Boen takes Manzanita finale, pockets $5,000
By M.J. AndersonDirtonDirt.com correspondent
PHOENIX, Ariz. (Nov. 10) — Arizona is starting to suit Kelly Boen just fine. The Henderson, Colo., driver completed a successful eight-day stretch of racing in the Grand Canyon State with a $5,000 victory in the Western World Championships at Manzanita Speedway. James wins opener | Manzanita slideshow
Boen's big victory, which he celebrated with champagne-soaking gusto in victory lane, follows a Nov. 3 win at USA Race Park in Tucson and a runner-up finish in Manzanita's Thursday night prelim.
Chris Shannon of Merced, Calif., finished second in Saturday's finale ahead of Ron Bartels of El Segundo, Calif., Mike Stadel of Rapid City, S.D., and John Duty of Portland, Ore., in caution-plagued race that left just eight of 24 starters running at the finish of one of the West's richest events. Early leaders Scott James of Lawrenceburg, Ind., and Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., were among drivers failing to finish the 30-lapper, shortened from the original 40-lap distance.
The race, beginning after the night's USAC sprint car feature, didn't roll off until 12:30 a.m. with James and Marlar on the front row. Marlar got the jump at the outset with James, Shannon, Boen and Bartels, who invited Marlar out West to run as his teammate, in pursuit.
While a variety of spins and wrecks slowed the action the first half of the race, Marlar stayed in command. But James went out front on lap 17 and Boen dropped Marlar to third. As the frontrunners maneuvered through lapped traffic, Boen closed in on James and took the lead on lap 22.
After a lap-26 caution for Dean Moore's spin, James didn't get a chance to regain the lead from Boen because of contact from Shannon on the restart. The accident triggered a frontstretch chain reaction that saw the cars of NASCAR Nextel Cup driver J.J. Yeley, Karl Tipton, Mike Johnson and Rob Mayea suffer significant damage. James restarted on the tail but jumped the cushion on the restart and departed with right-front suspension damage.
Boen completed his victory in the final laps, taking the checkered flag six lengths in front of Shannon.
Boen's Rocket Chassis is sponsored by AFCO and Roadrunner Fabrication. ... Boen's week of Arizona racing was worth more than $8,000. ... The event, a non-points Western Allstars race, was sponsored by Checker Auto Parts, Budweiser and Parker Store. ... J.J. Yeley, racing as a teammate to Mike Johnson, brought out a lap-three caution. ... A.J. Kirkpatrick and Kellen Chadwick got tangled up on the third lap, knocking both out of the race. ... A chain-reaction crash on an early restart ended with the retirement of Brad Williams and Mike Tahtinen. ... Canadian invader Mike Balcaen dropped out on the seventh lap. ... Karl Tipton spun in turn four on the 10th lap to draw a caution. ... Yeley spun on the restart for another yellow. ... Nebraska driver John Anderson dropped out on the 18th lap. ... Heat race lineups were set by pill draw with the top three drivers in passing points advancing to the feature. ... Carla Laney flipped her car on the backstretch during a heat race, but she wasn't injured. ... Scott James earned $1,000 for winning the trophy dash, a race pitting Thursday's top four qualifiers and four drivers selected by the promoter. ... The Late Model feature ended about 1:20 a.m. ... Tail-starting Jerry Coons Jr. of Tucson, Ariz., won the $12,000 USAC sprint car feature.
Correction: Previous versions of this story misidentified Ron Bartels and Mike Marlar.