(STOCKTON, CA--August 30, 1998)--Mark Welch of Orangevale proved the adage "the cream always rises" Saturday night when he forged his way from the back of an 18-car field to win the 30-lap Winston Racing Series Grand American Modified main event--his 11th feature triumph in 20 -1998 starts. The victory did not come easy as the season point leader was sent to the back following a lap-10 fracas in which NASCAR officials ruled he was responsible for the spin of fast qualifier Jason Fensler of Wilton.

Jason Philpot of Sacramento was the early leader when a lap-five multi-car melee brought out the first of four yellow flags. Defending division champion Steve Stacy of Stockton moved into second when the next green was waved with Fensler, who started eighth, sitting in third. Philpot pulled up lame on lap-eight and brought out another yellow as he stalled, giving the point to Stacy. On the re-start, Fensler spun in turn two with Welch getting the free ticket to the back as Stacy and Walt Haas of Antioch moved to the top two positions. Robert Knittel of Lodi collided with the spinning Fensler, forcing the season runner-up to Welch to watch the rest of the race from the sidelines.

John Unger of Stockton passed Haas for second on lap-14 and took the lead five laps later when Stacy began losing fluid and spun on lap-21 to force the next yellow. Welch was back to third by the next re-start, and came to second on the next circuit before taking the lead on lap-25 as Stacy once again brought out a caution flag by stopping on the infield grass in turn one. Unger's hopes for a first-ever Grand Am win were dashed when a mechanical problem made him stall on the backchute under the yellow.

Welch, who earlier had won his seventh trophy dash on the season, came home in front o f Haas, Cole Tiwater of Modesto and a best-ever fourth place for Lodi's Jack Stone with Bob Reichmuth of Manteca completing the top-five. Welch's triumph expanded his season point lead over Fensler to 40 ( 1148-1108) with on]y two weeks left in the NASCAR region standings.

The Ultra Wheel Spec Trucks were on hand for their final '98 Stockton appearance with fast time going to D.J. Ferreira of San Jacinto. Local favorite David Philpott of Tracy, making his second truck start, and Timothy Woods of Chino occupied the front row for the 75-lap feature w with Philpott taking the first lap lead. The former two-time Stockton 99 Late Model Sportsman champion he]d strong until bowing to Jon Nelson of Hemet on the 12th go-round. A yellow slowed the action on lap-21 with Nelson continuing to hold the point ahead of Philpott, Steve Smith of Escondido and Ferreira. The top three remained the same as the laps unreeled quickly to lap-71 when Dennis Murphy of McKittrick and Nathan Wulff of Escondido tangled and came to rest against the backchute wall.

The re-start produced a shoot-out that brought the fans to their feet as the top four drove for the checkered flag with Nelson claiming the win by a bumper ahead of Smith, winner of the three prior Stockton Spec Truck appearances. Next in line came Woods with Philpott fourth, matching; his first truck appearance, and Scott Calvin of Moreno Valley completing the top-five.

Only two minor yellows marred the 30-lap Street Stock feature with incoming point leader Dan Dabbs of North Highlands taking the point on the second go-round after first lap leader Jim Cannon of Modesto spun in the second corner. Lap-four saw dash winner Jerry Tripp of Stockton come to third, with fellow Stockton pilot Jason Beltrama slipping to fourth on the next circuit. Tripp, the defending division champion, moved to second on lap-eight and passed Dabbs for the lead four laps later. A trio of other Stockton drivers--Jerry Crawford, Pete Anderson, Sr., and Cary Treadway--then gave chase to Tnpp and finished three-four-five with Beltrama fading to sixth when the checkered was waved. Treadway was fast qualifier, and the combination of qualifying points and main event finishes left Dabbs and Treadway in a tie for the Street Stock championship at 942.

The 20-car, 25-lap Charterway Auto Recycler Pure Stock feature produced the 11th different winner in 18 - 1998 starts. Adam Ramsdale of San Jose was all smiles after a strong run, leading all 25-laps to register his first career victory. Gary Shafer, Jr., of Stockton, driving the car usually run by Cindy Quarnstrom of Lodi, applied steady pressure from the first to 1 5th lap before fading to finish sixth. Defending champion and fast-timer, Doug Lane of Stockton waged a losing battle with the front straight wall on lap-15 with C.W. Davis of Stockton coming to second. At the checkered, Ramsdale and Davis were followed by another Stockton pilot, Jeff Lovelace, with Sam Solari of Salida and Manteca's Guy Guibor, the night's dash winner, completing the top five.

Season point leader Joe Allen (904) of Stockton finished 17th; and, as a result, saw his margin over second place Lovelace (882) ar d Lane, third in points at 876, drop to 22 and 26, respectively.

Season point leader Ken Boyd of Ceres will try to sweep Stockton 99 Speedway's Budweiser, I.B. Benedict and Raybestos sponsored Tri-Holiday Classic this coming Saturday. With victories on Memorial Day weekend and in the Firecracker 100 on the 4th of July, Boyd leads runner-up John Gaalswyk of Ripon in the Fourth Annual Classic by six-and-a-half points. The overall point lead for the three-race series earns an extra $1,750. In all, the top-10 point leaders receive an extra $6,000 provided by the series sponsors.

Grandstand seating for the Labor Day weekend 100-lap main event will open at 3:00 p.m. with qualifying set for S:30 and green flag racing at 7:00.

Adult tickets for the Tri-Holiday Classic will be available for $12. Children six-to-12 and senior citizens over 65 will be admitted for four dollars. A family ticket--two adults and two children--will cost $28.

Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 410S N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.