SEPTEMBER 24, 1998 USAC RETURNS TO MANZANITA SPEEDWAY NATIONAL MIDGET RACE NOVEMBER 21 KICKS OFF YEAR-END SWING Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz., one of America's most storied race tracks, returns to the USAC racing calendar ...
SEPTEMBER 24, 1998
USAC RETURNS TO MANZANITA SPEEDWAY NATIONAL MIDGET RACE NOVEMBER 21 KICKS OFF YEAR-END SWING
Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz., one of America's most storied race tracks, returns to the USAC racing calendar November 21 after a 10-year hiatus.
The USAC National and "Western States" Midget Series combine for a program of events capped by a 30-lap feature on the 1/2-mile dirt. The race will kick off USAC's final week of racing activity, which includes the "Turkey Night Grand Prix": at Bakersfield, Calif. Nov. 26 and the 1998 finales at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada November 28.
The historic Manzanita oval has witnessed 35 USAC races through the years, beginning with Johnnie Tolan's 100-lap Midget triumph in March of 1956, and has featured victories by many of the sport's biggest names. A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Roger McCluskey, Gary Bettenhausen and Mel Kenyon have all tasted USAC success at Manzy, Kenyon winning six times and Bettenhausen three. Foyt won a 50-lap Midget race there in November of 1965 and Andretti won a 30-lap Sprint car race there the following year.
Ironically, the last USAC "National" race winner at Manzanita - Bob East - is currently in the thick of the 1998 USAC National Midget championship race, serving as crew chief and team manager for defending series champion Jason Leffler, who leads the standings going into this weekend's "4-Crown Nationals" at Rossburg, Ohio.
The 1998 USAC National Midget point race features three "west coast" drivers, Leffler of Long Beach, Calif., runner-up Jay Drake of Canyon Country, Calif. and third-place Ricky Shelton of Huntington Beach, Calif. Drake and Shelton are former USAC "Western States" titlists.
USAC's last outing at Manzanita saw Tommy Astone win a 30-lap "Western States"/Arizona Midget Series main event on the 1/4-mile dirt oval on April 22, 1988.
The originally-scheduled USAC Midget/TQ Midget "doubleheader" at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway on November 21 has been removed from the 1998 calendar.