On May 30th., of this year, the track put on a new, but short lived tradition called "The first annual Little Indy". As you could guess it was a 500-lap race. The event started 38 cars with 17 still on hand at the end. Ed Andreeta of Modesto took the win in three hours and one minute, followed across by Charlie Sanchez, and Buck Wenzel, both three laps down. The event carried a then staggering $2,500 purse with $750 paid to the winner.
On August eighth of this year Johnny Brazil became the third driver in the track's history to make a five way competition sweep, winning his first of 99 feature victories in the process. A first newspaper recording of a semi third on the same night was given to a driver by the name of Gray Johnson of Modesto, who would go on to fame in Winston West Grand National competition. Four years later he will become the father of current Late Model track record holder Steve Johnson.
Joe Giusti, (left), notches seven clash wins, eight main
wins, thirteen main top five finishes and twenty five total wins to nail down his first of
two 99 Speedway titles. Harold Culver of Stockton took the state crown for Hardtop action.
In the 58-59 off season the front and back crash wall 2x12 planks we torn out and are replaced by the concrete you see standing today, and retaining fences are added at each end.
And if you have ever wondered just how far a driver will go to see his name in print, follow this story dated 5-1-59 that tells of a Merl Murphy of Modesto who locked up his throttle off turn two and blasted full steam into the infield to crush the entire front end of the ambulance. Murphy retuned to the event, but the ambulance was D.O.A. at the local body shop.
Also on this same night, after seven long years, the Hardtop track speed record was broken by Leroy Van Connett of Galt, with a 16.89 clocking. Van Connett will go on to a stellar career in open wheel racing over the coming years. Left is Leroy visiting 99 in 2002.
On May 29th, the second annual, and what turned out to be the last annual little Indy' was staged with Johnny Blackwell taking over on the 389th lap and beating Joe Guisti by ten laps at the finish.
Some side notes on the year included Joe Rushton
of Hughson driving a 37 Dodge, Johnny Brazil behind the wheel of "The Manteca
Rocket", with go kart and bicycle events also being run at the track For the second
season in a row, and the final time ever to date, Brazil notched a five way competition
sweep. Our current 1997 Chief Official, Earl Summers, #15, shows in print as a second place heat
runner on September 9th.Pictures above in car #15 is Trophy Dash Winner Earl
Summers on May 20, 1960!
Pictured on the right is Johnny Brazil, #1, hung up on the wall, Chuck Rieger spinning with Earl Summers trying to avoid him.
Brazil, #2 below, goes wild this season setting division all
time best standards including nine dash wins, six dash wins in a row, thirteen feature
wins, nine features in a row, and thirty-seven total wins. But as it still is today, the
winner doesn't always collect the points as Joe Giusti takes the 99 title for the second
straight year, the first driver to win
These six pictures are courtesy of the Sheldon Boone Collection.
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