BCRA and USAC Midgets will also Race at Stockton 99 this year. See 2001 Schedule.
Originally published Tuesday, January 16, 2001
By Bill Poindexter
Record Assistant Sports Editor
Gentlemen, shut off your engines. Now, start them again.
There's bad and good news on the local auto racing front.
The Tri-Track Challenge is out for 2001, but the Late Model Sportsman class is back as the premier division at Stockton 99 Speedway. Shell Oil is out as the sponsor, and Union 76, the official fuel of NASCAR, is in.
''I've taken Tri-Track off the road and stopped it in Stockton. We're excited. We're coming back as the premier division. We're going to revive Late Models as far as Stockton goes,'' said Ken Gross, the former Tri-Track Challenge director who has been hired at Stockton 99 to coordinate the Late Model division.
As of Monday, Stockton 99 had 16 Late Model dates scheduled for this season. Each main event will run 76 laps -- Union 76, get it? -- except for the three 100-lap events in the Tri-Holiday Classic. And, since a minimum of 18 races is needed to make the class eligible to run for the NASCAR Pacific Coast Region title, track manager Duane Borovec said Monday he'll run at least two twin 38-lap mains on dates to be determined.
There also is the prize money factor, which Borovec said is ''as much or more than the Tri-Track.'' If a driver attempts to run in 15 of the 18 races, he'll make money finishing as low as 15th in points.
''I think we're offering a good deal. I'm enthused to be a part of it,'' Borovec said. ''Stockton, all of a sudden, is the home to Late Model stock car racing. We're back to being the bellwether.''
Tri-Track talks fell apart because of ''scheduling conflicts and such,'' according to Gross, and it finally was called off Friday. Gross, for one, was sorry to see it go.
''It was a huge success,'' he said. ''It was pleasing to everybody from promoters to fans to the competitors and sponsors. It was a big fan draw, and it had all the elements to continue to be a success.''
Now, what of the Grand American Modified division, which is out after three years as the premier division at Stockton 99? The class that has produced back-to-back NASCAR Pacific Coast Region champion Mark Welch of Orangevale returns to being the second division, but Borovec said several drivers ''are pumped up'' at the thought of running for a track championship. Borovec said Welch will run his Grand American Modified at Madera.
''I don't think I'll have the 26, 28 cars (each race), but I think we'll have 20,'' he said.
Borovec also expects close to 20 cars in the second season of the Pro Stock class.
* To reach assistant sports editor Bill Poindexter, phone 546-8289 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org