(STOCKTON, CA--September 20, 1998)--Bob Strandwold needed a break Saturday night and got it as the $130,000 Shell Tri-Track Challenge for Late Models made its final appearance at NASCAR sanctioned Stockton 99 Speedway. The veteran Modesto driver started 11th in a 20-car field and capitalized on a mid-race crash that put Tri-Track point leader Mike David on the sidelines to win for the second time in the 10-race series. With the final event set for October 1 S, Strandwold now trails David by 10 points with current Stockton 99 point leader Ken Boyd of Ceres another 14 back in third. Strandwold's 100-lap victory was worth $27000 of the nearly $1 1,000 purse.
Troy Ermish of Fremont, who won the last Stockton Tri-Track affair in August, took the early lead and looked as though he would make it two in a row as he slowly pulled away from the pack following a brief yellow for a second lap spin by Mike Walker of North Highlands. By lap- ] 0, Ermish led a top five consisting of Ceres' Mike Ledbetter, Brent Seitz of Stockton, Strandwold, who took advantage of the Walker spin to gain some valuable ground, and David, who has led Paul Oil sponsored series from the get-go back in April. The only change in that quintet came on lap-25 with David bowing to Boyd for the fifth position. Ledbetter fell out on lap-34 with John Gaalswyk of Ripon coming to fifth.
The rapid pace came to a screeching halt, however, on lap-56 when dash winner Harry Belletto of Modesto, running ninth, got into the back of David in the first corner and slapped the wall off turn-two. Belletto ended up sideways and was hit by Kevin Gottula of Modesto resulting in a red flag with all three being wreckered off the track. During the ensuing warm up laps, Gaalswyk suffered a broken shifter and lost several laps for repairs in the pits. When the green was displayed, Strandwold, who had worked his way past Seitz into second, got the jump on Ermish to take the lead with Boyd coming to third.
A series of spins and stalls slowed the pace for several laps before both Ermish and Sacramento's Burney Lamar had their engines go up in smoke on lap-79. The smoke screen over Stockton's quarter-mile paved oval resembled a mosquito abatement program. Once the air was clear, the lap-80 re-start had 11 cars still in action with only one brief yellow marring the drive to the checkered as Strandwold crossed in front of Seitz, Mike Swanson of Kingsburg, Boyd and Walker.
Season point leader Mark Welch of Orangevale won again in the Grand American Modified division but saw runner-up Jason Fensler of Wilton reduce his lead to 16 ( 1300-1284). Victor Machado of Escalon was the early leader as 18 cars took the green. Welch, after starting sixth in his Ellis mount, was second by lap-eight and moved past Machado on lap-10. Only one yellow slowed the pace of the 30-lap affair as Fensler pulled to third on the 22nd go-round. Welch held tough to register his 12th victory in 23 starts ahead of Machado, Fensler, defending Grand Am champion Steve Stacy of Stockton and dash winner Bob Reichmuth of Manteca.
Street Stock action saw the first-lap lead fall to Pete Anderson, Sr., of Stockton, followed by Dan Dabbs of North Highlands and season point leader Cary Treadway of Stockton. Dabbs passed Anderson on lap-six, with Treadway coming to second on the next circuit. The event ran trouble free to the 26th go-round when Dabbs was snagged by lapped traffic and spun from the lead with Treadway assuming the top spot on the yellow. Rookie Jason Beltrama of Stockton ran side-by-side with Treadway on the re-start and eventually passed Treadway for the lead on lap-28. Beltrama won for the third time in seven races, with Treadway second, followed by two Stockton Jerry's--Tripp and Crawford--and fifth place going to Manteca's John Vanderwerff. With two races left, Treadway leads Dabbs by 40 (1104-1064) for the season crown.
Adam Ramsdale became a two-time winner in the Charterway Auto Recycler Pure Stock division. Merlin Kolb of Lodi was the initial leader but gave way to Cindy Quarnstrom of Lodi on lap-seven. Quarnstrom was only able to fend off Ramsdale for a single lap as the San Jose teenager brought it home a winner for the second time in four weeks. Guy Guibor of Manteca crossed in second, followed by C.W. Davis of Stockton, fast timer and new track record holder Angelo Queirolo of Lathrop and Manteca's Joe Hylton.
Season point leader Joe Allen of Stockton, who leads defending champion Doug Lane of Stockton by 18 points ( 1038- ] 020), was the Pure Stock dash winner.
The racing bill of faire this coming Saturday (9/26) at Stockton 99 Speedway includes 50-lap main events for Grand American Modifieds and Street Stocks, the season's final appearance of the B.C.R.A. (Bay Cities Racing Association) Midgets and the track's annual Powder Puff event with more than 20 novice women drivers.
The midgets will feature a first-time appearance of Indy 500 competitor Davey Hamilton, who finished fourth at the famed Brickyard this past Memorial Day weekend.
Ticket gates for the Twin 50's, Midgets and Powder Puff will open at 3:00 p.m. with time trials set for 5:30 and green flag racing at 7:00.
Adult tickets will cost $12 with children six-to-12 and senior citizens over 65 being admitted for four dollars. A family ticket--two adults and two children--will cost $28.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 410S N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.