The Discount Tire American Sprint Car Series, Arizona Midget Racing Association and Arizona Mini Sprints open their 2009 season Saturday night at Manzanita Speedway. All three divisions will be racing on Manzy’s one third mile clay oval.
The track will also be honoring one of its greatest open wheel drivers and the most popular driver of the modern era, Lealand McSpadden. Lealand carries one of the most famous of nicknames and at any sprint car track in the country and mention " The Tempe Tornado" fans and competitors know who he is and where he comes from.
McSpadden will be auto graphing 8X10 color photos showing him in the Frank Lewis sprinter that carried him to many of his wins, not only at Manzy but throughout the nation. There is also an insert head shot in the photo. The autograph session will begin at 5:00 P.M.
As usual the total number of entries for each division will not be known until they come through the pit gate but most of the cars that raced in 2008 are expected to return. However the sprints maybe missing Jeremy Sherman who would be seeking a fifth straight driving title. If Fred Bryan, owner of the car that carried Sherman to three of his four titles, decides to run it could well be the Sherman vs Davis season again. Davis has finished second in points the past couple of years and will again be at the wheel of the potent Jim Massey car.
Nathan High will again drive for Robbie Allen and after winning an ASCA race last week in the Steve Tellis car, Josh Pelkey may have landed a ride for the season. Mike Colegrove sat out most the 2008 season but is expected to return to the sprint car wars and Bob Ream, Jr., the 1998 champion could vie for the championship.
Kiley Fellers had a dream season last year when he won his first mini sprint car driving championship and begins defending his title against a tough field Saturday night. Josh and Kyle Shipley figure to be tough as does Josh Castro, Tyler and Travis Keesler and about 20 others.
Jeff Perry won the 2008 midget driving championship but expects to have more cars for the current season. Nathan High will probably contend for the title this year as will R.J. Johnson.
Gates open at 5:00 with racing at 7:00.