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Belletto gets 2nd straight track title

STOCKTON - Jeff Belletto clinched his second consecutive championship at Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday night without a lot of drama in front of an estimated 2,000 spectators.

The Modesto driver took fourth in the first 50-lap main behind Justin Philpott of Tracy, Nic Belletto of Modesto and Matt Scott of Pine Grove. Philpott won the trophy dash.

Jeff Belletto also won the second Late Model main and did doughnuts on the front straightway to put his stamp on his feat.

Brandon Jones of Lodi won the Pure Stocks trophy dash and appeared to have won the final race of the season and the championship, but was disqualified in the tech pit following the race. Guido Bindi Jr. of Stockton also was disqualified.

Tyler Guzman of Oakdale, who was second in points, took the season crown with his fifth-place finish, and Rodney Tripp of Stockton finished as runner-up despite taking third in the main behind Ben Lewis and Robert Dueck, both of Stockton.

"It's been a tough year," said Guzman, 17, who earned his first championship in his first full season. "I got put into the wall early in the year and one week I had to borrow a car from Chad Holman - I couldn't have won it without that. I just focused on finishing in the top three or five each week."

Joseph Reichmuth of Manteca finished the 2012 season with a third-place finish in the B4 main event behind Mark Jacke of Stockton and Brian Corder of Modesto to repeat as that division's champion.

Dave Kong of Stockton, second in the season points, won the trophy dash but crashed into a barricade on a chicane course set up for the B4's.

The added dogleg turn diverted the cars into the infield after turn 2 and back onto the track for turn 3.

"I've seen the chicane before, but I've never driven it," Reichmuth said. "I thought it was fun. It's too bad (Kong) crashed. I had a front-row seat when it happened. I was worried about the other drivers (crashing) going into the narrow turn and lost a lot of speed coming out of the turn. This championship was a tough one because there are so many drivers who could have won it."

Jason Aguirre of Atwater won the Super Stocks season title with his fifth-place finish in the main.

Aaron Coonfield of Riverbank won his second main of the season, followed by Mike Graham of Hughson, Matt Erickson of Lake Don Pedro and Chad Holman of Manteca. Graham earned the dash victory.

Scott Winters of Tracy essentially wrapped up the Modifieds season title with a second-place finish in the first main after finishing behind Jason Bamberg of Roseville. Results of the second main were unavailable at press time.

John Mamula of Rocklin won the Modifieds dash, and Jessica Clark of Westlake Village won the Star Modifieds dash.


Son to drive No. 74 Belletto car

Harry Belletto's familiar No. 74 car will return to Stockton 99 Speedway today, but the track's winningest driver will be watching from the pit area.

Belletto is sidelined because of back surgery, and his son, Steve Belletto, will be in his car for the NASCAR Western Late Model twin 50-lap races at Stockton 99. The program begins at 6 p.m., and will include Modifieds, Super Stocks, Pure Stocks and B4s.

Harry Belletto, 69, has been one of the best-known and most successful drivers in the area since he began his career in 1970. He has more than 500 career wins at Stockton 99, including main events, semi main events, heat races and trophy dashes.

Sept 15th RACES

Green flag: 6 p.m.

Divisions: NASCAR Western Late Models, Modifieds, Super Stocks, Pure Stocks and B4s

Information: (209) 466-9999;

He had back surgery four months ago. He said he does not believe his career is over, but the car has been ready to go.

"I do miss it, and the car has just been sitting in the shop for a year," Harry Belletto said. "I told Steve 'why don't you take it out and race it.' We took it to practice, and I've got to say it was pretty fast."

When Harry will be ready to go is an open question. He said he judges his progress by what he uses to get around.

"I'm down to one crutch, which is much better than what it was," he said. "I started in a wheelchair, then a walker, then two crutches and now one. Soon I'll get throw that last crutch away."

Belletto began coming back to Stockton 99 a few weeks ago. His son, Jeff Belletto, and grandson, Nic Belletto, are regular WLM competitors.

"I would love to be out there with my sons and my grandson," Belletto said. "I do have a lot of therapy to do. But I don't want an injury to be the reason I don't run again. I want it to be my decision."

Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or




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

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