Fensler wins The Battle, Lamar wins the War!
Tracy-October 9,1999. Saturday night turned into Sunday morning at Altamont Raceway Park when the final checkered flag waved in the brisk night air. Then the celebrating began. While Jason Fensler of Wilton was on the start/ finish line preparing to accept a trophy for winning yet another Shell Tri-Track Challenge race, Burney Lamar was off in the infield in turn 2 spinning doughnuts and stirring up enough dust and weeds to start a hay fever epidemic. Their performances were nothing to sneeze at.
The Tracy track saw Fensler win the Shell Tri-Track Challenge season finale -- his third win in three races at the half-mile track. But Lamar finished second to Eric Holmes of Escalon in series qualifying points and set the pace Saturday night with a lap of 18.136 seconds around the half-mile paved oval, then finished fourth to win the 11-race series.
The race was marred by several accidents that saw the 100 laps last almost two hours. The track's program began at 6 p.m. Saturday and ended at 12:17 a.m. this morning. "It feels great," Lamar said. "To run with fields like this all year and win the series. That's an accomplishment."
Fensler was impressive at all three races at Altamont. He took the lead on Lap 27 and never looked back.
"If it's up to me we'll just have all 12 races here next year," Fensler joked. "The car just works so well here."
If there was any doubt of Lamar winning the series title, it ended when Oakdale's Mike Terpstra -- the only driver with a realistic chance of catching him -- was involved in a multiple-car wreck on Lap 59 with Sonora's Nathan Tucker and Modesto's Kevin Gottula.
Lamar subjected his fans to some suspense when he pitted on Lap 62 after being involved in another accident with several cars. But he got out of the pits in time for the green flag, ending Terpstra's hopes.
"I was nervous until the checkered flag," Lamar said. "We needed to beat Mike by 13 spots and they kept telling me on the radio there were 15 out there."
But Lamar ended up passing Terpstra and finishing ahead of him by one spot. Terpstra finished second in the series, followed by Fensler, Escalon's Eric Holmes and Tucker.
"This series brings out the best drivers out of all three tracks," Lamar said. "This is an awesome feeling."
Thanks to Will DeBoard of the Modesto Bee and Bill Poindexter, Record Assistant Sports Editor.
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