|Rumors of 99 Speedway sale
By Bill Poindexter
Record Staff Writer
Published Saturday, February 5, 2005
STOCKTON -- The rumor has spread like a synthetic oil spill
from a blown engine. Ken Clapp just hopes it will be quicker
and easier to clean up.
Speedway co-owners Bob Hunefeld of Stockton and Clapp said
this week the 20 acres on which the 58-year-old NASCAR track
sits on Wilson Way hasn't been sold, contrary to popular
bought Stockton 99 Speedway," Clapp said of the track, which
is scheduled to start the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series season
April 3 with a program that will include a 100-lap
doubleheader. "Nobody has made a deposit on Stockton 99
Speedway. Nobody has ventured to say they'd like to make a
On the business
end, Hunefeld and Clapp are contractually bound for two more
years. They also have contracts with sponsors. Personally,
Clapp said he has no interest in selling the track or
retiring. He has a daughter and son-in-law who work at the
track, and Hunefeld's son, Chris, runs concessions.
Word was Stockton
99 was sold during this offseason, but the buzz gets better -
or worse, if you're Clapp and Hunefeld. Only Stockton 99
wasn't just sold; it was purchased by Stockton developer Alex
G. Spanos. The story became juicier when word spread that
Stockton 99 would relocate to the Arch Road-Highway 99 area
near the airport south of the city, where a state-of-the-art
facility in the mold of Irwindale Speedway in Southern
California (with suites, elevators, a plush press box, etc.)
would be built.
"It makes a great
story, and I'm very flattered, but there's no truth to it,"
Before the truth
could come out, however, the rumor became airborne - and
Web-borne. It spread north to Galt, where 2004 Pure Stock
track champion John Medina heard about it; south to the
Modesto shop of three-time Late Model track champ Harry
Belletto; and even to the popular coastal destination of
Monterey, where 2004 Western Late Model champ Dave Byrd had
his eyes opened.
"I heard it last
week from a couple of people in Monterey and Campbell. From
what these guys say, it's on all the Web sites, too," Byrd
said with a chuckle. "Racers are the worst. In the winter,
people are just craving. I don't know who started it, but it's
picking up legs. Somebody's having fun doing the race track
opened the eyes of Elk Grove's Steve Fensler, since the SRL
Wild West Shootout series he coordinates has four dates for
100-lap races penciled in on the 99 calendar this season.
teletype, tell-a-racer, the three best modes of information,"
Fensler said Wednesday.
While Clapp again
is excited about the 2005 schedule, he acknowledged that for
several years, developers and investors have come calling as
to the availability of the land. The Spanos Group wasn't one
of them, according to Clapp and Hunefeld. Spanos spokespersons
couldn't be reached for comment.
interest in purchasing the track began in the early 1990s, and
an offer was made about four years ago. He said he and
Hunefeld were approached two years ago by a
"mega-million-dollar development company." Clapp described
three of last year's suitors as "big enough to play in the
Hunefeld passed each time.
"We haven't done
it," Clapp said. "We haven't sold it."
committed for the next few years at Stockton, totally
committed," Clapp said.
* To reach
assistant sports editor Bill Poindexter, phone (209) 546-8289