Media Release - May 13, 2006 More...DRIVERS DOCKED!
Media Relations – Dale J Bosowski
HOTWOOD 1000 Series Heats
Up For both
Fans and Drivers at Stockton’s 99 Speedway
May 13, 2006
Dale J Bosowski
It is a long way before the 4th of July, but there were still plenty of fireworks during round #3 of the HOTWOOD 1000 Series by JM Environmental/Havoline for the Western Late Models last Saturday night at Stockton’s 99 Speedway.
Eric Humphries of Chowchilla sat on the pole as the 17-car field took the green flag for the 100-lap HOTWOOD feature. He led through the first half of the race while the pack jockeyed for position behind him.
In the pre race meeting, track officials warned the competitors they would not tolerate any rough driving. They showed they meant business by sending defending track champion #5, Pete Anderson Jr. of Stockton to the back of the pack after he triggered a five car pile up on lap 35 by getting into the bumper of Pacific Grove’s #21, Dave Byrd.
“We were racing hard and the pack checked up. He (Byrd) got on the brakes and I just ran out of room,” explained Anderson. “I wasn’t happy about getting sent to the back, but as long as they (track officials) are consistent with their calls I don’t have a problem with it.”
On lap 57, Stockton’s #90, Ron Strmiska Jr., the winner of round #1 of the HOTWOOD Series on opening day, challenged Humphries for the lead. He just touched the rear end of #32, Humphries car coming out of turn 2, which sent Humphries into a spin.
“We were racing hard. He got loose into the corner when I bumped him. I didn’t mean to hit him, but it wasn’t on purpose,” steamed Strmiska. “He should have let me go anyway because I was obviously faster than he was.”
Before the race resumed, Strmiska was ordered by officials to the back of the field for his transgression.
On the restart, 20 year old #15, Mark Holeman of Los Altos grabbed the race lead, which he held through the final laps to earn the first victory of his young career. Anderson and Strmiska, who both made stirring late race comebacks, completed the top three.
“There were a couple wrecks in front of me that I was able to just miss. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time for once and everything just fell into place tonight,” said an elated Holeman, grinning ear to ear. “This is great. I can’t believe it.”
Tempers flared following the race when Humphries tapped the bumper of Strmiska on the cool down lap. Strmiska then stopped his car in front of Humphries on the back straight, but cooler heads prevailed and the two cars eventually left the track without further incident.
“I don’t understand why he was racing so hard and taking people out that early in the race,” told Humphries, giving his version of the incident with Strmiska. “I had a fast car and it was never the same after the spin. I guess I let my emotions get the best of me afterward, but it was real frustrating to have that happen.”
Track officials expressed their emotions by penalizing Anderson five points and Strmiska and Humphries ten points for their actions.
As is the case in each of the 10 races of the HOTWOOD series, a trophy is donated by a Stockton 99 Speedway legend for presentation to the race winner. For round #3 Tracy’s David Philpott, who was making his 2006 season debut in the race, donated the trophy from the 1992 Taco Bell 100 season finale, which he won to clinch the first of his two track championships.
“It is real nice to win a trophy with so much history behind it. It makes this win just that much better,” said Holeman proudly.
Jay Linstroth of Citrus Heights went perfect on the night by setting fast time in qualifying and then taking commanding wins in both the dash and 50-lap Grand American Modified feature.
Defending division champion Jason Philpot of Sacramento finished in second and Galt’s Jason Kerby completed the top three.
Linstroth dedicated the win to his boyhood friend Byron “Sonny” Warner who was killed in a random shooting while he was waiting for a Light Rail train in south Sacramento three weeks ago.
“I had an angel in Sonny riding with me tonight. I felt him in my heart during the race,” said an emotional Linstroth after the race. “We had some problems with the car all week, but we got it together this morning and the car was perfect all night.”
Linstroth plans to present his winner’s trophy to Warner’s parents as a remembrance.
Hometown driver Chad Holman picked up his first victory of the season in the C.L. Bryant sponsored American Limited Stock Car (ALSC) 30-lap main while Pete Anderson Sr. of Stockton and Escalon’s Darrell Hughes rounded out the podium.
“I fought my way to the front and then just tried to stay out of trouble,” said a happy Holman.
Stockton’s Joe Allen, who has dominated the ALSC division in the early season with four fast times and three wins, crashed on the final lap and finished 12th in the 21 car field.
In their 2006 season Stockton debut, Johnny Morrissey of Tahoe City picked up the checkered flag in the 30-lap Legends feature.
The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series will be back at Stockton next Saturday, May 20 with 50 lap features for both the Havoline Western Late Models. The American Limited Stock Cars, Pro 4 Trucks, and the Young Guns presented by Havoline/C.L. Bryant will complete the big five-division card.
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.