It was out with the old and in with the new this season as the Limited Modifieds came into play at 99 Speedway, with Clyde Palmer of San Jose taking the first feature win, and also the first four-way competition swap on April sixth. Palmer also recorded the first division track record of 15.80 on opening day. Bert Foland of Mountain View lowered the record a tick two weeks later, but Palmer came back to post a 15.72 that held through the season.
The old Roadster habit of naming the cars after their owners or builders came back into fashion as newspaper reports of the day listed Jack McCoy as driving the #23 Rosemar Special'.
As would be expected with any new division, especially one with the cost factors the Modified's presented, the car counts that first season were low and the fan count suffered as a result. On August first, it was announced that the Modified show would be shifted from the weekend to Wednesday night. At the same time the infield was graded into a figure eight form for the introduction of the 1938 through 1958 stock car figure eight claimers, that moved into the weekend slot the following week, with Walt Williams of Fremont winning the first feature event
The following Wednesday night, only five Modifieds showed up to race and the division was dropped for the remaining 1962 racing schedule.
One of the drivers in the figure eight action was Dick Carter of Oakland, the 1960 state claimer champion behind the wheel of a 1950 Ford V-8.
While this form of racing was having great success on several of the area dirt tacks, the asphalt of Stockton allowed for much greater speed. Week after week major injuries occurred at the X sending drivers away with broken limbs and serious head injuries. After running the last two races of the 62 season, the division was dropped and the cars came back in 63 to race on the oval as 99 Claimers.
Palmer, Dick Ramsey, Brazil Cliff Yiskis of San Jose, and Gary Johnson of Modesto were the top suit runners for the Modified division with the season championship falling to Palmer, whose racing history dated back to the Roadster days in 1949. Clyde retired in 1968 at the age of fifty, and currently lives in the San Jose area.
At the top of the
performance list for the Claimers it was Harold Weaver of Modesto, George Nighsonger of
Modesto, Dick Carter, Gary Richardson of Modesto, and Steve Pasada of Stockton, with the
title going to Richardson.
The strictly stock 99 Claimers are now on the oval and the Modifieds are back in force for the 63 season, with Jack Houston back on the flagstand. A claim rule is in force for the Stockers that allows any fan in the stands to buy a car for $99.00 less tires, racing seat and belts. Newspaper reports of the day still refer to the Speedway as 99 Stadium.
Jack McCoy was
the hot hand in this year's Modified action with a track record of 15.65 on August ninth
and a four way competition sweep on August 23rd. He notched (continued)
Gary Stagno of Manteca debuted at Stockton 99 in March of 1963. This is a picture of the 17 year old's #72 Modified Hard Top's first win. (Picture and article courtesy of Gary Stagno Collection).
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