PETTIT PERFECT AT STOCKTON 99
(STOCKTON, CA--September 3, 2000)--Jim Pettit II of Salinas ran off a perfect night to capture the third and final leg of the three-race NAPA Auto Parts Tri-Holiday Classic for Late Models at Stockton 99 Speedway Saturday night. Pettit led all 100 laps holding off a last lap push by Steve Belletto--to replicate wins of Memorial Day and 4th of July weekends. Pettits dominance in the Sixth Annual event was so complete that he never trailed in any of the three 100-lap races and his three race sweep duplicated the effort of Steve Belletto in 1996. On this particular night, he even posted fast time and won the trophy dash.
Starting on the pole alongside Ron Strmiska, Jr. of Manteca in a 16-car field, Pettit jumped in front and the question coming in was, "Could he hold off the challenge of Greg Potts of Manteca?"who, with second and third place efforts in the first two races, only trailed Pettit by two-and-a-half points. Steve Belletto, who started third alongside Potts, passed Strmiska for second on lap-two with Dave Byrd of Pacific Grove coming to third on lap-five. By lap-10, as the field began to stretch out, it was Pettit, Belletto, Byrd, Strmiska, and Steves younger brother Jeff Belletto, also of Modesto. Potts inexplicably was beginning to fade.
All doubt regarding Potts was removed on lap-21 when he pulled to the infield and got out of his car foiled by a broken water pump belt. Meanwhile, the new question was, "Who was going to challenge Pettit?" For awhile it looked like Byrd as he chased the front runner to the events first yellow on lap-42 for a spin by John Wood of Walnut Creek off turn-two. On lap-58, Steve Belletto pulled back to second before a second yellow was displayed on lap-70 when Strmiska suffered front-end damage as he tried to avoid C.J. Jahnke of Reno.
The third yellow came on lap-76 for a spin by Brian Griffitts of Stockton. Another entanglement involving Strmiska brought out the final yellow on lap-96 when Brian Smith and he collided off turn-four. Both cars were able to continue and created a four car shootout to the checkered with Petitt being being pursued by the Belletto clan. Belletto got under Pettit on the white flag lap but was unable to hold the line and slid back to finish second followed by "Papa"Harry and his brother Jeff. Strmiska held on for fifth.
In spite of Pettits sterling effort, he still trails Steve Belletto and Strmiska in the Late Model point chase. Belletto leads with 502. Strmiska is second at 471 and Pettit third at 449.
Mark Welch of Orangevale all but put away his second consecutive Stockton 99 Speedway and NASCAR Regional championship by posting his 13th feature victory in 20-starts in Grand American competition. Bob Reichmuth of Manteca grabbed the first lap lead for the 20-carf field with Welch, who started sixth, moving to fifth on lap-three before a yellow fell. Danny Contessotto of Stockton lost power and stopped in the middle of turns three and four and was hit dead on in the rear by Dave Davis of Turlock. Both cars received serious damage and were out for the night.
Welch moved to fourth on lap-seven, third on lap-nine with a yellow coming out on lap-12 for a spin by Steve Stacy of Stockton off turn-two. Two yellows fell back-to-back on laps 20 and 21 and, when the next green flew, so did Welch, right to the lead on lap-22. The race ran trouble free to the checkered with Welch finishing in front of Reichmuth, Tony Silva of Sacramento, Steve Daniels of Orangevale and Lodi pilot Robert Knittel.
Welch leads Silva in the season point battle 1047 to 943.
Another perfect night transpired in the Pro Stock division, with Cary Treadway of Stockton setting the fast time and notching the dash-main combo as he continued to up all the division records for the first year division.
After starting 12th in a 13-car field, Treadway took the lead from Scott Chappell of Lodi on lap-13. Treadway eased home with his 12th win in 18 starts along with nine dash triumphs and 13 fast times on the year. Chappell finished second, followed by Jerry Crawford of Stockton, Pete Ramirez of Manteca, and Hylton. Treadway leads Chappell in the division point chase by 103 (1085-982).
It was almost a perfect night in the Pure Stock class as Chad Holman of Stockton notched his first career feature win in their 30-lap main event, after taking an early heat victory and finishing second in the trophy dash.
Holman led from the gun with incoming point leader and defending champion Guy Guibor of Manteca hot on his bumper. Second place point man, Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs saw a narrow lead open to a wide gap as he suffered mechanical problems and pitted on lap-five. At the halfway point, it was Holman followed by Guibor, Mike Soiseth of Stockton, Mike Graham of Manteca and Tom Bolin of Morgan Hill.
The races only yellow fell on the 27th-go-round as Royce Niceler of Stockton and Soiseth tangled and slid against the turn one wall. On the re-start, Bolin jumped into second and was followed to the checkered by Guibor, his brother Danny, also of Manteca, and Graham. Guibor leads the season point battle over Tracy Bolin by 81 (1115-1034).
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Saturday night, September 9, is KHKK, 104-point-one, "The Hawk" Night at Stockton 99 Speedway when Mark Welch of Orangevale attempts to clinch his second straight NASCAR Pacific Coast Region championship.
Ticket gates will open at 3:00 p.m. for the three division program that will feature 50-lap main events for Grand Ams, Pro Stocks and Pure Stocks. Qualifying is set for 5:00 with green flag racing at 6:00 p.m.
Adults tickets cost $12, eight for teenagers 13-to17 and seniors over 65, and four dollars for children six-to-12. Those under six get in free.
Listen to KHKK, 104-point-one, "The Hawk" for the opportunity to get free tickets and join in the fun at Stockton 99 Speedway Saturday night.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.
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