Manzanita preview, Perris recap

DARLAND GOES FOR 2ND STRAIGHT "SWEEP" AT MANZY AFTER WINNING "BUDWEISER OVAL NATIONALS" AT PERRIS Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. is the man to beat again this weekend as the USAC National and USAC/CRA Sprint Car series combine...

DARLAND GOES FOR 2ND STRAIGHT "SWEEP" AT MANZY AFTER WINNING "BUDWEISER OVAL NATIONALS" AT PERRIS

Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. is the man to beat again this weekend as the USAC National and USAC/CRA Sprint Car series combine for the 39th Checker Auto Parts/Budweiser "Western World Championships" at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz.

Darland is the defending race champion and his season-ending prowess has him on the hot seat this weekend. Last Saturday night he completed his second consecutive victory in the "Budweiser Oval Nationals" at Perris, Calif.

Darland is not completely out of the chase for the 2006 National title, although Tony Stewart Racing teammates Josh Wise and Levi Jones lead the pack, separated by 87 markers going into the Phoenix finales. Darland is third in the standings, 35 behind Jones.

Similarly, Cory Kruseman and Damion Gardner are separated by just 81 points in their continuing battle for the 2006 USAC/CRA title, which concludes Nov. 18 at Perris.

The Phoenix program, which includes 25-lap features Thursday and Friday and a 40-lapper on Saturday, continues a tradition of Sprint racing which has spanned several sanctioning bodies in its 39 years. Previous race winners include 7-time winner Steve Kinser, 5-time winner Ron Shuman, Lealand McSpadden (3), Jan Opperman (2), Sammy Swindell (2), Mark Kinser (2), Bud Kaeding (2), plus inaugural race winner Bob Cleberg, Bob Huebner, Jerry McClung, Earl Wagner, Rick Ferkel, Bubby Jones, Tim Green, Bobby Davis Jr., Danny Lasoski, Tyler Walker, Donny Schatz, Jay Drake, Jeremy Sherman and Tony Elliott.

Darland, Mike Spencer and Tony Jones all shared the spotlight in last weekend's 11th Annual "Budweiser Oval Nationals" at Perris. Spencer, of Temecula, Calif., won Thursday's 25-lap feature in the James Development/Spenco Machine Maxim/RC Performance machine. He led the last 23 laps after passing Bud Kaeding on lap three. Jon Stanbrough, Kruseman, Kaeding and Darland rounded out the "top-five." Jones won Friday's 25-lapper, passing Brady Bacon on lap 24 for the win in the La Villa Restaurant/Communication Innovations DRC/RC Performance Special. Bacon took second ahead of Stanbrough, Daron Clayton and Critter Malone. Malone led the first four laps of the race.

Darland's $30,000 victory in Saturday night's 40-lap finale saw him lead all but eight laps in his Hoosier Tire/Jam It In Storage Maxim/Claxton to beta Levi Jones, Spencer, Kruseman and Bacon. Spencer led the other eight laps of the race but Darland led the final 15 to win.

-credit: usac

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Mark Kinser , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Dave Darland , Bud Kaeding , Tony Elliott , Sammy Swindell , Tony Jones , Cory Kruseman , Levi Jones , Tyler Walker , Josh Wise , Jon Stanbrough , Daron Clayton , Damion Gardner , Mike Spencer