scra: Sokola Classic: Race report

No doubt, Sherman sweeps Sokola Classic. PHOENIX, AZ, MARCH 16, 2002 - Unlike his Friday win which had a significant element of luck, Jeremy Sherman left little doubt that he was the class of the field Saturday at Manzanita Speedway. Of his...

No doubt, Sherman sweeps Sokola Classic.

PHOENIX, AZ, MARCH 16, 2002 - Unlike his Friday win which had a significant element of luck, Jeremy Sherman left little doubt that he was the class of the field Saturday at Manzanita Speedway. Of his four consecutive NAPA Auto Parts / Auto Trader Magazines Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) wins at Manzanita, Sherman's Gary Sokola Classic victory was unquestionably his most impressive.

"This is amazing, " Sherman said with a boyish grin. "Any win here at Manzanita Speedway is special to me and to come here and win the last four SCRA races is just awesome. Last night, we had a lot of luck on our side. I'll take 'em any way I can get 'em, but tonight I think we did it a little more convincingly."

Now a fixture in the Mark Priestley / Roy Miller Freightliners No. 7 Stealth, Sherman started fifth for the 40 lap finale but had problems on the opening lap. While JE Pistons Dash winner Cory Kruseman was busy pacing Richard Griffin, Tony Jones, Damion Gardner and Rip Williams at the end of lap one, Sherman promptly fell to seventh.

"I took a rock in the face coming off turn four on the first lap," Sherman explained. "It busted my helmet and put me a little dizzy for a minute. Once I settled down, we started picking them off. Looking back, it seemed easier now than it did at the time."

While Sherman tried to clear the cobwebs from his head, Jones moved the Ferreira Dairy No. 87 Avenger into the second spot on lap two. Jones, who was the defending Sokola Classic winner, quickly reeled-in Kruseman and took the lead on the ninth circuit with a rarely seen turn one slide job.

Using the bottom and middle grooves, Sherman feverishly worked his way to the front and was able to pass both Griffin and Gardner on lap 12 to move into the third position. Three laps later, Sherman moved ahead of Kruseman for second place. After his cushion riding win Friday, Sherman joked that "it's no fun to run the bottom." Still, such a creed can quickly be swayed, particularly during times of success or failure.

"Yeah, it was pretty fun," Sherman laughed. "I was kind of loose on the top and I saw those guys fumbling around the top so I tried the bottom. I didn't hit it real good the first time I tried it, but the second time I tried it I passed a couple of guys and I knew it was the place to be and that I had to go ahead and come down."

And "go ahead" is exactly what he did. Taking the lead from Jones on the 16th lap, Sherman simply checked-out from the rest of the field and went on to complete his 20 mile run in track record time (14:08.37).

Steve Ostling gave the Fischer Motorsports / Watt Enterprises No. 29 Okie a tremendous ride from the 14th starting spot and might have had something for Sherman if there had been a caution flag. Sherman's flawless work in lapped traffic further sealed Ostling's fate as the first runner-up. Ostling did, however, win the KSE Products Hard Charger Award.

Jones went on to finish third ahead of Sander Engineering fast qualifier Troy Rutherford and Kruseman. After a hard flip Friday, Gardner returned to finish one spot behind Griffin in seventh.

-scra-

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Tony Jones , Cory Kruseman , Rip Williams , Damion Gardner
Teams Williams