By Bill Poindexter
Record Assistant Sports Editor
Pure Stock drivers will return to Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday after putting their cars on their trailers and leaving the track last weekend.
And they'll return to race under the same format and on the same tires as before.
''I've been talking to quite a few of the competitors. They're real anxious to come back racing,'' Stockton 99 general manager Ken Gross said Wednesday.
''We are racing this weekend. We've come to terms with the track,'' Pure Stock driver Jeff Saunders said.
It started when the Pure Stock heat races and trophy dash were canceled from Saturday night's program after it was discovered the treaded tires on the cars were pulling up the new sealer from the asphalt, which Gross said was a blistering 130 degrees at the time. The drivers also were miffed at a $15 entry fee per car in a division that doesn't receive pay.
''I'm surprised the situation boiled over as quick as it did,'' Gross said.
The drivers had a meeting Tuesday night, and those who were there decided to return this week.
''It seemed to be a positive thing,'' Gross said. ''They want to come back racing. That's the vote I got out of it. I've had a lot of letters and calls. I imagine I'll here more. Right now, we need to go back racing.''
NASCAR obviously agrees. Gross said he's ''been in conversations with Daytona Beach'' this week.
''This obviously has been an issue with them. Uprisings like this are not looked at as favorable in NASCAR's eyes,'' Gross said. ''It's being looked at close. It's my goal to put the pieces back together, and let's go racing.''
The Pure Stock schedule for Saturday isn't set in stone, but Gross figured it will consist of time trials, a trophy dash, a B main if needed and a main. And they'll do it on their treaded tires.
Here comes the tour
As of Wednesday, there were 33 entries for the NASCAR Southwest Series race April 27 at Stockton 99.
A few will be at the track today for two practice sessions -- from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. M.K. Kanke and Doug McCoun practiced Wednesday, and Greg Potts, Mike David and Eric Holmes were among drivers who were scheduled to practice Thursday.
Also, an autograph session involving Southwest Series drivers is scheduled for next Friday at The Graduate.
Altamont Raceway Park will be host to a Southwest Series race July 20.
At Sonoma, the 14th Nitro Nationals nostalgia drags will be held Saturday and Sunday at Sears Point Raceway. Among the hundreds of race cars will be 250-mph front-engine dragsters and a rod and custom car show for 1972 and earlier models. Gates are open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Tickets are $25 per day, $45 for a two-day pass and $5 per day for kids 7-12.
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Bill Poindexter, phone 546-8289 or
* Western Late Model: 1. Dave Byrd 118, 2. Mark Welch 102, 3. Harry Belletto 96, 4. Wes Miller 93, 5. Jeff Belletto 89.
* Grand American Modified: 1. Jason Philpot 106, 2. Steve Stacy 94, 3. Danny Contessotto 83, 4. John Unger 82, 5. Jason Kerby 81.
* Pure Stock: 1. Danny Guibor 59, 2. Johnny Bird 54, 3. Chad Holman 52, 4. (tie) Jeff Ahl, Steven Hall and Jeremy Hoff 44.
Around the track
* A victory in the opener and a runner-up finish in week two, and Dave Byrd is the early leader in Western Late Model points. This is a two-headed monster the rest of the class is competing against: Between Byrd and car owner Tim Gillit, they have 49 career main-event wins and 198 top-five finishes.
* Saturday's events: Western Late Model, Grand American Modified, Pure Stock, Baby Grand
* Information: 466-9999