GAALSWYK WINS STOCKTON 99 TRI-HOLIDAY RUN
(STOCKTON, CA--September 6, 1998)--The final leg of Stockton 99 Speedway's Fourth Annual Tri-Holiday Classic was interrupted by rain Saturday night with John Gaalswyk of Ripon collecting his first main event triumph of the '98 season. Scheduled for 100 laps, the NASCAR-sanctioned affair was red-flagged twice for mother nature and eventually called after 58 laps. Gaalswyk entered the third leg trailing season point leader Ken Boyd of Ceres by six-and-a-half points. After starting second and moving to the front--good for a half-point for passing--Gaalswyk held off Sacramento area drivers Mike Walker and Burney Lamar to earn the $2,000 first place money. Boyd ended up fourth, giving Gaalswyk the six points to create a tie for the Tri-Holiday leadership. Boyd--having won the Memorial Day and Fourth of July events--was declared the Tri-Holiday champion and gained an extra $1,750; while Gaalswyk settled for an additional $1,200 for second.
Two-time Stockton Winston Racing Series champion Harry Belletto of Modesto started on the pole of, but relinquished the top spot to Gaalswyk on the third go-round after the pair raced side-by-side for two laps off the green flag. Initially, it was Gaalswyk, Belletto and Boyd at the front. However, Belletto spun in turn-two on lap-seven with track officials holding Boyd responsible, sending both to the back of the pack. At that juncture, Troy Ermish of Fremont picked up the pursuit of the eventual winner followed by Ron Strmiska, Sr. of Ripon and Walker, who started seventh in the 20-car field. Then, the rain came, halting the action after 17 laps.
After 35 minutes, track officials decided to park the Late Models and let the 25-lap Pure Stock feature act as a drying agent. That done, the Late Models returned for the Budweiser, I.B. Benedict and Raybestos sponsored event with Ermish and Strmiska making contact on the backstretch on the re-start with Ermish being banished to the back, enabling Walker to slip into second in front of Ceres' Mike Ledbetter. Ledbetter passed Walker on a lap-2 1 re-start and held forth until another yellow was displayed on lap-37 when Stockton's Mark Youngblood and Ermish tangled on the backstretch with Ermish plowing into the turn-three exit gate. Walker was back in second, followed by semi-main transfer Paul Guthmiller of Manteca, Lamar and the fast closing pair of Belletto and Boyd.
Boyd passed Belletto for fifth on lap-41 with the both getting past Guthmiller for fourth and fifth five laps later when Guthmiller got pinned behind an accident involving Dinuba's Randy Liles and Jason White of Modesto. That left Gaalswyk leading Walker, Lamar, Boyd and Belletto as they finished when the rain came for the second time.
Gaalwyk's win enabled him to gain 10 points on Boyd, who is seeking his fifth Stockton 99 track championship. With just two events--including a "double pointer"--to go, Gaalswyk trails Boyd by 20 (788-768).
Wilton's Jason Fensler recorded a sweep--fast time, dash and feature wins--in the Grand American Modifieds to close some ground on season point leader Mark Welch of Orangevale. An invert of six put Fensler in the third row of the 20-car field while Welch started fourth. Welch was second after one lap with Fensler coming to third after three go-rounds. The 30-lap event was red-flagged after 15 laps when Robert Knittel of Lodi smashed hard into the wall near the turn-three exit gate with Welch leading Cole Tiwater of Modesto, Fensler and defending champion Steve Stacy of Stockton.
Tiwater jumped past Welch on the lap-16 re-start as the erstwhile leader suffered a flat tire and was forced into the pits and the back of the pack with 12 laps remaining and 17 cars stir] running. It was Fensler's turn to come to the fore when the green was displayed again on lap-19. Stacy passed Tiwater for second on lap-20, as Welch began to surge from the back--coming to fifth five laps later. Welch was able to pass Sacramento's Jason Philpot for fourth as a checkered yellow was waved. The top five was Fensler, Stacy, Tiwater, Welch and Philpot.
Fensler's $500 win was his sixth in 21 starts and he now trails Welch by 30 (1198-1168) with only a single event in the NASCAR Region standings and four for the track crown.
Stockton's Jason Beltrama was a winner in the Street Stock feature--his second of the season. Fellow Stockton driver, Cary Treadway, took control of the division standings by finishing third behind Beltrama and John Vanderwerff of Manteca. Treadway and Dan Dabbs of North Highlands came into the evening tied for the point lead. Treadway made a statement by posting his 13th fast time and assumed command when Dabbs was involved in an opening lap three car fracas. Only seven cars of the 14 that started were stil1 running when the checkered flag was displayed. Treadway's lead over Dabbs is 18 (998-980).
Twenty cars answered the bell for the Charterway Auto Recycler Pure Stock main which served as the drying agent for the Late Models. First time driver Jason White of Stockton-making the transition from Mini-Cup cars--led the first 10 laps before spinning and giving way to C.W. Davis of Stockton. Salida's Sam Solari grabbed the top spot for one lap before giving it back to Davis on lap- 15. The first-year competitor held on to capture the checkered in front of Solari, defending champion Doug Lane of Stockton, Joe Hylton of Manteca and another Stockton pilot, Jeff Lovelace.
Joe Allen of Stockton, who finished eighth, leads the Pure Stock standings by 16 (942-926) over Lane with Solari just another two points back in third.
A pair of 50-lap features--for Street Stocks and Pure Stocks--plus the final night of NASCAR Region competition for the Grand American Modifieds will highlight this coming Saturday's Stockton 99 Speedway action.
The program will also feature an appearance by Legends--5/8-scale 1934 to 1940 Ford, Chevy and Dodge coupes or sedans. Ticket gates will open at 3:00 p.m. with qualifying set for 5:30 and green flag racing at 7:00.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 410S N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.