Originally Published Monday, November 5, 2001
Stockton 99 Speedway will have a new division as its premier division for the 2002 racing season.
The Pro Stock class, which has undergone changes in the past two years that have given the cars more of a Late Model Sportsman-type look, will become the premier division and now will be known as the Western States Late Model class. Track 40% owner Ken Clapp announced the news during the track's awards dinner Saturday night at the Stockton Inn.
Track statistician Jim Shiels said Sunday that car owner Tim Gillit of Lathrop and driver Mark Welch of Orangevale are among those having cars built. Welch was the NASCAR Pacific Coast Region champion in 1999 and 2000 while running in the Grand American Modified division at Stockton 99.
Contenders in the Western States Late Model class will compete for NASCAR Pacific Coast region awards in addition to track points.
Shiels said the Late Model Sportsman class, which returned this past season as the premier division at the track, again will be involved in a series similar to the Tri-Track Challenge, which wasn't resumed in 2001. The series will have four races at Stockton 99, Altamont Raceway Park and Madera Speedway.
Also Saturday night, it was time to count cash and collect trophies.
The big winner was Steve Belletto of Modesto. The Late Model Sportsman and Tri-Holiday Classic champion pocketed $15,900. Late Model runner-up Dave Byrd of San Jose earned $7,000, and rookie of the year Joey Zampa of Napa won $4,500.
Grand American Modified champ Paul Henry of Groveland received $1,727, Pro Stock champ Cary Treadway of Stockton won $975, and Pure Stock champ Danny Guibor earned $500.
Also winning rookie-of-the-year awards were Jay Linstroth of Citrus Heights in Grand American Modified, Jeff Lovelace of Stockton in Pro Stock and Michael Wendt of Lodi in Pure Stock.
Collecting most improved driver honors were Chris Wadsworth of Oakley in Late Model, Larry Hoover of Turlock in Grand Am, Doug Ollis of Modesto in Pro Stock and Ray Davis of Galt in Pure Stock. The Pure Stock B main title was won by Ray Bird of Stockton.
Also, Doug Shafer of Stockton (Late Model), Dave Davis of Turlock (Grand Am), Michael Carr of Stockton (Pro Stock) and John Medina of Galt (Pure Stock) were named mechanics of the year.
Stockton 99 official and chief pit steward Ron Roach of Stockton was named sportsman of the year in honor of his lengthy dedication to the track.
And finally, Shiels received the first ''The Boro'' award, which was named after Duane Borovec, the former track manager at Stockton 99 who passed away in February. The award, given to a person showing dedication to the sport and the people involved, left Shiels in tears.