Anderson wins first main at 99
STOCKTON - Pete Anderson Jr. of Stockton couldn't have asked for a better situation on Saturday at Stockton 99 Speedway, and the defending NASCAR Western Late Model champ took full advantage of the opportunity.
Anderson started on the pole and went wire to wire to claim his first main-event
win of the season on double-points night at Stockton 99. The biggest surprise of
the evening happened before any of the races when points leader Dave Byrd didn't
show up at the track.
Anderson had not won in the first six races of the season, but stayed in the top five most of the time. But he started on the inside of the front row on Saturday and beat Ron Strmiska off the line to take the lead. There was not any yellow flags in the race, and Anderson cruised to the eight win of his career.
"We just had a great car and everything went right," Anderson said. "I was getting a little anxious about not winning, but everything fell into place."
Ron Strmiska Jr. of Manteca was second and Pete Hernandez of Chicago finished third. Unofficially, Anderson leads Hernandez 364-347 in the WLM points race.
Byrd, left, led Anderson Jr. by four points entering Saturday's program. Stockton 99 chief steward John Weimer said he talked to Byrd's car owner, Ray Miller, before the races and Miller indicated he was upset about some of the track's rules.
"This is very surprising, we had no idea Dave, #21, wasn't going to show," track manager Pat Patnaude said. "But obviously it's their decision."
Anderson said he was as surprised as anyone not to see Byrd. "I wish Dave was here, but all we can do is go out and race," Anderson said.
Byrd and Miller could not be reached for comment on Saturday night.
Mike Regelman, #66, of Ripon gave himself the best birthday gift he could get when he won his first Grand American Modified main event. The Ripon driver turned 23 on Saturday, and he held off a challenge from points leader, #10a, Jay Linstroth.
Regelman said he won because he had a good car and listened to his father, Rick Regelman.
"This is by far the best gift," he said. "My father told me that as long as I stayed smoothed and used my head, I'd win one."
Linstroth was trying for a clean sweep at the quarter-mile oval after winning the trophy dash and setting the fast time at 14.360. He was second.
Matt Erickson, #42, of Ceres managed to keep the lead during an incident with Darrell Hughes of Escalon and won the American Limited Stock Car main event. Erickson cut off Hughes coming out of turn two and went sideways but was able to control his car.
Hughes spun out and finished sixth. "Matt is a clean driver, and I think it was just one of those racing things," Hughes said. "It happens."
Mark Henslee, #6, of Lathrop won his third Pro-4 Truck main event of the season,
Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 firstname.lastname@example.org