2011 Local Tracks
STOCKTON 99 SPEEDWAY
Record Staff Writer
January 19, 2011 12:00 AM
STOCKTON - Carol and Tony Noceti hope their new long-term deal to run Stockton 99 Speedway sends a clear message to auto racing drivers, fans and sponsors.
"We're here, and we're going to stay here for a long time," Carol Noceti said. "I think it's important people know we're dedicated to running this track for a long time.
The Nocetis have signed a 10-year contract to promote NASCAR racing and other events at the 65-year-old track located on Wilson Way. They originally had a five-year agreement that began when the track reopened in 2009, but the couple renegotiated with track co-owners Bob Hunefeld and Ken Clapp.
Stockton 99 averaged 1,600 fans per show in 2010 and recently was designated a top-10 NASCAR home track for the second year in a row from among 82 facilities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
"It's a good deal for both sides, and we're very happy working with the Nocetis," said Chris Hunefeld, who is co-majority manager of the track with his father. "They are in the top-10 of NASCAR tracks in the first two years they've run a track, so they are doing a great job."
Racing in California has been struggling for years. In less than two decades, the number of NASCAR tracks has plummeted from 19 to three - Stockton 99, All-American Speedway in Roseville and Toyota Speedway in Irwindale. And Stockton 99 didn't operate for two years.
Bob Hunefeld and Clapp sold Stockton 99 to land developers after the 2006 season, but the housing market worsened and the developer defaulted. The Nocetis signed up before the 2009 season and spent more than $1 million of their own money to reopen the track.
"When we opened it, the economy was already going down. It was our desire to open it up and see how it would do," Carol Noceti said. "As it turned out, we've been able to keep the place going, and if we can sustain this through these tough times, we think it's going to thrive in better times."
Clapp promoted races for more than 40 years and said he's impressed with how the current promoters have done.
"They pay their bills, and they run an honest operation, which is about the nicest thing that you can say about somebody," Clapp said. "They deserve to be successful."
Race team owner Dave Philpott said he believes people in the local racing business will see the new contract as a good sign.
"It's good to know it's going to be there, since there are not too many places left," Philpott said. "It gives you hope."
Details of the 2011 schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.