WILLIAMS DOMINATES STOCKTON 99
By: Jim Shiels
First time 2001 season runner Greg Williams of Ceres Looked like a heat seeking missile that just discovered the sun in his season debut at Stockton 99 Speedway this week. The veteran driver charged from his eighth-place starting position to take the lead on lap-16 and moved forward unchallenged to notch his second NASCAR Sanctioned Grand American Modified career victory on the high-banked, quarter-mile pave oval.
The driver favored to win was Jay Linstroth of Citrus Heights, but the rookie winner of the first two events this season helped bring out the only red and the first and worst of seven yellow flags on the night on lap-three as he tangled up with pole sitter and early leader Steve Stacy of Stockton. Both cars came together on the backchute and Linstroth slammed head first into the pit exit wall, severely damaging his Ellis Chassis, but walking away unhurt. Stacy, a past division champion, was able to pit several times for continued repairs during the event, but was never a factor in the final outcome.
Stockton driver Jason Kerby took the point on the fourth-lap restart and bowed to Gary Glenn of Orangevale on lap-nine, who in turn gave way to the speeding Williams on lap-16. Williams proved he was for real in time trials by breaking a four-year-standing track record set in 1997 by Mark Welch of 14.135. Williams posted a snappy 13.981 to lower the division standard and become the first Grand American driver to breach the 13-second barrier. Williams then added insult to injury to his fellow drivers as he quickly blasted to the front to take the kiss and the plaque in the Trophy Dash event.
Gary Glenn crossed in second, but faced a disqualification after the 26-lap, time-shorted feature for being under weight in inspection. Shawn Wentzel of Stockton advanced to the second place slot in his best career finish to date. Paul Henry of Groveland, Robert Knittel of Lodi, and Danny Contessotto of Stockton rounded out the top five. Heats were won by Jerry Bauguess of Manteca, and Eddie Wilcox of Modesto. Henry and Wentzel now share the division point lead after three events with Linstroth sliding to third.
Mike Monez and his son Chris, both of Lodi, brought the Pro Stock division field to its first feature green with "Dad" taking the early lead. By lap-five Monez was followed by Jason White of Lodi, eighth place starter Cary Treadway of Stockton, Johnny Berndt of Clements, and Jeff Lovelace of Stockton. Treadway, the defending division champion, moved to second on lap-12 and took the point for good on the following circuit, with Ed Cullom of Ripon coming to third on lap-16. Cullom spun out on lap-21 allowing Jeff Lovelace to chase Treadway and Monez to the checkered. Jerry Crawford of Stockton, and Berndt rounded out the top five feature finish slots.
Mike Garcia of Lodi posted the quick time with heat wins going to Treadway and Lovelace. Lovelace came back to win the dash event. Treadway leads Monez in the early season points.
It looked like a second straight Pure Stock division feature win for Ray Davis of Galt as he lead from the pole on the first green flag. The 25-lap event ran caution free with Chad Holman of Stockton and Steven Hall of Manteca running close behind in the early laps. Danny Guibor of Manteca slowly made his way to third by lap-17 and into second by lap-22.to pressure Davis who was able to hang tough. As the cars ran down the back chute heading to the white flag, Davis suddenly found a lapped car in his way on the low side, with the outside line quickly blocked by the crafty Guibor. Guibor took the lead at the white flag and held it the final circuit to post the win over Davis, Holman, Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs, and Jeff Ahl of Lodi.
Ahl posted the quick time at a near record pace of 17.189 as the division took time trials for the first time in the young season. Guibor won the trophy dash, with the C-Main win falling to David Holman of Stockton. Rookie runner Jim Lewallen of Manteca bested 13 others to win the B-Main. Doug Lane of Stockton now leads Guibor by only one point in the early season title chase.
The 5/8th scale, 1300cc powered Baby Grands were on hand for their second season appearance this week with Brian Carter of Saratoga lowering the divisions one-lap speed record to 15.274. Mark Smith of Tracy once again dominated the race events as he ran first in the heat, the dash, and the twenty-lap feature. Carter finished second ahead of Ron Simmons of Brentwood, Blake Barber of Lodi, and Dave Figuerido of Tracy.
Racing action will continue next Saturday with the return of the C.L. Bryant/Union 76 sponsored Late Models in a double point event. The NASCAR Late Models will be joined by the Grand Americans, Pro Stocks, and the BCRA Midgets.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 North Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.
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