CRA: Manzanita season opener preview

CRA SPRINT CARS DEBUT AT MANZANITA SATURDAY Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif. opens defense of his 2005 USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series Championship Saturday night in the 2006 series opener at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz. ...

CRA SPRINT CARS DEBUT AT MANZANITA SATURDAY

Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif. opens defense of his 2005 USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series Championship Saturday night in the 2006 series opener at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz.

Gardner will be hard pressed to repeat his success of last year, posting 15 feature victories and 22 fast qualifying times! He added six seconds and four thirds in 38 CRA appearances last year and finished the season with a 161-point cushion over runner-up Cory Kruseman.

Gardner won three of his seven starts at the 1/2-mile dirt Phoenix oval in 2005 and finished third in two others. Three of his record 22 fast qualifying efforts also came at Manzanita. He also won three of the eight Phoenix races contested last year.

Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. is the defending winner of the Phoenix opener and won last year's "Western World" finale at Phoenix. Other 2005 Manzanita CRA winners included Jerry Coons Jr., Rickie Gaunt and Mike Kirby.

A 30-lap feature event is on tap Saturday, following complete preliminaries. Racing is expected to begin at 7 pm. Defending USAC National Sprint Car Champion Levi Jones established the 1-lap track record of 18.301 seconds drivers will be aiming at when qualifications begin.

-usac-

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Series USAC
Drivers Dave Darland , Cory Kruseman , Levi Jones , Damion Gardner , Jerry Coons Jr.