BELLETTO & GUIBOR SCORE STOCKTON TITLES
Patriotic ceremony opens Stockton 99's program 9/14/2002
BY: JIM SHIELS
Two of the three regular division season titles went into the records this week at Stockton 99 Speedway as Harry Belletto of Modesto and Danny Guibor of Manteca ended the numbers hunt in the Weekly Racing Series presented by DODGE.
Belletto, #74, a previous two-time Stockton champion, added one more to his long career of highlights, starting the night with the fast time and winning the heat for the HOTWOOD Western Late Model series sponsored by C.L. Bryant Union 76 Gasoline.
Belletto started 6th on the 14-car field as Chris Monez of Lodi led lap-one. Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs led from lap two, and just as quick it was Belletto on his bumper in second. Belletto took control on lap-seven with his car responding to his every need. The only two yellows on the night fell on laps-22 & 23 and caused their fair share of controversy. Pete Anderson, Jr., #5, of Stockton was called by Officials for their claim of his spinning early leader Monez in the middle of the first turn, On the restart, it was again Anderson being called by Officials for spinning Jeff Belletto, #20, of Modesto in the same spot. Despite Andersonís plea that he was "Brake-checked," he was ejected from the event.
As the feature restart once again, Harry Belletto found himself with a tire going flat as Bolin took the lead followed by dash winner Wes Miller of Ceres. As the checkered fell, it was Bolin, with his second season win, over Miller, H-Belletto, J-Belletto, and Monez. Eric Seely of Modesto won the other heat.
Jay Linstroth was the early leader in the Grand American Modified feature, running to the first lap-yellow as Chris Mays of Stockton got sideways coming off turn-four. At least six others were swept up in the chain reaction melee. The lead was then taken by Jason Kerby of Galt with the race running smoothly to a 18th-lap yellow as Kerby got loose and spun coming off the fourth corner giving the lead back to Linstroth.
The remaining laps went fast with Linstroth picking off his third season win over Sam Solari of Salida. Steve Stacy of Stockton finished third ahead of Jason Philpot of Sacramento, and incoming point leader Danny Contessotto of Stockton. Aaron Young of Stockton set the fast time and won the dash on the night. Contessotto takes a 26-point lead into the final event next week with 59-points available, as second and third place point runners Solari and Stacy continue their chase for the title.
Danny Guibor of Manteca put away his second straight Pure Stock title with a strong second place finish in his feature in a race that saw only one yellow on the first pass as seven cars piled up coming off turn four.
When the dust settled it was Michael Wendt, #1, of Lodi with the lead and determined not to let it go. The fast time was his 9th of the season establishing both a single season division record and division all-time high water mark for the popular young driver. The top five feature finishers were in place by lap five and had nothing to offer each other as they took the checkered 25-laps later. Wendt took his first win over Guibor, Chad Holman of Stockton, Dash Winner Joey Stearns of Stockton, and Semi Main winner C.W. Davis, also of Stockton.
Guibor left the track with an insurmountable 169-point lead and only one event left on the year. The battle for second will be between Wendt, and Tom Bolin of Valley Springs.
The SRL Late Model Wild West Shootout Series put in itís third of four appearances this week with Joey Zampa, #92, of Napa notching the quick time and Ron Strmiska, Jr. of Manteca winning the dash.
The feature event produced seven yellows and a red that in turn held up the event for over 30-minutes as synthetic oil was worked off the track surface in turn four.
Greg Potts, #31, of Manteca was the early leader of the 100-lap affair with Strmiska and John Gaalswyk of Ripon hot on his bumper. On lap-30, Strmiska started looking on the bottom side of Potts and allowed Gaalswyk to make a move of his own. The two touched and Strmiska found himself restarting at the rear after a spin.
By lap-64 it was Gaalswyk doing the looking, making the pass for the lead on lap-69. Zampa came to second on lap-78 and chased Gaalswyk to the final checkered as the two finished ahead of Nathan Tucker of Sonora, Troy Ermish of Fremont, and Strmiska. Eric Holmes of Escalon won over a strong B-Main field.
The Legends of the Pacific were on hand for their 8th night of action on the fast quarter-mile with Michael Morrissey of Kings Beach once again being the man to beat as he won his heat and the feature event in dominate fashion.
Once again it seem like the first lap was the hardest to handle as a red fell when six cars piled up coming off turn four, leaving only nine to restart the event. The wreck was best felt by Morrissey, who had started 10th and found himself second on the restart behind Mike Hoffman of Fremont. Morrissey only took one pass to take the lead and run trouble free to the end. One quick yellow for debris was the only slow-down on the event.
Behind Morrissey and his 6th-season win came heat winner Kelly Martin of Modesto, Pete Currin of Redwood City, Richard Appleby of Yountville, and Hank Smedley of Pittsburg. Jason Fensler of Elk Grove scored the fast time, with the dash win going to Frankie Winchel of Sebastapol.
Stockton returns to action 9-21 with HOTWOOD Late Models, Grand Americans, Pure Stocks, Legends, and the final season offering of the ULTRA-WHEEL Super Trucks.