(STOCKTON, CA--June 15, 1997)--Youth was served in the NASCAR-sanctioned Winston Racing Series at Stockton 99 Speedway Saturday night when three rookies--Nathan Tucker, Mark Youngblood and Burney Lamar--combined to capture the win, place and show positions in the Craftsman Tool Night Late Model Sportsman main event. Pure Stock division graduate Youngblood of Stockton was the pole sitter, but fell behind Street Stock grad Tucker on the green flag of the 30-lap affair that was run without a yellow flag. Afterward, the Sonora driver was ecstatic: "I knew we could do it. Some guys wait a long time for their first win, and we got ours in our rookie season."
Sacramento's Lamar, who at 16 is the track's youngest first year driver and is making the transition from go-karts, held off veteran Harry Belletto for third. Belletto of Modesto, who at 55 is seeking his second Late Model championship at Stockton, started seventh and ended up fourth. His effort, however, was good enough to hold off his nearest competitors in the season point chase. Mike Terpstra of Modesto, second to Belletto and making his first start since hurting an arm three weeks ago, was fifth; while Ron Strniska, Sr., currently third in points, finished seventh. Strmiska was fortunate to even be running. After suffering some mechanical problems while practicing on Thursday, the Manteca driver borrowed his old car from Wayne Pierce in order to stay in the season point chase.
Lady Luck also played a part in Lamar's being able to finish third. A bizarre accident in a heat race saw the entire front and rear window and roof assembly fly off his sleek r acer making it appear like a convertible with roll bars. Thanks to a heavy application of duct tape, the teenager was able to post his best-ever finish.
The win for Tucker enabled him to move into fourth place in the season point standings. With nine races in the books and 10 more to follow, Belletto leads Terpstra by 63 (549-486) with Strmiska (479) and Tucker (440) still within earshot.
The Grand Am division almost duplicated the Late Model non-yellow performance as only one caution slowed the 25-lap event. Tony Silva of Sacramento took the early lead with season point leader Steve Stacy of Stockton slipping into second on lap eight. Stacy drew side by side with Silva on the front straight three laps later, taking the point position on lap-12. Robert Knittel of Lodi moved to the second place position on lap-20, with Bud Beltrama going to third as Silva slid back to the fifth behind Bob Reichmuth of Manteca as the checkered flag fell. After Stacy briefly celebrated his fourth feature win of the year, he pulled to the claim area where Silva, who finished second in Grand Am points a year ago and is currently fourth, put up the required money to claim the motor of the winner.
After 11 races, Stacy, who is seeking his first-ever track championship, holds a comfortable 173-point lead over Howard Hoffman of Tracy (803-630).
Stockton's Jerry Tripp continued his domination of the Street Stock division. Only a trophy dash victory by '96 champion Dan Dabbs of North Highlands prevented Tripp from registering his second clean sweep of the season. Starting 14th in a 16-car field, Tripp was fifth by lap-five, fourth a lap later, second on the next go-round and in front of the field on lap-eight. Four laps later he commanded a full straight lead on the field. A series of yellows slowed the action from laps 15 through 20, jumbling the field behind the fast moving Tripp who notched his seventh win in 10 starts.
The season point leader was followed to the checkered by John Vanderwerff of Manteca, Dabbs, who has won the other three Street Stock events, Jeremy Hammon of Lodi and Ken McCarty of Groveland. Tripp's lead over Dabbs after 10 races is 165 (821-656) with Vanderwerff third at 615.
Teenager Adam Ramsdale of San Jose, in only his second start, attempted to duplicate the efforts of the Late Model rookies in a 19-car Pure Stock field. Ramsdale took the early lead on the Budweiser-sponsored quarter-mile paved oval, but could not hold off season point leader Gary Shafer, Jr. of Stockton who pulled from deep in the pack to fourth on lap-five and moved past Ramsdale on lap-nine. No yellows slowed the event as Shafer rolled to his fourth feature triumph of he season in eight races. At the checkered, it was three other Stockton pilots--Kannai Scantlen, Doug Lane, and Jeff Lovelace--with Dave Wiles of Denair completing the top five.
While Shafer is dominating the season point chase by 146 points over his nearest competitor, the race for second behind him is close with only 38 points separating the second through seventh place runners. Lodi's Rick Bentz is second, followed by Lane and Donna Treadway of Stockton in third and fourth. Wiles is fifth, with Kevin Touchstone and Lovelace of Stockton sixth and seventh.