Saturday Night’s Alright for NASCAR Racing at Stockton’s 99 Speedway
Dodging the steady procession of storms that continue to plague California’s Central Valley this spring, Stockton’s 99 Speedway kicked off its regular Saturday night NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series racing schedule last evening with six divisions of Havoline/C.L. Bryant sponsored racing.
The popular open-wheel Grand American Modifieds (GAM) made their 2006 season debut in a scheduled 50-lap feature. Unfortunately, a cold,oily track, combined with a winter’s worth of driver adrenaline buildup, brought out five yellow and two red flags which forced officials to shorten the GAM main to 25 laps.
Pole sitter Jay Linstroth, #10a, of Citrus Heights looked unbeatable in the early stages of the 18 car GAM feature, at least until he got caught behind a back marker on lap 10 and was turned around by the second place car of Ripon’s #66, Mike Regelman. Regelman’s lead was short lived, however, as he blew his engine just five laps later handing the lead to an appreciative Chris Mays of Stockton.
"It is real frustrating. I really came out here with high expectations to try and win the championship in the track’s last season," said Linstroth shaking his head. "It’s not the way we wanted to start, but that is just the breaks of racing I guess."
Mays, #39, held the lead for the remainder of the race to pick up his first career win at the speedway, Tony Noceti, #6, of French Camp finished second and Dixon’s Jerry Dubach took third. Linstroth was able to claw his way back to sixth place finish despite cutting a tire on lap 18.
"Patience was the number one thing I had going for me tonight. It is something that my family always tells me to be," said Mays, age 23. "Stockton is the toughest, hardest track I have ever driven at. There are so many good experienced drivers out there. I am really proud of this."
Not to be outdone, the Havoline Western Late Models sent the speedway’s flagman reaching for the Advil after bringing out the yellow caution flag on nine different occasions in their 50-lap feature.
Salida’s #6, Sam Solari got around front row starters Guy Guibor, #61, of Manteca and #20, Pete Hernandez of Chicago, Illinois, in the early stages of the race, then held on the rest of the way to take his first ever win in a Late Model.
It wasn’t easy for Solari though. He battled hard all the way to the end with Hernandez, former track champion #21, Dave Byrd of Pacific Grove and Peyton Sellers, #11, the 2005 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series National Champion out of South Boston (Va.) Speedway, the eventual second, third and fourth place finishers, respectively.
Defending track champion Pete Anderson Jr. of Stockton was also involved in the fray at the front through much of the race until he spun on lap 39. Anderson would recover to finish seventh out of 21 starters.
"I am excited. It was rough out there, but my Modified experience paid off tonight," said Solari who is making the move from a Grand American Modified to a Late Model this season. "I’ve got a great crew and Eric Holmes on the radio talking to me. He is like a professional coach; he’s the best. Eric is constantly giving me advice and he keeps me calmed down out there."
"I was yelling at him on every lap," laughed Holmes after hearing his driver’s comments.
The American Limited Stocks are noted for their rock’em, sock’em style of racing and they did not disappoint any of the crowd of 1,677 on hand Saturday night.
Stockton’s #99, Donny Darter survived the battle royal style race to take the checkered flag, but he failed the post race technical inspection and the win was awarded to the defending ALS champion, #15 Charlie Clawson of Modesto.
The Pro 4 Truck race was relatively tame in comparison to the other divisions as defending Pro 4 champion #6, Mark Henslee of French Camp picked up his first win of the 2006 season. Ron Robeck of Milpitas and Bryan Hitchcock of Manteca rounded out the top three.
Rio Linda’s Johnathan Hale won the Baby Grand race and Manteca’s Jacob Gomes picked up the win in the Young Guns feature as both classes made their season debut at the speedway.
The Western Late Models and Grand American Modifieds will get next weekend off as the 99 Speedway will host the Gerhardt 100 for the Midgets featuring the USAC/BCRA Midgets. The American Limited Stocks and Pro 4 Trucks, presented by Havoline/C.L. Bryant, will also be on the program along with the USAC/CASA Sprint Cars.
The Stockton 99 Speedway is located just off Highway 99 at 4105 North Wilson Way. If you are traveling south on Highway 99 take the Wilson Way exit. If you are heading north on Highway 99 take the Cherokee Road exit, loop over the freeway, turn right onto Newton Road and then turn left on Wilson Way.
Stockton 99 Speedway Info/Race Line (209) 466-9999.
Solari survives, wins WLM
Record Staff Writer
Published Sunday, Apr 16, 2006
STOCKTON - Sam Solari figures you can learn
fast if you have good teachers.
Solari, racing in just his second NASCAR Western Late Model race, listened to his pit crew and won the 50-lap main event in front of a crowd of 1,677 on a rough Saturday night at Stockton 99 Speedway. It was a rough-and-tumble night at the 60-year-old oval track, and Solari had to work his way through several crashes.
He said the main reason why he picked up his first WLM race was because car builders Eric Holmes and Ty Joiner kept shouting instructions in his headset.
"They were coaching me
big time," said Solari, 33. "They got me to calm down. I'm learning how to drive
a real race car for the first time."
Solari, a former Manteca resident who lives in Salida, is a rookie in the WLM class, but he is a veteran racer. He has a decade of experience in other divisions at Stockton 99 and Delta Speedway, and won the Grand American Modified title in Carson City.
But he had never driven a late model car until the Stockton 99 season opener on April 9.
"Sam did a great job," Holmes said. "He did everything he had to do."
Solari grabbed the lead on lap 13 but almost lost it on lap 39 when he was hit from behind by Pete Hernandez of Chicago and wobbled. But there was an accident, and the order of the cars reverted to the previous lap. Solari returned to first place and was never seriously challenged again.
Hernandez was second, and Dave Byrd of Pacific Grove was third. Peyton Sellers of Danville, Va., the reigning Dodge Weekly Racing Series national champion, was fourth. He was racing to prepare for the Grand National West race at Stockton 99 on April 29.
Chris Mays of Stockton avoided several incidents and won his first Grand American Modified main event at Stockton 99. The race was scheduled for 50 laps, but was cut to 25 laps because of the numerous crashes.
Charlie Clawson of Modesto won the American Limited Stock main event after the top two finishers - Stockton drivers Donnie Darter and Chad Holman - were disqualified. Mark Henslee of Lathrop (Pro 4 Truck), Jonathan Hale of Rio Linda (Baby Grand) and Jacob Gomes of Manteca (Young Guns) won main events.
Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or
makes a hit
Record Staff Writer
Published Sunday, Apr 16, 2006
STOCKTON - Sam Solari figures you can learn fast if you have good teachers.
Solari, racing in just his second NASCAR Western Late Model race, won the 50-lap main event in front of a crowd of 1,677 on a rough Saturday night at Stockton 99 Speedway. Solari was thrilled with his win, but said he wasn't surprised betcause he's been tutored by car builders Eric Holmes and Ty Joiner.
"They were coaching me big time," Solari said. "They got me to calm down. I'm learning how to drive a real race car for the first time."
Solari, a former Manteca resident who lives in Salida, has been racing for 10
years in other divisions. But at age 33, the driver nicknamed "Slammin' Sammy"
is a raw rookie in stock cars.
Solari looked like a veteran, and he drove a clean, consistent race and tried to avoid mixing it up with other cars on a night when racing was truly a contact sport. There were nine caution periods as the cold conditions attributed to a slick track.
Solari seemingly lost the lead on lap 39 when he was hit from behind by Pete Hernandez of Chicago, and wobbled. But there was an accident on the lap, and the order of the cars reverted to the previous lap. Solari returned to first place, and never was seriously challenged again.
Hernandez was second, and Peyton Sellers of Danville, Va., the reigning Dodge Weekly Racing Series national champion, was third.
Chris Mays of Stockton was able to avoid several incidents and won his first Grand American Modified main event at Stockton 99. The race was scheduled for 50 laps, but was cut to 25 laps because of the numerous crashes.
"The key is to be patient," Mays said. "That's what I tried to do and it's great to win out here."
Tony Noceti of French Camp was second, and Jerry Dubach of Dixon was third.
Donnie Darter of Sto`ckton won the American Limited Modified main event, the sixth of his career. There was a scary moment on lap 19 when Joe Oldham of Roseville smashed head on into the exit gate in turn No. 3. The car was totaled, but Oldham walked away uninjured and went to the grandstands to watch Darter take the checkered flag.
Joe Allen unofficially set a new ALM qualifying record with a time of 15.461 seconds.
Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 firstname.lastname@example.org