Arena Racing USA – Military Appreciation 200
Richmond, VA – Every so often during the off season while we are waiting for the asphalt racing to get back underway we like to try and get out and about to cover more local racing. Tonight, we find ourselves planted in the Richmond Coliseum for some good ole Arena Racing. For those who may not know what Arena Racing is, first I invite you over to their website www.arenaracingusa.com. Arena Racing is an indoor racing event with mini cup sized cars racing on a high back aluminum track with speeds around 50 M.P.H. Drivers from all over the region fighting for a $5,000 points pay out at the end of the year.
The races are set up very similar to a dirt track. Qualifying is held earlier in the afternoon as well as practice. Two or more heat races are set by lap times. Drivers then race 50 laps to set the field the feature event – a.k.a The Top Dog race. Top six finishers from each main earn a spot in the top dog race. Importance of getting in the Top Dog? Simple – POINTS.
A – Main
Of course packed with fast cars as well as those up their battling for points. Points leaders Camden Testerman showed his strength early on in the event holding the lead till just past the halfway mark. Cody Carlton – who was so dominate last year – started shotgun on the field but was able to climb up to the second position. Things got interesting from there on. As Testerman was working his way around lap traffic out of two, the rear of the car stepped out on him, causing Carlton to make contact and out of no where, Connor Medeiros running third plows into the both of them.
Garrett Manes would inherit the lead. All three machines involved in the wreck would be able to return to the action. Matter of fact Carlton would climb back up to second position in a matter of laps. Just as Carlton was fighting for the lead he had to check up out of four to avoid running over the leader. Medeiros, running third at the time, got into the back of Carlton and sent him into the wall, eventually ending his night citing it was the chain that popped off that ended his efforts.
Garrett Manes able to hang on to the win followed by Larry Murphy, Camden Testerman, Connor Meseiros and Branden Sanders round out the top five
Matt Sanders, driver of the black and green #54 machine, takes the lead on lap one and puts a good five cars on the field. Sanders almost finds himself in big trouble after he plows the turn four wall coming to lap 3 but is able to continue and hang onto the lead.
Battle for the lead here on lap 8 between Sanders and Davis before we go under yellow. John Alford and Shane Zupo go around out of four. Just a little reminder here, the outside retaining wall is all aluminum while the inside wall are giant lego blocks. So as cars hit either one, most of the time they are able to continue with the help of some duct tape from the Arena Racing officials.
Sanders and Davis front row – Sanders pops up on the left rear of Davis in turn two, however, the start is waived off after officials deemed that Davis jumped the start. John Nickens, who would take over the lead, elects to take the outside on the restart which ultimately powers him to the lead. However, the race would be halted on lap 8 with the 88 sliding down the back stretch on his lid. Driver and car seem to be okay and he will return to the action.
Minus a couple yellow flags, John Nickens is able to hold the field off and take the win in the B-Main, also transferring to the top dog race. Brad Davis, Matt Sanders, John Alford and Shane Zupo rounding out the top as well as transferring to the Top Dog feature.
Unfortunately, I was not able to grab the starting lineup for the top dog race because I was too busy being a fan and enjoying the unique driver intros. Each starting position for the top dog race gets their own intro music under the spot lot, its very WWE but rather fun to watch and hear what song each driver picks. One of the most unexpected turn of events was when officials penalized Cullen Robers (third in points) & Cody Carlton (fourth in points) were not allowed to take the green due to working on the cars after the allotted time. “We didn’t have the tires on the car when the horn blew,” Roberts said after the race. “We had to put the tires back on. The officials said we were still working on the car.
Seven laps of hard racing in the top five, from the drop of the green flag before the first caution of the race. The 18 of Sanders goes for a solo spin out of four and into the lego blocks. Was able to get it turned around and return to the race. Testerman your leader on the ensuing restart. He hits the go fast pedal and jumps out to a massive 10-car lead. The field are two by three behind him for second.
We are slowed by another caution for the spin of Sanders out of four, sets the field up for another restart, where in this type of racing anything can happen. Murphy gets a great jump on the restart and grabs the lead on lap 18. Testerman & Medeiros go to war. Medeiros ends up into the turn one wall – his night ends before the halfway mark.
Murphy with a good start again hangs onto the top spot over Garrett Manes but the racing will be shortly halted for debris in turn four. Officials stack the field back up and get ready for 26-lap shootout. Just when you thought you were onto something and leading the race, Murphy is penalized for jumping the start and is sent to the rear of the field.
Murphy was able to make it back to the fourth position by lap 35 but it was a little to late to make anything happen. Fourteen-year-old Garrett Mane was able to old off points leader Camden Testerman for win number two on the evening. Testerman, Murphy, DiSavino, and Matt Sanders rounded out the top five.
After sweeping both the A-Main and Top Dog, we caught up with Manes to talk about his afternoon. “This feels awesome,” Manes told us. “I did not expect to win tonight. My dad set me up really well and I cannot thank God enough for getting me this win.” The day did not come easy for the young man as he told us he unloaded from the trailer with just a decent car. After working on it during practice the team really found something that worked for the driver. “After third practice we made a change to the car and went into the A-Main and was very successful with it.
“I have to thank God first off,” Garrett said. “My Mom and Dad, Theo, Chris and Kyle for helping me out. Pearson Mazda, BG, J&L Tile, United Solar, Bradley Mechanical, 7th Gear Auto Body, AEC, and GT Omega for all helping me out.”
Arena Racing will be back in action at the Richmond Coliseum for a double header weekend March 18th & 19th for some night racing. Make sure you check out www.arenaracingusa.com for the schedule and ticket options.
Top Dog Results
P1 #1 Garrett Manes: 50
P2 #17 Camden Testerman; 50
P3 #04 Larry Murphy: 50
P4 #55 Howie DiSavino: 50
P5 #54 Matt Sanders; 50
P6 #07 Shane Zupo; 50
P7 #91 John Alford; 29
P8 #18 Branden Sanders; 28
P9 #4 Brad Davis; 23
P10 #11 Conner Medeiros; 21
P11 #88 Ian Ogden: 7
DNS #27 Cullen Roberts
DNS #94 Cody Carlton