By: Gary Jacob and Sandy Combs|
Where: Lake Pleasant, AZ
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Lake Pleasant, AZ -- Former Manzanita Speedway track champion Ricky Thornton drove to victory in the Five Star Engine Exchange 20 lap IMCA Modified main event Saturday night at Canyon Raceway. Last week’s feature winner Tony Martin enjoyed another big night with a win in his heat race and a second place run in the 20 lapper ahead of defending track champion Joe Warner. Martin ended the night as the track point leader, just 2 points in front of Warner. The Arizona Dwarf Car feature ran without a caution, but ended a lap early on lap 14 with a red flag as previous week CAR winner Jesse Chinn posted another victory with his potent dwarf truck. Brad Hickson and Jerry Larrabee ran 2-3. Earlier, Chinn had lowered his own six lap track to 102.90 seconds in winning his heat race. As usual, the mini sprint 600 and modified midget 250 classes raced together. Joshua Shipley won the 20 lap feature to get the 600 win ahead of Scott Shaffer with heat winner Ron Copley taking the 250 portion ahead of John Carioscia. The bomber lineup procedure puts both the point leader and last week’s winner in the back row, but Andy Huffman quickly overcame the penalty and led from lap 3 to win ahead of early pacesetter Frank Outlaw.
The 19 car IMCA Modified field was reduced by one when Anthony Madrid broke in hot laps. Heat winners were Brandon Eichelberger, Martin and Tom Wyman. Eichelberger was again in the Kenny Hatfield prepared car that he shares with Terry Belcher Jr. Belcher Jr had won the previous night at Manzanita Speedway, but was racing his unwinged sprint car this night. The 20 lap feature entertained the crowd with five lead changes as Wyman paced the opening round before Shawn Zelenka took over. Zelenka only stayed in front for one lap before Eichelberger took over. Zelenka regained the lead on lap 5 and Eichelberger stalled on the back stretch for a yellow flag. Zelenka only led until lap 7 when Thornton took over. Thornton was able to stretch his lead over the remaining rounds with Martin into second on lap 13. Thornton won with Martin second ahead of Warner, Darin Center, Zelenka, Wyman, Danny Price and Robin Boomgaarden. Starting the night just 3 points out of the track point lead, Darren Williams drove the borrowed Gene Roud car to 10th behind Tim Palmer. Williams had destroyed his own car in a series of front stretch flips Friday night at Manzanita. Center climbed past Williams into third in points with his 4th place run.
The dwarf cars had a solid field and ran three heat races won by B Hickson, Chinn and Kevin Hickson. Chinn averaged 17.15 per lap as he established a new track record for six laps, dropping his own record when was an average of 17.26 per lap. Jeff Adams led six laps and Larrabee two before Chinn raced into the lead. B Hickson gained second on lap 10 and was pressuring Chinn for the lead in the caution free race when Bob Schaff crashed hard into the front fence for a red flag on lap 14. The officials called the race complete with Chinn winning ahead of B Hickson, Larrabee, K Hickson, Adams, Randy Anderson, Nick Bruce and Jeff Perry.
Steven Sanchez won the heat race for the mini sprint 600’s and Copley won the heat action for the modified midget 250’s. The 20 lap feature ran with just two quick caution flags. Shaffer paced two laps before winner Shipley took over. In five laps, they had caught the back of the pack and had to work heavy traffic for the remainder of the 20 laps. Shipley won the 600 portion ahead of Shaffer, Derek McCluskey, newcomer Dallas Caldwell and Joey Strobel. Copley paced Carioscia, Matt Biancani, Greg Cox and Darren Welty in the 250 rundown.
Steve Jackson and Chris McCurdy were the bomber heat winners. Huffman charged from the back row to the lead in three laps and he won the feature race ahead of early leader Outlaw, Jackson, Dustin Clubb, Ron Neis, Scott Atwater and McCurdy.
Summary Bomber Heat 1-Steve Jackson. Heat 2-Chris McCurdy. Main-Andy Huffman, Frank Outlaw, Jackson, Dustin Clubb, Ron Neis, Scott Atwater, McCurdy, Chris Christiansen, Ben Shepherd, Michael Humphreys. Mini Sprint and Modified Midget Heat 1-Stephen Sanchez. Heat 2-Ron Copley. Mini Sprint 600 Main-Joshua Shipley, Scott Shaffer, Derek McCluskey, Dallas Caldwell, Joey Strobel. Modified Midget 250 Main-Copley, Ron Carioscia, Matt Biancani, Greg Cox, Darren Welty. Dwarf Car Heat 1-Brad Hickson. Heat 2-Jesse Chin. Heat 3-Kevin Hickson. Main-Chinn, B Hickson, Jerry Larrabee, K Hickson, Jeff Adams, Randy Anderson, Nick Bruce, Jeff Perry, Fred Donaldson, Steve Adams. IMCA Modified Heat 1-Brandon Eichelberger. Heat 2-Tony Martin. Heat 3-Tom Wyman. Main-Ricky Thornton, Martin, Joe Warner, Darin Center, Shawn Zelenka, Wyman, Danny Price, Robin Boomgaarden, Tim Palmer, Darren Williams, D J Wood, Jim Collinsworth, Rick Ward, Rob Markson, J J Harpole Jr, Eichelberger, David Brinkley, Jim Hurd.