FIVE WINNERS ATSTOCKTON 99
BY: JIM SHIELS
In a snappy show that covered five divisions of racing on the quarter-mile paved oval, feature wins at Stockton 99 Speedway this week went to Harold Rieker of Orangevale, Sam Solari of Salida, Gary Shafer, Jr., of Stockton, Ryan Mosher of Cupertino, and Dave Byrd of San Jose.
The NASCAR Sanctioned premier division HOTWOOD Western Late Model action saw Harry Belletto of Modesto post the quick time and back his track record set the previous week, with heat wins falling to Pete Anderson, Jr., of Stockton, and Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs. Eddie Laws of Citrus Heights picked up his first career division dash win.
Buzz Devore of Stockton took the first lap lead with third place starter Dave Byrd of San Jose jumping to second and taking the lead on the next circuit. Anderson gained second on lap-six and the two moved off to wage their own battle as the field trailed.
By the tenth go-round it was Byrd, Anderson, Devore, Rieker, and Bolin in the lead chain, with fast improving Joe Hylton of Manteca coming to 5th on lap-13. The only yellow on the event fell on lap-15 as Laws and Wes Miller of Delhi got together on the back chute leaving Miller sideways on the track.
A traffic jam on the attempted restart saw Bolin get into the back of Anderson with Bolin winding up minus a fair share of fiberglass. As the cars headed down the back straight on lap-16, Anderson got into the rear of Byrd and send the incoming point leader against the turn three wall allowing Rieker to dive low form his third place slot and take the lead at the line. No yellow was showed as Byrd gathered it up to continue racing several positions back.
Rieker held strong to post his second season win over Anderson, Hylton, Belletto, and Byrd, who saw his point lead slip to 33 marks over Belletto, with Miller sitting in the third position on the season chart.
The NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge, Grand American Modified action saw two career firsts for Sam Solari with a fast time effort and a feature win for the third season driver and former Delta Speedway dirt track standout.
Jason Philpot of Sacramento led the early rounds of the feature with a yellow flying on lap-6 as John Moore of Granite Bay and dash winner Jay Linstroth of Citrus Heights made their way into the turn one wall with both able to continue. It was Philpot, incoming point leader Steve Stacy of Stockton, and Solari on the restart with Solari coming to second on lap-8, and taking the lead on lap-12 with Stacy in tow.
A red was exposed on lap-24 as 16-year-old standout Kyle Gottula of Modesto went up in smoke and flames in turn three from his fifth place slot and Stacy got collected in the oil on the run back to the yellow/red
Solari was unchallenged to the checkered as he led Danny Contessotto of Stockton, Philpot, Larry Hoover of Turlock, and Buzz Devore of Stockton to the line.
Stacy saw his point lead slip to a slim 13-point margin over Contessotto, with Solari moving to third after his night’s effort.
Pure Stock action saw highly talented Gary Shafer, Jr., of Stockton back in action after a full season off which counted for nothing in the ‘rust department’ as he romped wire-to-wire for his first win since 9-16 of 2000.
Steven Hall of Manteca started second but was quickly passed by Cindy Freitas of Lodi on lap-three. Her ‘taillights’ were in turn picked up by Chad Holman of Stockton, who slid to third on lap-seven.
The only halt to the event came in the form of a red flag on lap-27 as Aimee Sullivan of Lodi lost control on the front straight and was hit head on by Stockton driver Johnny Rose with both able to walk away unscathed.
Shafer took the checkered ahead of Freitas, Holman, fast time and dash winner Tom Bolin of San Jose, and incoming point leader Danny Guibor of Manteca. Ken Ratcliff of Stockton took the B-Main feature with Guibor able to maintain a 23-point lead on the season chase over Holman. Dave Ball of Stockton chose to transfer to the feature event and gave up his B-Main points leaving him a scant six-marks ahead of Stockton driver Dustin Himes in the B-Main title run.
The Legends of the Pacific were on hand this week with Ryan Mosher holding the hot hand with a near sweep of fast time, heat, and feature wins. Rob Lathrop of Santa Clara won the dash, with the other heat falling to Gary Hockman of San Jose.
Rick Andrews of Santa Clara was the early feature leader with Mosher gaining third on lap-ten, second a lap later, and taking the lead on lap-16. No yellows made for a quick 30-lap romp with Mosher taking the checkered over Andrews, Wayne Estes of Patterson, Hockman, and Kelly Martin of Modesto.
The Ultra Wheel Super Trucks were back in action for their second season appearance at Stockton with Dave Byrd picking up right where he left off in the first event, making it two-for-two in feature wins. Mark Holeman of Los Altos was the early leader with a lap-ten line consisting of Holeman, Bryan Arak of Clovis, and Kevin O’Neil of Long Beach, with Byrd already in fourth from his 8th place start.
Byrd moved to second on lap21 and took the lead for good on lap-24 after a 23rd lap yellow for a spin by Jeff Sheridan of San Jose. Byrd picked up his fourth career truck feature and lowered the single lap speed record for the 350 cubic inch trucks as an added measure.
Arak finished second over dash winner Kyle Evans of Hanford. Mark Laeger of Temecula, and O’Neil rounded out the top five.