FIVE-STRAIGHT FOR WELCH AT STOCKTON 99
(STOCKTON, CAAugust 29, 1999)--Stockton 99 Speedway may have notched yet another place in NASCAR history this week when Orangevale pilot Mark Welch scored his 25th career feature triumph in Grand American competition. The victory, Welch's 11th of the season and fifth-in-a-row, should have closed the door on the prestigious NASCAR Pacific Coast Regional championshipmarking the first time Stockton 99 has ever had the distinction of having a regional points leader. Since the regional points program concludes September 11, Welch will have plenty of time to make travel plans for the early November banquet that will take place in Orlando, Florida.
Starting fifth in a 22-car field, Welch watched Scott Winters of Tracy take the first lap feature lead with Jason Kerby of Stockton sliding to second. Welch progressed to third on lap-three, second on lap-six, and surged to the front on lap-eight. The first yellow fell on lap-14, as Paul Henry of Groveland tangled with Bob Trull of Stockton in turn-one. Three more yellows slowed the action between laps-17 and 25, with the fans cheering the final five-lap shootout as Welch brought it home a winner ahead of Steve Stacy of Stockton. Dash winner Kerby crossed in third ahead of Jason Beltrama of Stockton and Robert Knittel of Lodi.
Stacys second place effort completed quite a day for the former track champion. After losing a motor in the first hot-lap session, he made a round trip to his shop and back with a new power plant in time to clock in with a top-five fast time.
With two weeks left in the NASCAR point window, Welch holds a 96-point lead (1148-1052) over Kerby. Winters is third in the season standings with Dan Dabbs of North Highlands fourth in front of Stocktons Danny Contessotto, whose margin over Stacy for fifth is down to just four points (818-814).
The Ultra-Wheel Spec Trucks staged their final 99 season appearance with Eric Seely of Oakdale taking the early lead in a 10-truck field. Mike David of Modesto pulled to third on lap-three, second on lap-eight and then began to apply pressure to the leader. Seely held tough, however, and David eventually took himself out on lap-26 when he got into the third turn too hard and ended up spinning himself out. Jon Campbell then took up the pursuit of Seely. The Laguna Hills driver slowly reeled Seely in and then made contact in turn-two on the 35th-pass. They both spun out leading to the only yellow flag on the fast moving 40-lap event.
Unfortunately, Seelys mount had to be towed to the pits. On the re-start, fast timer Vince Little of Clovis grabbed the lead and never looked back, as dash winner David returned to grab second at the final flag. Chris Collutt of La Grange ended up third in front of Campbell and Joe Herold of Poway.
Action took place quickly in the 12-car, 25-lap Street Stock feature when Matt Borges of Banta and Johnny Berndt of Clements slapped together on the opening lap in turn-three. Both blew tires, handing the lead to Jerry Crawford of Stockton. Point leader Cary Treadway of Stockton came to second on lap-four, and applied constant pressure to Crawford until lap-15 when the pair made contact and spun themselves out of contention.
Scott Chappell of Lodi, the night's dash winner, assumed the lead with last week's victor Joe Hylton of Manteca running second. The two clipped off the final 10 laps to finish in front of fast qualifier Treadway, who fought his way back to the third slot, ahead of Crawford and Ed Cullom of Lockeford.
Chappells win was his fourth of the season. However, he still trails defending champion Treadway in the season point chase by more than a 100-points (1154-1046).
Incoming point leader Guy Guibor of Manteca blistered the Pure Stock field with a 30-lap wire-to-wire, non-yellow win driving his younger brother Danny's car. Guibor entered the night with only a 14-point lead over Stocktons Doug Lane. During the week, the two brothers determined that if Guy was to win, it was best for him to drive Dannys mount. They apparently were correct.
Guy was never seriously threatened as he was followed to the checkered flag by a trio of Stockton drivers--Pete Anderson, Jr., Orville Dahl and Mike Soiseth. Adam Ramsdell of San Jose finished fifth, but failed a post-race tech, elevating Lane one notch. As a result, Guibors point margin over Lane is now 32 (1106-1074).
Pure Stock heat wins went to Guy Guibor, Anderson, Jr., Cary Hahn of Ripon and Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs with Bolin winning his first trophy dash.
Stockton 99 Speedway will host the final leg of the Fifth Annual Tri-Holiday Classic this coming Saturdaya 100-lap event for Late Model Sportsman.
Sponsored by Budweiser, the Tri-Holiday features three 100-lap races on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day Holiday weekends.
Ron Strmiska, Jr. of Manteca won the opening leg Memorial Day weekend; while former two-time track champion Harry Belletto of Modesto won the Firecracker 100 4th of July weekend. The series point leader, however, is Steve Belletto over 18-year old Burney Lamar of Sacramento.
In addition to the NASCAR-sanctioned Late Model feature, the program will also include Winston Racing Series Grand American Modifieds, Street Stocks and Pure Stocks.
Gates for the Budweiser-sponsored Tri-Holiday Classic will open at 3:00 p.m. with green flag racing set for 6:00. Adult tickets $15, five for seniors and children six-to-12 with those under six getting in free.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter mile west of Highway 99.
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