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USG Night At The Races!


Although The Vintage Hard Tops Were Exciting To Watch Roll, Zane Lovelace Jr. Stole The Show

(May is Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel Month at the Speedway)


With the 2010 Season well underway, there have been plenty of exciting races to this point at the track dubbed “The Toughest Test in the West.”  And the excitement proved to be contagious on Saturday, May 15th, as the NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series kept rolling along with the Western Late Models, Street Stocks, Bombers, and the MMRA Mini Cups. Also on the ticket for the evening were the always popular Vintage Hard Tops in their North/South All-Star Showdown.


With the Involvement Rule back in place, the Western Late Models hit the asphalt surface with good intentions on their minds.  However, it didn’t take long for those intentions to go down a lap or two.  Due to the luck-of-the-invert, Michael Wendt (2) of Lodi and seventeen year old Michael Sandoval (17) of Ripon paced the field to green to get this one underway with Wendt driving strong into turn one for the lead.  Not to be outdone, the young Sandoval mirrored Wendt’s every move with the heart of a seasoned veteran as the two pulled away from the pack early on.  Just as the leaders were getting into heavy traffic, the first yellow of the race went flying on lap 29 when seventeen year old second generation driver Colby Potts (12) of Stockton and Zach Huffman (55) of French Camp made contact coming up off four which relegated both drivers to the back of the pack.  On the restart, Wendt continued his determined run out front, but was slowed once again on lap 32 when three cars stacked up on top of each other with the #12 of Potts getting the worst of it which, unfortunately, ended his night and brought with it, first the yellow, then the red for extensive clean-up.  Wendt, once again, took control on the restart, but much to his dismay, on lap 35, Defending Division Champion and third generation driver Justin Philpott (05) of Tracy made contact with the #86 of Danville’s Tim Spurgeon going off into turn one which brought out the third caution of the night and sent Spurgeon to the pits where he would remain for the rest of the race, and, Philpott to the tail-end of the longest line.  On the restart, Wendt assumed his position out front until lap 38 when it appeared something broke underneath his car which allowed both Zane Lovelace Jr. (46) of Roseville and Sandoval to scoot by him where both remained through to the checkers with Lovelace picking up the very surprising victory.  “We had a hotrod tonight,” said the very polite young Lovelace, “We had to bide our time and just pick them off one at a time, and we brought it home in one piece.”  Sandoval showed much promise for his future as he stuck it in there with the “old guys” to wrap up a fantastic second place run.  Wendt managed what was most likely a very disappointing podium finish in third while Points Leader Chad Holman (9) of Manteca continued his consistency with a fourth place finish.  The #6 of Modesto driver Mike Beeler’s return to the Speedway brought him home a top five.


As always, the Street Stocks are one of the most popular Divisions at any track.  And tonight, they proved why Stockton absolutely loves them.  Garland Tyler (73) of West Modesto landed on pole due to the ten-car invert with Escalon’s Brock Monroe (42) flanking him.  Monroe jumped out early to gain that all-important ground up front until lap 9 when Ben Lewis II (22) of Stockton made contact with Points Leader Sammy Solari (79) of Escalon which brought out the first yellow of the race and relegated both drivers to the tail-end of the field.  Monroe continued on where he left off as the race went back to green, but on lap 13, Solari made contact with Defending Division Champion Jeff Ahl (31) of Lodi which brought with it the second caution period and both drivers, again, were sent to the back for their involvement in the infraction.  No sooner had the green flag waved when the third and final yellow came out as four cars mixed it up going off into turn three with Solari getting the worst end of the deal which abruptly ended his night and his four race win-streak.  On the restart, Monroe looked as strong as he had all night and it appeared to be his night, but Lewis had other plans as he came all the way back through the pack and stole the lead away on lap 27 where he would not be denied as he cruised to his first-ever Street Stock victory.  “It feels good,” said the quiet-mannered driver, “This is the first win for me in this car.  These things are way faster than the Bombers I drove last year.”  Monroe would finish, most definitely, a disappointing second after leading the entire night with Dennis Saunders (91) of Modesto finishing on the podium in a very impressive third.  Atwater’s Jason Aguire (45) came from deep in the field to finish fourth while Livermore’s Mark Squadrito (3), who always seems to be there at the end, brought her home fifth.


After a week of contemplating regret, the Bomber Division regained its composure, if only until the green flag dropped.  Mike Terpstra (111) of Modesto and Travis Tucker (350) of Stockton got this one rolling from the front row with Tucker nabbing the early lead and controlling the race, despite the shadowing of his every move by Tom Dahl (004) of Stockton, until lap 13 when Dahl made his move, inside and low, to take the top spot for his own.  On lap 17, the #27 of Chad South lost it coming up off turn two which brought with it the first yellow of the night.  On the lap 17 restart, pandemonium broke out as several cars vying for the same plot of earth came together just below the flagstand which couldn’t help but grab the attention of the flagman who sent an immediate yellow flying, then a red.  After the track was once again clear, the green flag waved with Dahl back in command, if only until lap 18 when Rookie David Grimes (810) of Livermore took the lead coming out of two while Dahl’s luck over the last few weeks continued to deteriorate as he pounded the backstretch wall a ton bringing his night to yet another quick end and with that the third yellow in as many laps.  On the lap 18 restart, Grimes would enjoy the number one slot until lap 20 when he got loose coming off turn two which allowed second-generation driver Robbie Knittel (3) of Lodi to sweep beneath him for the lead.  From that point forward, Knittel would skate away from the field as he crossed below the checkers for his first-ever win.  “It was a good race all in all,” said the well-mannered Knittel, “It was a little rough in the beginning, but I managed to keep it together.”  Grimes would hold on to finish an extremely impressive second with Travis Tucker falling off just a bit, but still came up with a strong third place run which vaulted him to the early-season Point Lead.  Terpstra would finish fourth while the #043 of Stockton’s own Andy Rumsey came home in the number five spot.


The MMRA Mini Cups are always a welcomed sight on the high-banks at Stockton.  On this night, they were more impressive than ever.  Unfortunately for the fans in the stands as well as the racers, this would be a three-car shootout with Points Leader Travis Affonso (11), like his has all year, driving away with this one, from the drop of the green to the checkers, in dominating fashion as he swept the night away.  “The car was good again tonight,” said th eight year old Affonso, “I would like to thank my mom and dad for all their help.”  Stockton driver Cody Johnston (05) finished seond with Hunter Franklin (22), in his first race at the track, bringing her home third.


Wherever you go, the Vintage Hard Tops draw nostalgic crowds from far and wide.  Of course, this is no surprise sense these full-size throw-backs are reminiscent of days gone by.  Kendra McKay (7) of Healdsburg started on pole with Carmen Cavallero (44) of Graton alongside with Cavallero jumping out to what would be a short-lived lead as Jack Low (92) of Santa Rosa took to the front spot on lap 3 where he showed great promise until lap 16 when the #2 of Santa Rosa’s Conrad Cavallero, fresh back from London, England where he and Carmen (Cavallero) were involved in a commercial for Audi, decided it was his turn to bring this one home as he grabbed the lead away and sped below the checkers in this nail-biter, eight one-hundredths of a second in front of Low.  “Jack (Low) is a heck-of-a-guy, he’s only been racing these for two years,” Cavallero said of his friend, “If anyone is interested in racing these cars, we have up there on the runway.”  Of course, Low finished second with Charles Mart (00) of Salida having a solid run finishing on the podium in third.  Mike Friesen (77M) of Oakdale was fourth with Carmen Cavallero rounding out the top five.


Next Saturday, May 22nd, Stockton 99 Speedway Presents Whelen Night at the Races with the NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series Western Late Models, Grand American Modifieds, Street Stocks, Bombers, Basically-4-Cylinders and Mini Trucks/Mini Stocks.  Double Track Points are up for grabs in all Divisions.


The New Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, ¼-mile west of Highway 99.  For more information on tickets and times, please contact the Speedway Office at (209)466-9999 or visit their Website at

The New Stockton 99 Speedway is sponsored by Jackson Rancheria Casino Hotel, California Welding Supply, Budweiser, Alamo Alarm and Lodi Hampton Inn and Suites.


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