first two cars out of the race. Gardner pulled away from the field and Kruseman, who started fifth, finally made a pass on Rodriguez and made it interesting in the closing laps as the leaders encountered lapped traffic. No problem for Gardner as he found the fast way around the back markers and put the Ron Chaffin/Temecula Valley Pipe and Steel Eagle in the winners circle. HIs win over Kruseman allowed him to stretch his points lead to 41 points heading into their next outing at Perris Auto Speedway. Rodriguez was challenged by Davis but was still in third at the end of the 30 lap feature. Davis, who shared the front row with Rodriguez, was caught on the outside when the green flag fell and slipped to fourth behind Rodriguez, Cardey and Ogle. He found the groove he preferred and moved to third and then held off early challenges from Tom Ogle but gave way to Kruseman. He then held off his team mate Rickie Gaunt. Gaunt's fifth place finish moved him up one notch in the points chase as he supplanted Danny Sheridan in third. Sheridan dropped out of the race and finished 17th. Rounding out the top ten were Jesse Hockett, Mike Spencer, Rip Williams, Jeremy Sherman and Blake Miller. Miller was the hard charger of the race as he started 18th.

By the time the feature took to the track the cushion had worn thin and the bottom of the track was the preferred line. The track had taken on rubber and tire wear was a concern for the drivers as most of them were smoking the right rear. The drivers used several yellow flags to keep the right rear cool and for the most part the tires held up well.

The 12 lap semi main was one of the best of the preliminary races as Hockett and Sherman diced for the lead. Hockett was pushing the cushion through turns one and two and taking the low groove in three and four. He held Sherman at bay until the cushion wore a little too thin and he bounced off the wall in turn two. He recovered enough to finish fifth and started alongside Sherman in the fifth row of the feature. Mike Leslie came out of the seventh row to finish second and Seth Wilson was third. Also earning main event berths were Mike Martin, and Josh Ford. Bobby Cody used a provisional and was added to the feature.

Sheridan took the win in the first ten lap heat race after starting fourth. Rodriquez started fifth and ran second ahead of Gardner, up from eighth and Cardey. The second heat went to Chad Boespflug who went wire to wire to beat Bruce St. James who quickly moved from sixth to second. Tom Stansberry and Gaunt, the night's second quickest qualifier, were next under the checkered flag. Tony Jones took care of the third heat as he started fourth and held off Williams who was in the third row at the start. Miller maintained his third starting berth and Ogle held off Sherman for the final transfer spot. Davis lined up in the third row for the final heat but put the Tony Smiley car on the cushion and shot to second on the opening lap. He then chased down pole sitter J.T. Imperial and then held off Kruseman for the win. Imperial, who had problems qualifying and was the slowest of the 32 cars in the time trials, took third ahead of Mike Spencer.

USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: May 20, 2006 Phoenix, Arizona Manzanita Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Damion Gardner, 50, Chaffin-19.172; 2. Rickie Gaunt, 2a, Zoriki/Smiley-19.329; 3. Jeremy Sherman, 75J, Jake's-19.645; 4. Mike Spencer, 44, Engstrom-19.673; 5. Jesse Hockett, 2az, Massey-19.685; 6. Ronnie Clark, 94, Clark-19.696; 7. Ben Gregg, 22B, Gregg-19.703; 8. Cory Kruseman, 38, Crossno-19.745; 9. David Cardey, 59, Giardina-19.786; 10. Seth Wilson, 17, Wilson-19.801; 11. Tom Ogle, 5az, Ogle-19.844; 12. Charles Davis Jr., 8A, Smiley-19.884; 13. Johnny Rodriguez, 7, Preistley-19.942; 14. Bruce St. James, 7k, St. James-19.950; 15. Rip Williams, 3, Jory-19.954; 16. Brandon Lane, 97h, Lane-19.955; 17. Danny Sheridan, 18, Kittle-19.971; 18. Bobby Cody, 92, Sertich-20.002; 19. Tony Jones, 4, Alexander-20.144; 20. Mike Martin, 57, Martin-20.151; 21. R.J. Johnson, 15AZ, Martin-20.194; 22. Tom Stansberry, 75T, Stansberry-20.260; 23. Blake Miller, 5, Keller-20.264; 24. Josh Ford, 73, Ford-20.321; 25. J Hicks, 66, Miller-20.329; 26. Davey Pombo, 14, Lancaster-20.448; 27. Mike Leslie, 76az, Montgomery-20.562; 28. Steve Paden, 56, Farrier-20.724; 29. Chris Bonneau, 78, Bonneau-20.749; 30. Chad Boespflug, 90, Boespflug-20.827; 31. Matt Stewart, 85, Stewart-21.006; 32. J.T. Imperial, 29, Imperial-21.282; 33. Nadine Keller, 16, Keller-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Sheridan, 2. Rodriguez, 3. Gardner, 4. Cardey, 5. Hicks, 6. Hockett, 7. Johnson, 8. Bonneau. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Boespflug, 2. St. James, 3. Stansberry, 4. Gaunt, 5. Clark, 6. Wilson, 7. Cody, 8. Pombo. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jones, 2. Williams, 3. Miller, 4. Ogle, 5. Sherman, 6. Leslie, 7. Gregg, 8. Stewart. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Davis, 2. Kruseman, 3. Imperial, 4. Spencer, 5. Ford, 6. Martin, 7. Paden, 8. Lane. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Sherman, 2. Leslie, 3. Wilson, 4. Martin, 5. Hockett, 6. Ford, 7. Paden, 8. Pombo, 9. Lane, 10. Johnson, 11. Stewart, 12. Gregg, 13. Hicks, 14. Clark, 15. Cody, 16. Bonneau. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Cory Kruseman, 3. Johnny Rodriguez, 4. Charles Davis Jr., 5. Rickie Gaunt, 6. Jesse Hockett, 7. Mike Spencer, 8. Rip Williams, 9. Jeremy Sherman, 10. Blake Miller, 11. Tom Stansberry, 12. Mike Leslie, 13. Tony Jones, 14. Chad Boespflug, 15. Bruce St. James, 16. Mike Martin, 17. Danny Sheridan, 18. J.T. Imperial, 19. Bobby Cody, 20. David Cardey, 21. Josh Ford, 22. Seth Wilson, 23. Tom Ogle. NT

Lap leaders: lap 1 Rodriguez, laps 2-10 Cardey, laps 11-30 Gardner

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