Manzanita: Round one preview

SILVER CROWN CARS MAKE MANZANITA DEBUT IN "THE COPPER ON DIRT" FRIDAY-SATURDAY The USAC Silver Crown Cars haven't raced on dirt west of the Rocky Mountains in seven years. They haven't been on a half-mile dirt oval west of the Rockies in 10...

SILVER CROWN CARS MAKE MANZANITA DEBUT IN "THE COPPER ON DIRT" FRIDAY-SATURDAY

The USAC Silver Crown Cars haven't raced on dirt west of the Rocky Mountains in seven years. They haven't been on a half-mile dirt oval west of the Rockies in 10 years. This weekend's "The Copper on Dirt" at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz., presented by Sands Chevrolet, marks only the second time they've ever been on a half-mile dirt oval west of the Rockies in their 37-year history!

Sharing the weekend with the USAC National/Western Midgets and the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, they return to the west coast for the first time since Dave Darland won on the mile in Sacramento, Calif. in 2000. The only other 1/2-mile dirt appearance anywhere close came in 1997 when Tony Stewart was the winner at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada.

Races at Denver, Colo., Knoxville, Iowa, Oklahoma City, Okla. and Las Vegas comprise the only1/2-mile dirt Silver Crown races held west of the Mississippi River since the series began in 1970. Tulsa's State Fairgrounds Speedway also hosted the machines in the 1980s but that track is a 3/4-mile oval.

Darland is among entries for the Phoenix race, along with former series champion Tracy Hines, 2006 USAC/CRA Sprint Car king Cory Kruseman and 2006 Silver Crown race winners Aaron Pierce, Mat Neely and Wayne Reutimann Jr.

Pierce and Jerry Coons Jr. are two parts of an Arizona contingent competing and they'll be joined by Goodyear driver Nathan High, who scored a surprise USAC Midget victory at Tucson last year.

The Silver Crown feature is 50 laps, following a 40-lap USAC/CRA Sprint and 30-lap Midget feature. Prelims, including heat races, are Friday, with semi-features and main events Saturday. The weekend's events salute the memory of Roger McCluskey and Gene Brown.

-credit: usac

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Aaron Pierce , Wayne Reutimann , Jerry Coons Jr.