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Another Fourth of July Article: Homeless Drivers!

Fireworks all night long

Modesto racer is third in his family to win Firecracker





Record Correspondent

July 01, 2012 12:00 AM

Wes Miller of Turlock (57) and Rich Lundgren of Rio Linda (45) run side by side during the 65-lap Grand American Modified main event Saturday night at Stockton 99 Speedway. Cody Thompson of Sacramento won the race. Record Photo

STOCKTON - Modesto's Jeff Belletto played the waiting game to perfection.

Belletto knew there would be collisions with 19 cars competing in the Firecracker 150 Tri-Holiday Classic Series.

Belletto took the lead from Pine Grove's Matt Scott on the fourth of 10 yellow flags and avoided a seven-car pileup with four laps to go to win the NASCAR Western Late Model race for his first Firecracker title in front of 2,688 spectators Saturday night at Stockton 99 Speedway.

Belletto's Firecracker win was the seventh for his family, with his father, Harry Belletto, garnering four titles and brother, Steve Belletto, with two.

"This is such a tough race to win," said an emotional Jeff Belletto while hugging nephew Nick Belletto, who finished in second ahead of Scott and Chris Scribner of Loomis.

"It's great to finally be able to join my father and brother as a winner here."

The victory capped an exciting night of racing at the track.

After leading most of the Pure Stock 50-lap main event, Stockton's Guido Bindi Jr. lost a wheel in a collision with Stockton's Jeremy Tucker on the final turn but managed to finish the race for his first victory.

Tucker dove inside Bindi on lap 50 and tried to edge him out, but Bindi held his line when the two tangled within sight of the finish line. Bindi nearly lost control after they separated but pulled his car straight in the last 50 feet.

"My dad taught me how to drive like that," Bindi said. "He used to take me out with him (bird) hunting out in dirt fields and he would do doughnuts. When I'd drive he'd put his foot all the way down on the gas pedal and I would have to keep (the car) under control. When you're sliding like I was, you have to walk the back end in (straight) without overcorrecting."

It was Bindi's first main event win to go along with his dash victory earlier in the afternoon. He said fellow driver Rich Harper helped him develop last year.

"I was determined to get across the finish line," Binidi said. "I'm glad to finally get this win for my dad and for my sponsors. My dad and my cousin, Skeeter, do a lot of work on my car."

Stockton's Darin Adler finished second after getting a flat tire on the fourth lap and working his way back up the rest of the race.

Riverbank's Aaron Coonfield won the Super Stock Division main ahead of Atwater's Jason Aguirre and Hughson's Mike Graham, respectively.

Coonfield also won the trophy dash ahead of Oakdale's Brock Monroe.

Sacramento's Cody Thompson took the Grand American Modifieds checkered flag in the 60-lap main ahead of Jay Lindstroth of Citrus Heights and Mike Regelman of Ripon.

Jason Philpot of Sacramento won the trophy dash ahead of Thompson.

Stockton 99 hosts the North State Challenge Series next Saturday featuring late models, along with Legends of the Pacific, USAC Ford Focus Midget Twins, Mini Cups and the second 199-lap Enduro Series race of the season.



Attn. Visitors; Rooms available at Stockton 99's New Official Hotel!

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