(Stockton, Ca.--May 18, 1997)The fact that Tim Bost was the 81 st and last car to arrive for Stockton 99 Speedway's NASCAR-sanctioned Winston Racing Series program Saturday night was of little consequence. The Rocklin driver arrived with about 30-minutes left in the qualifying period, unloaded and, with no hot laps, qualified ninth in a field of 17 Late Model Sportsmen. Using his eight-lap heat race as a tune-up, Bost finished in front of two-time Stockton champion Ron Strmiska, Sr. earning his way into the trophy dash. The two repeated their one-two finish in the dash; then made it three-for-three in the main event.The evening's fast qualifier was Mike Terpstra of Modesto; and, an inversion of six, put Jeff Belletto of Modesto on the pole. Nathan Tucker of Sonora grabbed the initial lead as the 30-lap event turned into an array of yellow flags that led to the loss of several would be winners. Season point leader Harry Belletto was the first casualty when Tucker bobbled off the second turn causing the 1995 track champion to take a hard rub on the back straight wall damaging his steering.Terpstra then moved to the front with two-time track champion David Philpott of Tracy and Stockton's Brent Seitz in hot pursuit. Bost, meanwhile, after starting ninth, was lurking back in fourth. A long yellow on lap-18 resulted in Philpott exiting the Budweiser sponsored quarter mile paved oval with overheating problems. Seitz was forced into the pits for repairs after being involved in a spin. Then, current second place point runner Jim Pettit II of Prunedale fell by the wayside when something broke resulting in a hard slam into the wall off turn four coming to the re-start flag. That left Terpstra seemingly on his way to his first-ever feature triumph with Bost and Strmiska, Sr. in hot pursuit. Terpstra, though, pulled up lame on lap-22 with Bost inheriting the lead with Strmiska serving as his caddy in second. When the checkered flag was finally waved, Bost gladly accepted the $700 first place money with Strmiska, Tucker, C.J. Janke of Reno and 16-year old Burney Lamar of West Sacramento completing the top five. As the result of the senior Belletto's and Pettit's early exits, the season point race was tightened considerably. Only 67-points separate the top six--with Belletto (369) still on top by 10 over Pettit (359) followed by Terpstra (353), Strmiska, Sr.(326), Seitz (306) and the rookie Tucker (302).
The yellow flag malady affected the Grand American Modified feature, too. Incoming point leader Steve Stacy of Stockton seemingly had positioned himself to register his fourth main triumph by posting his sixth fast time in seven events. That resulted in his starting sixth on the grid with Bud Beltrama of Stockton in charge of the pole position duties for the 25-lap, 17-car feature. The first four laps produced two yellow and two red flag conditions as half the field tried to exchange fenders and paint jobs. Beltrama lost control of his racer and piled into Paul Guthmiller of Manteca to cause one yellow with Guthmiller heading to the infield for the third week in a row. Stacy suffered some damage later and was forced into the infield, as well. Darin Halterman of Stockton was credited with the fourth lap lead and held strong until being passed by a fast moving Robert Knittel of Lodi, who originally started fifth, but was forced to come from the back of the pack after being bruised in one of the early race skirmishes. The event ran yellow free for the remaining 16 laps with Knittel, the 1994 and '95 Street Stock champion posting his first career Grand Am feature victory. Behind Knittel came Howard Hoffman of Tracy, Jeff Thomas of Stockton, Bob Reichmuth of Manteca and Halterman. Due to the absence of second place runner Tony Silva of Sacramento, Stacy nevertheless padded his season point lead. Stacy leads Silva by 122 (533-411) with Hoffman hot on Silva's heels at 409.
The Jerry Tripp-Dan Dabbs stranglehold continued in the Street Stock division. Coming into the evening, Tripp had recorded four fast times and Dabbs the other two in six previous events. Both drivers had collected three main event wins. Tripp added to his fast time collection; then started 13th in a 16-car feature. The first lap lead fell to Jeremy Hammon of Lodi, who was passed on lap four by Kim Mountjoy of Stockton. A red flag fell on lap-l l as first time 1997 runner Mike Piona took a hard hit into the turn three wall and wound up on his roof. Fortunately, the Lodi driver was unhurt. Pete Anderson, Sr. of Stockton grabbed the 1ead on the re-start with Tripp taking the fourth slot two circuits later. Tripp was second by lap-15 and passed Anderson for the lead on lap-2 1. Tripp continued to the checkered flag to make it win number four on the season and also to complete a rare clean sweep due to his heat and dash win earlier in the program. In line behind the winner came Anderson, Mountjoy, John Vanderwerff of Manteca, and Hammon. Tripp's season point margin over Dabbs, the defending track champion, is now 59 (597-538).
Most of the attention in the Pure Stock division was focused on Gary Shafer, Jr. of Stockton, who came into their 20-lap main with a chance to get his name in the record books for winning a fourth straight event. Shafer's evening got off to a good start--posting his career first fast time--then, started 16th in a 21 -car field. Donna Treadway of Stockton took the early lead and was passed by another Stockton pilot Kannai Scantlen on the third circuit. Scantlen never looked back in a non-yellow event that resulted in his f rst ever win. Shafer, meanwhile, spun three different times, but still managed to finish in the top-10 in ninth place. Scantlen was followed to the checkered by two Denair drivers, Aaron Mundello and Dave Wiles, with Richard Teicheira of Manteca fourth and Rick Bentz of Lodi fifth.