Taken from The RECORDS Web Page 5/5/00, http://www.recordnet.com/daily/sports/sports.html
Originally Published Friday, May 5, 2000
By Scott Linesburgh
Record Staff Writer
Eldon Kuntz has been attending races at Stockton 99 Speedway for 15 years, so he feels he knows a little bit about the typical racing crowd.
He said last Saturday night's incident, in which someone pulled out a gun during a fight in the stands, isn't something he expects to happen again, but it's something that can't be ignored.
''I firmly believe it was a one-time incident, but it was an eye-opening incident,'' said Kuntz, a Linden fan and sometimes sponsor. ''It tells you that it can happen here, just like it can happen anywhere. Unfortunately, these type of things have become a reality.''
Stockton 99 track manager Duane Borovec said track management has every intention of taking action, including an increased presence of security and new signs that clearly will state the track's rules of conduct.
''We consider it an isolated incident, but we certainly won't ignore it,'' Borovec said. ''This is a family sport, and we will take actions to make sure any problems are taken care of.''
Stockton 99 has had it's share of problems in the past, on and off the track. But Harry Belletto of Modesto, a 30-year veteran and two-time Late Model Sportsman track champion, said it has been cleaned up considerably over the years. But last Saturday's events won't help the track's reputation.
''It's a shame because people are going to remember this, and the track has done a good job of cleaning things up over the years,'' Belletto said. ''This hadn't ever happened before.''
Belletto said there's always a chance of trouble when you have a large crowd and the availability of alcohol.
''That really is it. It doesn't have a lot to do with racing,'' Belletto said. ''When you have a large group and alcohol, unfortunate things can happen. It could be a race or a ballgame or anything. Heck, I've been at a big wedding where there was drinking and there was a fight.''
Borovec said the track normally employs seven to 10 security guards per event, depending on the size of the expected crowd. He said there will be an additional two security guards at each event and that the guards will be stationed in trouble areas, although he declined to state where those areas are.
''We know where to watch for problems,'' Borovec said.
Borovec also said there will be a sign at the entrances that states:
''Stockton 99 is a family entertainment venue. Disorderly conduct or offensive actions by patrons will not be tolerated, and may be subject to arrest and prosecution.''
''Those have been the rules, but we want it posted so everyone is very aware,'' Borovec said. ''It will be strictly enforced.''
Kuntz, who used to sponsor the Pure Stock division through his business, Charter Way Auto Recyclers of Stockton, said all track management can do is enforce the rules.
''Sometimes, things happen that take away from the goodness of the place,'' Kuntz said. ''You just have to handle it, and I'm confident they will.''
* To reach reporter Scott Linesburgh, phone 546-8281 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org