WELCH STREAK BROKEN; SILVA STOCKTON POINT LEADER
(STOCKTON, CA--June 18, 2000)-Tony Silva won his second Grand American Modified main event of the 2000 season Saturday night at Stockton 99 Speedway. The victory not only halted the record tying eight-race winning streak of defending NASCAR Pacific Coast Regional champion Mark Welch, but vaulted the Sacramento pilot into the season point lead. Silva won the season opener back on March 26 and doggedly stayed on the defending champion's heels as Welch ran off eight straight triumphs through April, May and June 3. However, a mechanical problem spelled doom for the Orangevale driver this night as Silva gained 39 in the season point chase and now leads Welch by four (532-528).
A field of 21 cars took the green flag for the 30-lap feature under the glow of a full moon. Sam Solari of Salida took the point from his inside front row starting position with Welch, who posted fast time on the night, outside of Silva in row four. The two bumped slightly coming off turn four on the second lap with Welch grazing the front wall. Although he continued to run, smoke started rolling from under his Ellis chassis due to a broken rear control rod. Up front, Benicia driver Barry Callouette came to second on lap-three and slipped past Solari for the lead two laps later.
The next go-round produced the first of seven yellows on the night as Welch pulled to the top of the first turn and stopped. He pitted, but was unable to make the re-start, effectively ending his bid for a record setting ninth-straight feature win. On the next green, it was Callouette and Solari followed by Ron Chunn of Galt, Steve Stacy of Stockton and Bob Reichmuth of Manteca in the lead group. They ran to lap-13 when a yellow, then red flag was displayed as Larry Hoover of Turlock hit the second turn wall spreading fluid on the track.
Welch tried to return to the track, but once he accelerated it was clear his rear end problem still existed and he was relegated to the pits with a last place finish. Another yellow fell on lap-16 as Paul Henry of Groveland spun Chunn in turn-one and was rewarded with a free pass to the rear of the field for the re-start. Only one circuit was added to the score sheets before another yellow came out for a tangle between Jason Botsford of Sacramento and Danny Contessotto of Stockton. As the cars raced back to the yellow, Callouette suddenly slowed as if he had forgotten the division races to the yellow, and was passed by five others with the lead falling back to Solari.
It took only two laps for Callouette to regain fifth and two more to slip back to fourth. On the 22nd go-round, Silva got under Solari in turn-one and to become the events third and final leader. In the process, Callouette also passed Solari for second.
Two more yellows slowed the pace and a red was displayed when Henry left a full circle of fluid on the track that brought out the sweep crew. Seventeen cars were still running when a yellow-checkered was displayed on lap-28. At the finish, it was Silva, Callouette and Solari with Robert Knittel of Lodi and Contessotto completing the top-five.
The Ultra Wheel Spec Trucks were on hand for their third Stockton appearance. In spite of a short field of eight trucks, their 25-lap feature provided the most exciting main event of the evening. Eric Seely of Modesto led from the pole as fast timer Mike David, also of Modesto, moved from seventh to third on the first lap when a yellow fell for a tangle between Kevin Thompson of Cypress and John Madriano of Fresno.
The event ran trouble free from that point on with Seely holding sway as David moved to second on lap-12. Seely thwarted every David move as the Central Division point leader tried every way he could to get the top spot. On the white flag lap--with Seely looking like a sure winner--David looked outside, then turned inside in turn-four and nailed the gas to take the win by inches bringing the crowd to their feet. David, whose fast time was a new track record, also won the dash, making it a clean sweep for the evening. Chris Collett of LaGrange was third at the finish but was disqualified for mailing to make weight. As a result, Mark Laeger of Temecula was third with Vince Little of Clovis fourth and Mike Sherman of Stockton fifth.
Chris Mays of Stockton was the initial leader of the 30-lap I.B. Benedict Pure Stock feature. Mays hung on through the ninth lap before bowing to Joe Stearns of Stockton with Danny Guibor of Manteca coming to second behind him. Guibor, an early heat winner, took the lead on the next lap and never looked back, picking up his fourth career win and first of the 2000 season. Stearns held on to finish second ahead of heat winner Guy Guibor of Manteca. Semi-main winner Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs was fourth in front of Mays.
Guy Guibor leads brother Danny in the season point chase by only five (517-512) with Tracy Bolin third at 475.
An 11-car field of Renegade Sprints completed the four-division show with their third Stockton appearance of the season. Ken Rines of Tracy was the early leader of their 30-lap feature. A yellow fell on lap-nine as heat winner Joe Kerduca of Patterson lost a battle with the front wall off turn-four. Eddie Rhoades of Don Pedro took the lead on lap-11, with fast timer Roger Galleano of Madera coming to second on the next pass. A red fell on the next lap as Galleano threw a tire going down the front chute. Only one additional minor yellow slowed the action as heat winner Rhoades brought it home first, ahead of dash winner Ed Amador of Modesto. Bob Bankson of Rancho Cordova took third ahead of Marvin Mitchell of San Jose and David Galleano of Madera.
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This coming Saturday night is Mega 100 Jammin Oldies and Craftsman Tool Night at Stockton 99 Speedway. The NASCAR-Sanctioned racing program will feature 50-lap main events for Grand American Modifieds and Pro Stocks, plus I.B. Benedict Pure Stocks.
Racers and fans will be afforded the opportunity to win several prizes offered by Craftsman Tools.
Gates for the Mega 100 Jammin Oldies Craftsman Tool Night will open at 3:00 p.m. with qualifying set for 5:00 and green flag racing at 6:00.
Adult tickets will cost $12, with teenagers 13-to-17 and seniors over 65 being admitted for eight dollars. Tickets for children six-to-12 cost four dollars with those under six getting in free.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 North Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.
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