2004 99 Schedule
Fensler, Byrd bring more than 4,000 fans to their feet in HAVOLINE Western Late Model Tri Holiday 100-lap NASCAR duel; Clawson wins another Pure Stock; Rubarsky claims SRL Wild West Shootout 100-lapper
STOCKTON 99 SPEEDWAY, SATURDAY, JULY 3 -- In front of a screaming, standing room only crowd, Sacramento’s Jason Fensler, #22, and Pacific Grove’s, #9, Dave Byrd battled it out in the HAVOLINE Tri Holiday Western Late Model 100-lap NASCAR main event.
Byrd, running in his usual outside grove, used skill -- and restarts -- to take the lead from Fensler several times. In the final 10 laps, there were no restarts, and Fensler was able to overpower Byrd for the win.
“Ten years ago we won this race,” said Fensler, (right). “It’s exciting to win this, it’s a prestigious race.”
In the NASCAR DODGE Weekly Series 20-car race, Granite Bay’s #27, John Moore started at the pole. Byrd flew into the lead in the first lap. The first yellow flag waved in lap-4, Fensler began nipping at Byrd’s bumper on the restart.
By lap-27, Fensler had taken the lead for the first time, adding distance between himself and Byrd in the straights and in the turns.
In lap-41, Byrd capitalized on a move that Lodi’s Robert Knittel made in the backstretch, and regained control of the race. Two laps later, Fensler moved into the middle of the track, came up on Byrd, who was running in the outside, and forced him to stay there until taking the lead.
In lap-77 Byrd retook the lead out of turn-4. He and Fensler then spared in a neck-and-neck battle for first and second through lap-84. Then, Fensler retook the lead on the backstretch, holding it through the checkered flag.
Fensler marked Byrd’s performance with an “excellent,” and said, “I’ve raced him for years, he’s a class act.”
The race was Fensler’s first in three weeks, he has been competing in the South West Tour. On Saturday, July 31 Fensler will return to Stockton 99 Speedway for the AUTO ZONE Southwest Tour 125-lap Championship sponsored by JM Environmental.
Adding excitement to CL BRYANT sponsored track were a number of the Western Late Model division’s regular players, and some visitors.
Among the visitors was Roseville’s, #6, Shannon Mansch. She, the race’s only female competitor, started in the number 8 slot. At the checkered flag’s waving, she had maneuvered into fourth.
Stockton’s Pete Anderson Jr., #5, finished in third and Turlock’s, #11, Chris Monez came in fifth.
The heart-and-soul racers competing in the Pure Stock division’s 30-lap main weren’t going to be outdone in terms of providing excitement to Saturday night’s crowd.
In lap-8, Stockton’s, #66, Ken Ratcliff pumped up the crowd for the first time in the race when he made a risky, inside squeeze play with contact and moved into first.
In lap-11, a multi car spinout heading into turn-3 drew yellow. At the green Ratcliff, his X-Fest teammate from Modesto, #15, Charlie Clawson, and Stockton’s Jim Vosberg, #69, were lined up in first, second and third. By lap-13 Clawson took the lead and held it through to the end.
“I thought it was going to be Ken’s race,” said Clawson. “I attribute my win to him (Ratcliff), he sets up my car each week.”
Ratcliff and Clawson made their ways from midway, through the field to take the first and second positions. In lap-25 Ratcliff had to drop out of the race when his car lost power due to a blown ignition module.
Manteca’s Steve Hall, #3, took second, Stockton’s Brian Vosburg, #89, took third, Valley Springs’#21, Tom Bolin took fourth and Lodi’s David Sullivan took fifth.
Campbell’s Chris Drysdale, #31, took the top qualifying time for the third week in a row, and was coming off a clean sweep of the division from the Saturday, June 19 race. But trouble on the track in the 30-lap main held him to a third place finish.
Lodi’s Mike Curry, #48, took first, Riverbank’s Todd Lewis, #2, earned second Salida’s, #76, Dave Daniels took fourth and Saratoga’s Carrie Miller, #27, earned fifth.
SRL Wild West Shootout
Wild West Shootout series points leader, #51, Rick Ruzbarsky, of Tracy, from the number 2 position, shot into the front of the pack on lap-1. He maintained the lead through to the checkered flag.
Following his third win of the season, Ruzbarsky said, “It feels good to win. We’ve been catching a lot of h--- for leading in points without many wins.”
Ruzbarsky’s win wasn’t without challenge. Spinouts and no-injury collisions marked the 20-car race.
In the final four laps Ruzbarsky’s ability to maintain the lead was tested by Anderson’s, #21, Ryan Foster, who ran in tight with him, even making contact with him in the final lap.
“He (Foster) was on me,” said Ruzbarsky. “He was really putting it down on me toward the end, I would have done the same thing. At the end he saw I was in the front and he respected me.”
Escalon’s#63, Eric Holmes also provided race fans with some great action. Holmes started out six deep. By lap-62 he had worked his way to fifth, coming out of turn-3 he made a successful play for fourth, 13 laps later he crawled into third where he finished the race.
Foster ended with second. Valley Springs’, #02, Tracy Bolin took fourth and Roseville’s, #05, Eric Schmidt earned a fifth.
On Saturday, July 10 Western Late Model, Pure Stock, Grand American Modified, Pro-4 Trucks and Legends divisions return to Stockton 99 Speedway for DOUBLE POINTS Battles!!.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 North Wilson Way. Traveling south on Highway 99, take the Wilson Way exit. The track is two blocks up the road just past the first stop light. On Highway 99 north, take the Cherokee Road exit, loop over the freeway to Newton Road and turn right. Drive one mile and turn left at the Wilson Way stoplight. From Interstate 5, get on the Cross-town Freeway and head east to Highway 99 north, then drive north on Highway 99 to the Cherokee Road exit. For information, call (209) 466-9999, or visit www.stockton99speedway.com.