(STOCKTON, CA--March 14, 1999)--Twenty-three-year old Jason Philpot of Sacramento parlayed his 1998 "most improved driver" status into his first career feature win Sunday afternoon under cold and threatening skies at Stockton 99 Speedway. Philpot's maiden voyage to the winner's circle came as the venerable quarter-mile track initiated it's 53rd season and 44th as a NASCAR-sanctioned facility. The Grand American Modified 40-lapper--paying $1,000 to win--was one of four divisions that made up an open-wheel extravaganza that included Grand Am's, USAC/BCRA Midgets, Western States Super Modified's, and Late Model Sportsmen.

Scott Winters of Tracy was the initial leader as 20 cars took the green flag with a yellow flag falling on lap-five when Barry Callouette of Benicia got airborne over the side of San Jose's Robert Miller and wound up parked against the first turn wall. On the ensuing green, Orangevale's Mark Welch moved to the fore and held strong through three more yellows before Miller began to apply pressure and take the lead on lap-16. Welch fought back to regain the point on lap-19; with Philpot lurking in third waiting for an opportunity. The youngster made his first move on lap-29; only to have Welch jump back in front two laps later. The California State University, Sacramento student pounced again on lap-33 and held on to a 39th lap checkered-yellow with Welch second, Miller third, and two Roseville drivers--Don Schmitt and Jim Miller--completing the top-five.

Mike Terpstra of Oakdale set the fast time in the Late Model action but John Gaalswyk of Ripon had the best car for the feature, taking the point on the first go-round and never being seriously challenged in the 40-lap event. Only three minor yellows marred the event with Terpstra finishing a distant second, followed by Tracy's David Philpott in third, Ben Zakarian of Twain Hart fourth and Stockton's Brent Seitz fifth.

It had been 30 years since USAC Midgets had appeared at Stockton and a stellar field of 32 cars in conjunction with the Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) put on an impressive performance. The existing track record fell by the wayside twice in time trials, first by John Starks of Puyallup, Washington, then by Davey Hamilton of Las Vegas with a time of 13.147.

Tracy Hines of Indianapolis, Indiana was the pole sitter for the 20-car, 30-lap feature and led the fast moving field as Hamilton made a steady run from mid-pack. After starting 10th, the Nevada charger was third by lap-14, and moved into second five laps later. Hines got loose in the fourth turn on lap-25 and made a quick solo spin allowing Hamilton to take the point on lap-25. Hamilton never looked back in making it two wins in two starts (he won Saturday night at Madera); followed by Starks, Clay Klepper of Caruthers, Rory Price of Edmunds, WA and a fast returning Hines.


Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.




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The show was completed by the return of the Western States Super Modifieds for the first time since a Golden West Classic event in 1974. The much anticipated breaking of the all time track speed record of 11.899 held by Johnny Brazil of Manteca kept the fans wide awake during time trials with Mark Ekberg of Reedley coming ever so close with a posting of 11.928.

Jeff Helton of Madera was the early leader; but gave way to Lonnie Adamson of Salt Lake City during the early laps. Late race pressure was applied by former Manteca, now Atlanta resident Paul Durant. Durant ran out of time and settled for second with Davey Hamilton capturing the show position.

Hamilton had an interesting weekend. Based on his winning the Midget feature at Madera Saturday night, he had an opportunity to win a bonus of $50,000 for winning all three "open wheel" classes at either Madera or Stockton. At Stockton, in addition to setting a track record in Midget qualifying, the Las Vegas driver qualified second fast in a rented Grand Am and third in the Super Modifieds. However, after failing to win the Super feature, his entry in the Grand Am main became a moot point and he relinquished his ride to Harold Rieker of Roseville, who finished 10th.


The first regular Saturday night of NASCAR-sanctioned Winston Racing Series action will take place at Stockton on March 27. All four NASCAR divisions--Grand American Modified, Late Model Sportsman, Street and Pure Stock--will participate in a program beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Ticket gates will open at 3:00 p.m. with qualifying set for 5:00. Adult tickets will cost $12 with children six-to-12 and seniors over 65 being admitted for four dollars. A family ticket--two adults and two children--will cost $25.

Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.