DAVE DARLAND WINS MANZANITA OPENER SECOND YEAR IN A ROW By Ken Wagner - USAC/CRA publicist
Showers played havoc with the Valvoline USAC/CRA season opener on January 29th at Manzanita Speedway when wet grounds greeted the racers trying to negotiate into the muddy pits for the night's action. Dave Darland later drove the Performance, Eric Industries, TCR, Donovan sprinter, owned by Dwight Chaney, to a 30 lap win in the Main Event. Wet grounds and a late start cancelled qualifying. Heat race line-ups for the 38 cars in attendance were done by pill draw, then passing points further aligned cars transferring into the Semi and Main Events. It was the second season opener win at Manzanita in a row for the USAC driver from Lincoln, Indiana.
Darland held off Charles Davis Jr the last few laps for his victory. Davis raced to second from his twelfth starting spot on the grid with a strong drive. He was followed by Mike Spencer, Rick Williams and Tracy Hines, who was the hard charger of the event coming from his 17th starting spot. Darren Hagen led the first 21 laps until he encountered a lap car, sending him into a spinning crash that included Rickie Gaunt, ending both drivers night.
VALVOLINE USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: January 29, 2005 - Phoenix, Arizona - Manzanita Speedway
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Mike Spencer (#44 Engstrom), 2. Rickie Gaunt (#2A Smiley), 3. Seth Wilson (#17 Racing Optics), 4. Rick Williams (#6x Williams), 5. R.J. Johnson (#15 Martin), 6. Dan Hillberg (#82 Hillberg), 7. Danny Sheridan (#4K Kettle), 8. Matt Rossi (#02 Rossi), 9. Cory Kruseman (#38 Crossno), 10. Levi Jones (#62A Bishop). NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Cary Faas (#2V Woodward), 2. Mike Leslie (#76 Montgomery), 3. Rick Ziehl (#14 Lancaster), 4. Justin Marvel (#14L Lancaster), 5. Mike Kirby (#4 Alexander), 6. Rip Williams (#3 Jory), 7. Peter Murphy (#21 Tarlton), 8. Jeff Slinkard (#61 Ratz), 9. Ronnie Case (#33 Blair), 10. Buddy Earle (#95 Earle). NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Dave Darland (#42 Cheney), 2. Jimmy Crawford (#17C Crawford), 3. Bill Rose (#6 Rose), 4. Tracy Hines (#7 Priestley), 5. Jeremy Sherman (#77b Bryan), 6. Troy Rutherford (#5 Keller), 7. Chuck Buckman Jr. (#4m Miller), 8. Damion Gardner (# 50 Chaffin), 9. Shon Deskins (#23 Fleming). NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jesse Hockett (#2J Massey), 2. Josh Ford (#73 Ford), 3. Darren Hagen (#71 Kunz), 4. Charles Davis Jr. (#8A Smiley), 5. Tony Jones (#87 Vermeer-Ferreira), 6. Nathan High (#6A Pritchett), 7. Nadine Keller (#16 Keller), 8. David Cardey (#59 Giardina), 9. Jerry Coons Jr. (#3w WWS). NT
ALSO AT THE TRACK: Ben Astenius practiced in No. 23.
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Johnson, 3. Buckman, 4. Kruseman, 5. High, 6. Williams, 7. Slinkard, 8. Sherman, 9. Cardey, 10. Keller, 11. Rossi, 12. Rutherford, 13. T. Jones, 14. Hillberg, 15. Murphy, 16. Gardner, 17. Case, 18. Deskins, 19. Earle. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Charles Davis Jr., 3. Mike Spencer, 4. Rick Williams, 5. Tracy Hines, 6. Mike Kirby, 7. Bill Rose, 8. Cory Kruseman, 9. R.J. Johnson, 10. Chuck Buckman Jr., 11. Rip Williams, 12. Jimmy Crawford, 13. Rick Ziehl, 14. Darren Hagen, 15. Rickie Gaunt, 16. Seth Wilson, 17. Josh Ford, 18. Mike Leslie, 19. Cary Faas, 20. Jesse Hockett, 21. Justin Marvel.
Peter Murphy flipped in Turn 1 on the first lap of the semi feature. Jesse Hockett flipped in Turn 2 in the feature. Faas flipped in Turn 2 in the feature. Hagen flipped on the backstretch on lap 22 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-21 Hagen, Laps 22-30 Darland.
NEW USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Darland-68; 2-Davis-62; 3-Spencer-62; 4-Rick Williams-56; 5-Hines-53; 6-Rose-68; 7-Kirby-45; 8-Kruseman-40; 9-Johnson-39; 10-Crawford-36.
NEXT USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: February 5 - Perris, CA - Perris Auto Speedway.