2002 Schedule

Originally Published Friday, May 3, 2002

Miserable weekend for aching driver

By Bill Poindexter

Record Assistant Sports Editor

It's been six days since the NASCAR Southwest Series Stockton 125, and there still are plenty of leftovers.

* Saturday couldn't have gone much worse for Mike David of Modesto. His Ford Taurus blew the right front tire, and he hit the wall at about 170 mph on lap 33 of the Winston West Grand Prix 200 at California Speedway in Fontana.

After finishing 20th in the 22-car field, David flew to Stockton but missed practice at Stockton 99 Speedway. His qualifying time was 31st out of 37 drivers, which put him in the B main. David got as far as turn one on lap one. Scott Busby of Martinez spun out in front of him, then Danny Burson of Albuquerque, N.M., smashed into him from behind.

David's day of double duty lasted all of 33 laps.

''I thought I had it missed, then the guy behind me plowed us,'' David said.

At least Burson wasn't doing 170 when he hit David.

''I'm sore. (The crash in Fontana) happened so quick there was nothing we could really do about it,'' said David, who still managed to smile through it all. ''It killed the car, though. That's why we were so late getting here.''

David Gilliland of Riverside obviously enjoyed his doubleheader more. He didn't qualify for the Stockton 125, either, but he had $8,641 in his wallet after finishing fifth in the Winston West race.

* Of 37 drivers, 36 qualified under 14 seconds. No. 37, Scott Schmidt of Fort Lupton, Colo., was timed at 14.053. Jim Pettit II of Prunedale set the pace at 13.337, which still didn't break Steve Johnson's long-lasting track record of 13.232, set May 12, 1990.

The cutoff at No. 16 was Doug McCoun of Prunedale at 13.556. Steve Belletto of Modesto qualified 17th, .002 seconds behind McCoun. Belletto won the B main to transfer to the Stockton 125, where he was the top-finishing rookie in seventh. Belletto also won the B main on April 6 at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, then finished fourth in the main.

''The driver just has to work on his qualifying,'' a smiling Belletto said. ''That is not where you want to be."

* The B main resembled a typical Late Model main at Stockton 99. Joining Belletto in the field were Ron Strmiska Jr. of Manteca, David Philpott of Tracy, Eric Holmes of Escalon, Joey Zampa of Napa, Chris Wadsworth of Oakley and Mike Ledbetter of Ceres.

Strmiska finished second to Belletto to transfer to the Stockton 125, which he won for his first Southwest Series victory. Strmiska passed Burney Lamar of West Sacramento with three laps left.

* To reach assistant sports editor Bill Poindexter, phone 546-8289 or
e-mail bpoindex@recordnet.com

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