WELCH NOW FIVE OF EIGHT AT STOCKTON 99 SPEEDWAY
(STOCKTON, CA--June 7, 1998)--Stockton 99 Speedway's premier Grand American Modified division is turning in to a two-man competition between Mark Welch and Jason Fensler. The two Sacramento area drivers have come home in front in each of the eight early season races with Welch of Orangevale collecting his second straight and fifth overall Saturday night in the NASCAR Winston Racing Series regional point competition.
Defending division champion Steve Stacy of Stockton led the 28 car contingent qualifying--posting his fourth fast time of the season. However, Robert Knittel of Lodi was the initial leader when an 18-car field took the green flag for their 30-lap feature. Knittel gave way to former two-time Late Model Sportsman champion David Philpott of Tracy on the third circuit. Philpott was behind the wheel of a Dodge powered car owned by Ron Osterero for his first career Grand Am ride.
By the 10th go-round, it was Philpott, Welch, Knittel, Fensler of Wilton and Stacy, with Welch taking the point two laps later. A yellow flag slowed the field on lap-18; however, a blown engine from the Manteca mount driven by Bob Reichmuth collected eight cars in turns three-four two circuits later causing the field to be red flagged. With lightening flashing and the threat of rain imminent, two cars were able to drive away from the gathering; however, it took 20-minutes to extract the other six cars.
Only 12-cars remained to do battle on the re-start with Stacy falling off the pace on lap-22. Fensler eventually wrested second from Philpott as Welch breezed to the checkered flag. At the finish, it was Welch in his Ellis chassis followed by Fensler, Philpott, Knittel and Cole Tiwater of Modesto. Fensler, who owns three main event wins, continues to lead the season point standings by 22 (488-466) over Welch with Stacy third (410).
The BCRA Midgets made their first 1998 appearance of the season with Scott Hansen, a sometime USAC participant, taking the early lead and only losing the point for a single go-round on lap-13 to Chad Nichols of San Carlos, who swept all three BCRA events at Stockton in 1997. Hansen, who resides in Simi Valley, quickly surged back to the front and took the checkered for the 30-lap feature that was slowed only one time by a yellow flag. Trophy dash winner Floyd Alvis of San Carlos finished second followed by Sterling Pratz of Mill Valley, Marc DeBeaumont of Clayton and Darrell Martin of Escalon.
The California Pro-4's, four cylinder stock cars, were also on hand for their first season appearance on Stockton 99's Budweiser and "Right Place" Pontiac of Stockton sponsored quarter-mile paved oval. Jim Warden, Jr. of Anaheim grabbed the initial lead and looked like the man to beat before he spun out on his own on the seventh circuit with John Johnson of Sacramento taking the point at the yellow. Johnson was untouched to the final flag as he was followed across by Bob Fulmer of Glendora, John Riparetti of Castroville, Bob Comstock of El Dorado Hills and Warden.
The Pure Stock division staged their typical fender-mashing main with Joe Allen of Stockton getting the jump off the green flag then giving way to fellow Stockton pilot Mark Mays on the second go-round. Mays held tough to the white flag lap before he was tapped from behind by second place runner Jeff Lovelace. Although Lovelace crossed the line first, the NASCAR officiating crew deemed he should be placed behind Mays in the official finish. As a result, Manteca's Guy Guibor inherited the victory, his second of the season. Second place went to Angelo Queirolo of Lathrop followed by a trio of Stockton drivers, C.W. Davis, Joe Stearns and Mays. The season point chase for the third-year division is still tied with Lovelace and Sam Solari of Salida knotted at 370 with Mays another 16-points back in third.
The Ultra Wheel Spec Trucks will make their second appearance of the season at Stockton 99 Speedway this coming Saturday, June 13. The program will also include Grand American Modifieds, Street Stocks and Pure Stocks on 99's Budweiser and Pontiac of Stockton sponsored quarter-mile paved oval.
Gates open at 3:00 p.m. with qualifying set for 5:30 and green flag racing at 7:00. Adult tickets cost $10, four-dollars for children six-to-12 with those under six getting in free. A family ticket--two adults and two children--will be available for $25.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.