WELCH, STRMISKA EXTEND STOCKTON 99 WIN STREAKS
(STOCKTON, CAJune 13, 1999)--Twin 50-lap Craftsman Tool Night features were the bill of fare at Stockton 99 Speedway Saturday night with both winnersMark Welch in the Grand Ams and Ron Strmiska, Jr. in the Late Models duplicating their efforts from prior weeks. The NASCAR-sanctioned Winston Racing Series premier division Grand Am's put on an ugly daylight-to-dark main that saw nine yellow and three red flags halt the action in the first 20-laps. Twenty cars took the green flag and hardly any of them escaped the wall-to-wall carnage. Robert Knittel of Lodi shared the front row with Tracy's Scott Winters, with Winters taking the first-lap lead. As the yellows continued to fall, Robert Miller of San Jose got side-by-side with Winters on lap-seven, but both spun out of contention. A lap-eight skirmish saw Jason Kerby of Stockton, Tony Silva of Sacramento and North Highland's Dan Dabbs tangle in turn one, with Orangevale's Welch, who started fifth, taking charge on the next green. The destruction derby aspect wasnt over, however, as an eight-car pileup brought out a red on lap-nine.
Four consecutive laps were finally run 10-through-14 before Stocktons Shawn Wentzel found himself sitting perpendicular to the traffic in turn-three with his driver side exposed to the oncoming cars. In the interest of safety, NASCAR flagman John Moreland through another red flag. The third red was displayed on lap-20 when several cars collided coming off turn-four with Jeff Thomas of Stockton having to be cradled to the pit area. Almost unbelievably, with 15 cars still running, the drivers seemed to realize that smooth was fun as they ran the remaining 30-laps under non-yellow conditions. Welch collected his fourth 1999 feature win in 10 starts in front of Winters, Dabbs, Miller and Silva. Kerby was fast qualifier for the fourth time of the year, with the dash win going to Dabbs, who passed Kerby for second place in the season point standings behind Welch (556-498).
Only a single yellow and one red flag interrupted the Late Model 50-lapper. Veteran Stockton driver John Graham took the first lap go-round and led to lap-seven when flames became visible from the fuel tank area of his racer. A red was displayed to extinguish the flames; and, since scoring reverted to the previous lap, Graham was able to continue in the lead. That was short-lived, however, as Fremont's Troy Ermish got under him on lap-12 and made the pass on the next circuit. Strmiska, Jr., of Manteca, the night's fast timer, pulled to second on the next pass as the leaders ran to a yellow on lap-17 when John Wood of Walnut Creek earned a free pass to the back of the pack for spinning Graham off turn-four. Under the yellow, an electrical problem developed in Ermishs car and he was forced to the pits, giving the lead to Strmiska. Like the Grand Am event, the remaining laps ran trouble free as Strmiska duplicated his win of Memorial Day weekend--his second career triumph--and as he later offered "a perfect birthday gift for my dad" (Ron Strmiska, Sr., a two-time Stockton 99 Champion). Ripons John Gaalswyk, winner of the first four 99 Late Model features, finished second in front of Brent Seitz of Stockton, Rosevilles Ed McGinnis of Roseville and Wood.
Gaalswyk, who won his second straight trophy dash, continues to lead the season point standings by 84 (380-296) over Strmiska, Jr.
The 15-car Street Stock feature provided one of the best races of the 99 season. Robert Knittel of Lodi, who was doing double duty in two divisions, started on the pole but it was short lived as Angelo Queirolo of Lathrop charged past to take the lead on lap-three. Lap-seven saw Lodi's Scott Chappell and fast timer Cary Treadway of Stockton tangle on the backchute with both cutting tires and Chappell taking a hard hit from Ed Cullom of Clements. Queirolo fought off charges by Knittel and Stockton's Jerry Crawford over the ensuing laps and held strong before a tap from behind cost him the lead to Crawford on lap-24. Under a lap-26 yellow, Crawford was put back behind Queirolo and, during the caution, Crawford and Treadway collided while swerving back and forth to clean up their tires for the next re-start.
The four-lap sprint to the checkered saw Queirolo surge to the front once again and post his first Stockton career feature victory, followed by Knittel, Jeremy Hammon of Lockeford, Lodis Mike Garcia and Chappell. Chappell now trails Treadway in the season point chase by 32 (490-458).
Season point leader Orville Dahl of Stockton started on the pole in the 20-car, 30-lap Pure Stock feature. Dahl quickly pulled away from the pack, but it wasnt long before third place starter Guy Guibor of Manteca came up to challenge. Guibor took the point on lap-five, then fought off several challenges Stocktons Gary Shafer, Jr. before notching his third straight main event victory. Shafer withstood a late race challenge from Guibors younger brother Danny to finish second. Aaron Shankel of Lodi was fourth and Jeff Lovelace of Stockton fifth.
Dahls season point lead is now 22 (500-478) over Guibor, with Shafer, Jr. third, another 16 back.
The Late Model Sportsman Shell Tri-Track Challenge series, sponsored by Paul Oil Co. of Oakdale, will make its second appearance at Stockton 99 Speedway this coming Saturday. Mike Terpstra of Oakdale leads the third-year series by a single point over Burney Lamar of Sacramento.
More than 30 Late Models are expected to challenge Stocktons tight quarter-mile NASCAR-sanctioned paved oval beginning at 3:00 p.m. Time trials are set for 5:00 with green flag racing at 6:00.
In addition to the Tri-Track Series, the program will include Grand Ams, Street Stocks and Pure Stocks.
Adult admissions will be $15 with children and seniors over 65 five dollars. A family tickettwo adults and two childrenwill be available for $35.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.
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