The final season of this history book saw a fourth division added to the busy Stockton Speedway schedule with the inclusion of the Pure Stock class providing plenty of tire (and engine) smoking action for the crash and bang minded fans.
And the fact that this book is in your hands shows that yours truly was back home at Stockton enjoying the finest racing the west coast has to offer and helping the new announcer Gene Samuelson off to a super season behind the mike. Earl Summers came back as the Chief Steward, with John Moreland moving back to the flagging duties. Retired late model driver Sonny Nabors took charge of the Grand Am tech, and Jim Foote took control of the scoring lights. Mark Vincelet moved from scoring to corner worker action, and Darren Beasley became involved with the Street and Pure Stock divisions.
On June fifteenth, Dave Byrd grabbed a rare record with the first ever double dash wins, taking the late model run in Gillit's racer, and jumping into a Grand Am to complete the trick.
July was an 'up & over' month, with the up being the Loudon N.H. Winston Cup win by Ernie Irvan, and the over being the first late model roll-over in several season's as Mike Ledbetter got John Graham's borrowed late model on it's roof just past the flagstand on July 27th.
Yet another big number went into the record books on September ninth, as Robert Miller took his eighteenth feature victory of the season to become the all time single season main event winner in the track's fifty year history.
Racing lost another legend this month as Ivan Baldwin died of an apparent heart attack while out for a Sunday driver near his east coast home. Ivan had spent a number of years working for top Winston Cup drivers since leaving the Stockton area.
On the final night of season point action, track official and former Stockton flagman Nate Stoller wound up with a broken leg after being clipped by grand am driver Jim Marchino of Modesto as Nate was in the process of re-lining the cars after a red flag.
Not to be outdone, Retired driver Bob Brown of Stockton gained a broken leg during the season ending Enduro event. Brown, who was spraying water on the track from the pit gate area, turned his back at just the time a car hit the gate, which broke free and slammed Brown to the ground.
In racing action on the season, Harry Belletto turned out to have the 'rocket' as he nailed thirteen quick trips through the lights, and only his 'infamous' hard luck kept him for a second season title as he suffered mechanical problems on several night's. His Son, and second generation driver Steve, was able to hold up the family honor by winning all three of the year's 'Tri-Holiday 100 lap events. Dave Byrd was a picture of perfection as he guided Gillit's Conte Trucking Special to seven dash wins, eight feature wins, and twenty-three main top five finishes to score the season championship ahead of Belletto and Kamper. Bob Strandwold of Modesto started out the season with a hot hand and the point lead but elected to compete at other tracks.
While fifteen drivers took a share of the twenty-five dash wins, it was all Robert Miller from there on in the Grand Am action. He put his Champion Chassis racer across the finish line first in nineteen events, including a record setting eight in a row, and also notched another all time mark with twenty-four main top five runs. His season long dominance gave him the championship over rookie of the year runner Tony Silva of Sacramento. Steve Stacy and Robert Knittel both advanced to the Grand Am ranks this year with both proving they still had the 'right stuff'. Stacy ran third in season points.
Street Stock action showed Bud Beltrama just as fast as ever with nine quick trips, with Dan Dabbs and Victor Machado each gaining five dash plaques each. Jerry Tripp nailed eleven feature victories, including a division record six in a row, and picked up nineteen overall wins on the year, to finish second in the final points to a season long steady effort and twenty-two main top five finishes by Dabbs. Machado finished third in points with John Vanderwerff of Manteca and Jerry Crawford also making the battle worthwhile.
Rookie titles this year went to Randy Liles of Dinuba in late model, Tony Silva in grand am, and Kim Mountjoy of Stockton in Street Stock. Most improved were Greg Kamper in late model, Geano Contessotto of Stockton in grand am, and Jerry Tripp in Street Stock.
Although there was no 'official' champion for the new Pure Stock division, Pete Anderson Jr., of Stockton was the dominate driver, followed closely by Stockton drivers Kevin Touchstone and Mark Youngblood. Cindy Quarstrom was given the nod as the most improved from start to finish on the year.
To date, the decade of the 90s belong to Harry Belletto and Ken Boyd, with Belletto winning twenty-six mains, running off eighty-eight main top five finishes, piling up sixty-five overall wins, and ninety-three total top finishes. Boyd has twenty-five fast times and fifteen dash wins to his credit.
As a final note to the season, following the old adage of 'good things come, and good things go', it was announced that after 40 years of service, our top concession worker 'Del' Beyer was calling it a career, and along with her, we would be losing her daughter Cheryl in the pit snack stand. Their smiling faces will be sorely missed each Saturday night.
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