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 Press Release

Young Guns Rossi and Johnson shoot down the veterans
by Windy McDonald

Phoenix, AZ (July 15) Two of Manzanita Speedway's "Young Guns" shot down the veterans in Saturday night's Arizona Sprint Car Association races on the half mile track Saturday night.

Twenty-one year old Matthew Rossi had the most rewarding night of his career as he beat pre race favorite Jeremy Sherman in the trophy dash, edged him by about three feet in winning his heat race and then led the final 19 laps in the 25 lap feature to complete the first clean sweep of his career.

Rossi gave an indication that he was ready to get a win when he ran a strong second to Sherman in the Firecraker 50 on July 1. The night produced his third top five of the year, his second trophy dash win and also his second heat race victory.

Nineteen year old R.J. Johnson just missed breaking the eight lap track record as he won the first heat race by over a full straightaway and then made a late race charge to second place in the feature after starting eighth. His time in the heat race was 2:38.25 barely missing Sherman's record of 2:38.06.

The race provided more dicing than usual as several drivers would move up, fall back and then charge again. Johnson dropped a couple of positions in the early laps, used both grooves to move back past Sherman and Pelkey and then fell victim to a hard drive by Mike Martin to drop him back to fourth. He used an outside pass coming off a restart with three laps remaining to get back by Martin. He closed dramatically in the final three laps but fell a car length short of getting his first win of the year. He did keep his record of finishing each of his races in the top four this year.

Andy Reinbold was the hard luck driver of the race as he led the first six laps and was still running second as the laps counted down but blew a right rear tire and was credited with only a 16th place finish.

Mike Martin had his best night of the year with a run that had him fall back in the field, charge back to second and then fall victim to a pass by Johnson with three laps remaining.

Josh Pelkey finished fourth ahead of Sherman. The rest of the top ten were Ben Gregg, Dana Fite, Mike Leslie, Mike Colegrove and Chris Bonneau. Leslie was the hard charger of the race with his drive from 19th to eighth.

With his pursuers smoking their tires in an effort to get to the front, Rossi was asked how he kept his tires cool. He just pointed to his right foot indicating that he was "feather footing" it to go fast.

Finishing a distant second to Johnson in the first heat was Reinbold with rookie driver Dana Fite, Seainn Hendricsen and Brian Hacker next across the finish line. Brandon Lane went wire to wire in the second heat but was under constant pressure from Pelkey, with Bernie Smith third ahead of Nathan High and Justin Fisher. A yellow flag for a brush with the wall by Jeff Henry allowed the field to close on Rossi in the final heat and Sherman, who had started last in the eight car field, put his nose in front in the final turn but Rossi won the drag race to the checkered flag. Martin was third, Colegrove fourth and Bob Ream, Jr. fifth.

Rossi shot to the front at the drop of the green in the Arizona Race Mart trophy dash and held off Sherman with Smith and Reinbold trailing the leaders.

The finish order caused some major changes in the point standing. Rossi's clean sweep jumped him from 9th to 5th, Mike Leslie and Bernie Smith each dropped two positions and Andy Reinbold, despite the blown tire, bumped Hendricsen out of the top ten.

The sprints will be back on the one third mile track in the July 22 outing in a doubleheader with the mini sprints.



Main Event: 1. Matthew Rossi 2. R.J. Johnson 3. Mike Martin 4. Josh Pelkey 5. Jeremy Sherman 6. Ben Gregg 7. Dana Fite 8. Mike Leslie 9. Mike Colegrove 10. Chris Bonneau 11. Ronnie Clark 12. Bernie Smith 13. Jeff Henry 14. Nathan High 15. Mike Bonneau 16. Andy Reinbold 17. James Aragon 18. Mike Mundy 19. Bob Ream, Jr. 20. Brandon Lane 21. Justin Fisher 22. Brian Hacker 23. Tom Ogle 24. Seainn Hendricsen

Lap leaders: laps 1-6 Reinbold, laps 7-25 Rossi

1st Heat: 1. R.J. Johnson 2. Andy Reinbold 3. Dana Fite 4. Seanin Hendricsen 5. Brian Hacker 6. Tom Ogle 7. Mike Leslie 8. Ronnie Clark (8 laps, time: 2:38.25)

2nd Heat: 1. Brandon Lane 2. Josh Pelkey 3. Bernie Smith 4. Nathan High 5. Justin Fisher 6. Ben Gregg 7. James Aragon 8. Mike Mundy (8 laps, time:2:44.22)

3rd Heat: 1. Matthew Rossi 2. Jeremy Sherman 3. Mike Martin 4. Mike Colegrove 5. Bob Ream, Jr. 6. Mike Bonneau 7. Chris Bonneau 8. Jeff Henry (no time)

Arizona Race Mart Trophy Dash: 1. Matthew Rossi 2. Jeremy Sherman 3. Bernie Smith 4. Andy Reinbold


1. Jeremy Sherman 2932

2. Josh Pelkey 3353

3. Mike Colegrove 2114

4. Nathan High 2014

5. Matthew Rossi 1943

6. Jeff Henry 1938

7. Mike Martin 1928

8. Mike Leslie 1895

9. Bernie Smith 1890

10. Andy Reinbold 1646






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