GAALSWYK GRABS TRI-TRACK LEADERSHIP
(STOCKTON, CA--April 25, 1999)--Stockton 99 Speedway played host to the NASCAR-sanctioned Shell Tri Track Challenge Saturday night and packed the pits with 37 Late Model Sportsman seeking the more than $11,000 in prize money. In its second year of sponsorship by Paul Oil Co. of Oakdale, the Tri-Track series is proving to be immensely popular to competitors and fans alike. Nearly 2,500 saw John Gaalswyk of Ripon, prove his current role as Stockton 99 season point leader is no fluke by topping a 20-car main event field to collect the $2,5000 first place money including $500 form K&R Products, Inc.
Nathan Tucker of Sonoma was the initial leader of the 100-lap affair that saw 10 yellow flags and took nearly 90 minutes to complete. The first caution was displayed on the first lap Greg Potts of Manteca, Jason Fensler of Wilton and Stockton's Brent Seitz all came together in turn three with Seitz heading to his trailer for the night. Oakdale's Mike Terpstra assumed the point and ran smoothly until lap-28 when defending series champion Mike David got into the side of fellow Modesto driver Bob Strandwold going into turn one. Strandwold spun, with David earning a free pass to the back of the field. Another five car melee occurred on lap-32 with Tucker regaining the lead. Tucker held firm to a 40th lap yellow for a solo spin by Scott Masellis of Modesto. All the while, Gaalswyk, who started ninth, was working his way to the front and moved to the fore on a lap-48 re-start.
The 34-year old, who finished second in Stockton points a year ago, worked hard to hold off a challenge by 18-year old Burney Lamar of Sacramento. At the same time, much of the fan's focus was on Strandwold, winner of the Tri-Track's first race at Madera earlier in the month. After losing a lap on his earlier spin, then regaining it with a fast dash to one of the many yellows, the incoming series point leader worked his way back to fourth by lap-80, and third on lap-89.
Unfortunately, Strandwold suffered a flat tire during the final dash to the checkered flag that saw Potts move into third, followed by Terpstra and fast qualifier Eric Holmes of Escalon. At the end, 14 of the 20 cars were still running including Masellis, who undoubtedly should get the "Gunga Din Iron Man" award. Making his first appearance behind the wheel since 1995, Masellis won the 10-lap C-Main, finished second in the 20-lap B-Main and ended up 11th in the feature one circuit down for a total of 129 laps of action.
After two events, Gaalswyk now leads the Tri-Track standings by three points (96-93) over Lamar with Strandwold and Terpstra tied for third at 87 and defending champion David and Holmes tied for fifth at 77.
Separate accidents in the 20-lap Semi-Main resulted in trips to local hospitals for two Tri-Track competitors. Michael McGarry of Sacramento was held overnight after smashing hard into the turn-three pit exit gate driver-side door first. The rookie Late Model pilot was unconscious for some time but was alert before being checked into Stockton General Hospital for observation. Another Sacramento area driver, Mike Walker of North Highlands, suffered a broken arm as a result of a three-car entanglement on the front straight-away.
In a side-by-side co feature to the Tri-Track event, the Winston Racing Series Grand American Modified 30-lap feature produced a first time ever win for North Highland's Dan Dabbs. With a straight up start, fast timer Jason Kerby of Stockton grabbed the early lead, and held forth until the eighth-lap when heat winner Shane Welch of Orangevale spun in turn-four and tangled with Stockton's Darrin Haltermen. On the re-start, only the front four runners escaped a massive third turn pile up that took Robert Miller of San Jose out of action for the night.
Dabbs, a former Stockton 99 Street Stock champion making only his seventh Grand Am start, jumped past Kerby on the ninth lap re-start before another melee involving five cars brought out a yellow on lap-21.
The final charge to the checkered saw Dabbs, who also won the trophy dash, hold off Kerby, Orangevale's Mark Welch, current point leader Jason Philpot of Sacramento and Stockton's Danny Contessotto. Dabbs' win enabled him to move into the top-five in the season point standings. Philpot leads Welch by 24 (226-202) with Scott Winters of Tracy, Contessotto and Dabbs completing the top-five.
NASCAR-sanctioned Winston Racing Series action will continue at Stockton 99 Speedway this coming Saturday (May 1) when the nearly 120 Subway Sandwich Shops of the Central Valley sponsor a 100-lap Grand American Happening.
The Second Annual Happening offers $1,500 to win and a total purse in excess of $7,000. The program will also feature Legends--five-eighth's scale 1934 to 1940 Ford, Chevy and Dodge coupes and sedans--Street Stocks and Pure Stocks.
Ticket prices for the Subway Sandwich Grand American Happening are $12 for adults, four for children six-to-12 and seniors over 65 with children under six getting in free. A family ticket--two adults and two children--costs $28.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.
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