(Manteca Bulletin, 8/18/1986) Manteca's Claud Darter (96) speeds his way to second place in a hobby stock race.
New to the 86 season was the changing by NASCAR of the feature division from Late Model Sportsmen to Late Model Stock. Also new was the first season of a higher level of west coast racing in the form of the NASCAR Southwest Tour division that staged it's first event at Stockton on April 19th. Local driver Ken Boyd upset more than a few of the 'hot shoes' by showing them the way to the checkered flag in a solid performance.
The now standard main event restart that allows the leader to ride out front was started this year on the sixteenth lap of the main event on June seventh, with Late Model rookie driver Larry Shafer in the lead, taking the flag from new season starter Nate Stoller.
Belletto had the hot ride on the year with ten fast times, but Tim Gillit was the heavy hitter in the side-by-side battles with nine feature wins, eighteen main top five's, and sixteen total overall wins, to claim the season title over Belletto and Reed. Steve Holmes and Ron Strmiska also turn in high marks in the season numbers.
Claude Darter of Manteca holds the quick hand this season in Hobby action with thirteen quick trips through the timing lights and also scoring twenty main event top five finishes. Third season driver John Gaalswyk of Ripon takes home eight dash plaques for the season, while Stockton's Fred Rathjen picks up eight main wins. Darter claimed the season crown in the closest point battle in the division's history as he was pushed to the final event by a steady effort from Rip Van Winkle who closed to two points on the final checkered flag.
Frank 'Big Mac' Macken took the semi main championship with Rookie of the year honors falling to Larry Shafer in another of his brother Mike's power-packed racers. Steve Johnson of Modesto was given the nod for most improved this season with Mike Shafer himself finally earning a much deserved Sportsman of the year award.
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