STOCKTON 99, and TRI-TRACK CHAMPIONS HONORED
(LODI, CA--October 28, 2000)Mark Welch was honored for his second straight NASCAR Pacific Coast Regional championship; Jim Pettit II collected the hardware and monies for the Shell/Paul Oil Co. sponsored Tri-Track Challenge; and Steve Belletto was recognized as Stockton 99 Speedways first second generation Late Model Sportsman champion Saturday night in Lodi. A gathering of nearly 300 drivers, pit crew members, sponsors and supporters were in attendance at Kirst Hall, Hutchins Street Square to honor 99 Speedways other championsCary Treadway in Pro Stocks and Guy Guibor in Pure Stocksas well.
Welch, a 44-year old Orangevale resident, was recognized for back-to-back Grand American Modified championships that will culminate November 17th at the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Champions Banquet in Orlando, Florida. His Stockton season consisted of 14 winsincluding eight in a row at one stage--in 22 races. He was fast qualifier on four occasions and also won four trophy dashes.
Pettit finished second in the Pacific Coast Region standings after winning the Late Model Sportsman championship at Madera Speedway. He also won six of ten Shell Tri-Track Challenge 100-lap events including two at Stockton. Overall, the 35-year old Salinas resident won 11 of 19 Madera events, five of 11 at Stockton and two of three at Altamont Raceway Parka total of 18 wins in 33 starts. In Pettits words, "This year far exceeded our expectations. Its been Cinderella like." Collectively, for the Tri-Track series and Stockton 99, Pettit collected more than $7,000.
Steve Bellettos first-ever championship saw him finish in front of Ron Strmiska, Jr. of Manteca, Pettit, his brother Jeff and father Harry, who won Stockton Late Model titles in 1995 and 97. The 35-year old Modesto resident won the title through consistency. For the year, he registered two wins, a second, three thirds, three fourths and one fifth place effort in 11 starts. For his effort, Belletto received a check for $6,000.
Treadway was recognized as Stocktons first Pro Stock champion, but it really marked his third straight titlehaving won the the Street Stock crown in 1998 and 99. The 37-year old Stockton resident established the divisions qualifying record (15.018) on July 1 and dominated the season with 14 fast qualifying, 10 trophy dash and 13 main event wins in 21 events.
Guibors I.B. Benedict Pure Stock championship was his second straight and serves as a prelude to his moving up to the Grand American Modified division in 2001. Overall, this past
season, the 24-year old Manteca driver posted three trophy dash and nine main event wins in 25 events. For his effort, Guibor received $500.
The festivities also included the announcements of "most improved" and "rookie of the year" designations in each racing division. There was an exception, however, in the Late Model division where no rookie selection was made. Jeff Belletto, the youngest of the racing Bellettos was recognized as the Late Model "most improved." The 33-year old Salida pilot registered his first-ever Late Model win during the season final event September 23. Overall, he posted one fast time, one dash win and three top-five finishes in 11 races while advancing from 11th a year ago in the points standings to fourth this season.
The "most improved" honors in the Grand American Modified division went to 18-year old Shawn Wentzel of Stockton. As a rookie in 1999, Wentzel finished 24th in points while running 18 times; and, this year finished seventh with three top-five efforts in 20 events. The Grand Am "rookie" selection was Angelo Queirolo of Lathrop. In spite of not racing until late June, the 27-year old Queirolo posted three fast qualifying efforts, won a trophy dash, a main event and had two other top-five finishes while finishing 15th in points.
Mike Monez of Lodi earned "rookie of the year" honors in the Pro Stock division. Monez finished fifth in points while posting seven top-five finishes in 20 starts. "Most improved" Pro Stock honors went to Ed Cullom of Ripon, who finished seventh in points while winning his first-ever feature and posting eight other top-five finishes.
The I.B. Benedict Pure Stock "most improved" accolades were accorded to Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs. The 30-year old posted nine heat wins and five main event triumphs while jumping from 13th in the 1999 point standings to second this past season. Chad Holman of Stockton was selected as the Pure Stock division's top first year driver. In 23 events, Holman recorded four heat wins and four top-five finishes including a single main event triumph enroute to finishing sixth in points.
The final post season accolade, "Sportsman of the Year", went to Jeff Lee of Stockton. Lee spent part of the season working with NASCAR Pacific Coast Region champion Mark Welch and the whole year with Shawn Wentzel, who won the divisions "most improved" designation. According to track manager Duane Borovec, "What distinguishes Jeff is the fact that he is willing to help everyone. He regularly attended track practices and if any one had a problem, no matter what division or type of car, Jeff would make himself available to help."
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