Late Model Hobby Division
1973 thru 1988




This year is the first season for the Late Model division, and as such becomes the start of what could be called Stockton's modern era. Ted Fritz, the X-rated cat from Modesto is behind the wheel of an Arlie Cook built 1967 Chevelle, while Dan Reed climbs into a 65 Pontiac, which he soon abandons for his more reliable 57 Chevy.

Reed establishes the division's first track record of 16.138 on April 27th. Reed breaks the record two more times this year, as does Ted Fritz, but the season's best mark is logged by Paul Dorritty of Modesto at 15.865 on August 10th.

Reed notches the division's first 4-way competition sweep on July twenty-seventh, and at the same time, the only other driver who will accomplish this feat (ten years later) starts his racing career. That driver is none other than Modesto's Steve McGovney.

The track rules this season allow for a maximum of 305 cubic inches, which most derive from boring out Chevy 283's.

Fritz and Reed share in the top racing stats with Fritz picking up twelve fast times, five dash wins, and twenty-one total wins, while Reed hits for six feature victories, and twenty-one main top five finishes. Other top runners on the year included Harry Belletto, Barry Mitchell, and Stockton's Al Abdullah. Ted Fritz collects the necessary points for the season title, finishing ahead of Reed, and Stockton's Gary White. Fritz also added two Merced championships and a state title to his list of racing awards before he retired.

In the production of this book, yet another piece of missing history was uncovered through the memory of Roger Keener of Stockton, and a dusty, yet proof positive, fourth place trophy, showing that contrary to many people's belief (mine included) the Hobby division, thought to have started the following year, did indeed have it's beginnings in 1973.

It began just like the current day Pure Stock class, with limited driver and car counts (21 total drivers on the season) as they raced for trophies only. Points were held at the local track level only, and the championship won by Stockton's Danny Smith, was 'unofficial' as no records were sent to NASCAR. Reporters of the day treated the fledgling division much the same as the Pure Stock's, with next to nothing in print, and a limited amount of finish records available to work with. Roger Keener himself notched five dash and three feature wins towards his fourth place showing, and on August-second Steve Roach of Stockton got the crowd's attention in a big way as he put his number 77 Ford into the front straight retaining fence and onto it's top to become the division's first roll-over. Stockton driver's Roger Bentz, and Ron Schultz were also high in the few stats found for the year.

In an interesting side note on the season, yet another record was involved. As Stockton Speedway is 'officially' certified as a true quarter mile, many other forms of record attempts were undertaken over the years, and Don Monico of Modesto used the track to establish world records in motorized skateborad action, with a standing start record of 14 miles per hours, and a flying one lap run of 17 m.p.h.

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