Jonny Herrera waiting for...
Jonny Herrera waiting for his turn at hot laps. It was like a class reunion, everybody wanted an opportunity to grab the last brass ring at Manzy.
Local Phoenix hot shoe and...
Local Phoenix hot shoe and Manzanita Speedway Regular Bob Ream Jr. Bob was not happy about the closure but he was very thankful that the owners still gave the racers and the fans five more weeks of racing after the announced closure of the track.
Engine builder Ron Shaver...
Engine builder Ron Shaver had been coming to Manzy since he was a little guy of seven years old with his dad. Manzy held some very special memories for him.
The King of the Outlaws. Steve...
The King of the Outlaws. Steve Kinser has been the icon for Sprint Car fans for the over the past 30 years. He pulled off a second place finish at the last Manzy race.
Donny Schatz getting ready...
Donny Schatz getting ready to be pushed off for qualifying. A series of two laps that netted the three time WoO champion the pole position.
Chad completes the obligatory...
Chad completes the obligatory victory circle interview. Chad may not have realized the historic position he just earned by winning the last WoO race ever at Manzanita Speedway.
Steve Kinser being interviewed...
Steve Kinser being interviewed after finishing second. He got everything the car had trying to win the race. Notice the right rear tire in the background is worn down to the chords. Another lap or two and the second spot might have gone to Danny Lasoski.
Ron Shaver, Owner of Shaver Specialties, builds some of the most powerful Sprint Car engines in the country and has been a fixture in Spring Car racing. He built the engine of the pole sitter for this event, Donny Schatz.
CT: Ron you have been coming here as a fan and an engine builder for many years. You have to be having some emotions about the sale and subsequent closure.
Ron Shaver: I have been coming here since I was seven years old with my Dad. There are just a ton of memories for me. The track has changed over the years. The guys used to run the top of the track, at least the fast guys. The track is much wider now and the top is not used as much. Things change. In the past the "Man" here was Leland McSpadden. Manzanita is the last of the "Big Houses" a big track and the speeds here are high. There is not a lot of banking so you have to really drive the car and from an engine guy's perspective you have to have the power. I'm really sad to see this place go.
Jonny Herrera has raced and won all over the country. He spent a good number of years racing with the Outlaws and has proven he is a genuine stand on the gas kind of guy.
CT: Jonny, what are your feelings about the loss of Manzanita Speedway?
Jonny Herrera: You know there have been just a ton of the really great guys come through this place, all of the Unser's, Boat, the Shuman brothers, Leland McSpadden, Gene Brown. It is sad to see this part of history just vanish and be turned into to a parking lot. It is almost sacrilegious. I have some really great memories of some really great runs and great finishes here. This place is special and it is too bad that we will see the end of era today.
Bob Ream Jr.
Bob Ream Jr is a local fixture at Manzanita. He is a past champion here with the local 360 non wing sprint association. He has run thousands of laps on the 3/8th and the mile tracks here at Manzanita. He has a very vested interest in the track and the history.
CT: Bob how do you view the closing of the track?
Bob Ream Jr. This place is very special to me. Many very good memories and many nights of great racing, both as a driver and a fan. I am very thankful that we are still racing; the owner and the new owners could have just locked the gate and told everybody to just go home and find someplace else to race. We were given five weeks to get some last shows in and I am very thankful for that opportunity to get some last laps of racing in prior to the closing. Manzanita always tried to get the biggest names in racing here to race and it was nothing but good for guys like me to race with the best in the land. It just let you know where you stood as a driver. I keep hoping the deal will fall through and we can keep racing. It has happened before and it could happen again. I think that it's a great thing the Outlaws have one more chance run the big track here at Manzanita. Good for the fans good for the Outlaws.
Jac Haudenschild "The Wild Child"
Jac Haudenschild has been a traveling Sprint Car driver for probably longer that he would like to remember. He is always fast and a real threat to win at any track he races. Always smiling and making the best out of any situation is a characteristic that makes it fun to be around him. Jac is truly a stand on the gas kind of guy.
CT: Jac what do you think about Manzanita closing?
Jac Haudenschild: It is a real pity, but for the kind of money we were told was changing hands I understand the decision. I don't like it, but it is not my track. I have some great memories of racing here. Winning the Turkey Night midget race, when they moved it from Ascot when that track was going through its own closing. I think they called Thanksgiving on Dirt. I won the dash, my heat and the feature. It was a dream night for a racer. It is a real pity, there is just so much history here it will be a sad day when the gates close for good.
Ronnie Shuman "The Flying Shoe"Ronnie Shuman and his brother Billy were terrors at Manzanita. Ronnie won just about every big race that was to be won here at Manzanita. Then after he won it all here he went on the road and won some more. He toured with the World of Outlaws and won more than his fair share of races. Ronnie has stepped out of the driver's seat with exception of a few special races and has taken a turn at promoting races and is the current race director for the ASCS (American Sprint Car Series).
CT: Ronnie, you have a ton of history here just how are you feeling about the sale and closure?
Ronnie Shuman: It is very sad. There is just tons of history here and it is a shame that it is all going to end with the sale of the land. I had a great run here as did my brother and my son is racing here as well and he has done very well. I am thankful that we are still racing here until the final on April 11th but it is still a very sad. A chapter of racing's history is just going to go away. I have won some very special races here. I wish this was not happening.