July 01, 2006
Fensler weaves way to victory
Record Staff Writer
Published Sunday, Jul 2, 2006
STOCKTON - Jason Fensler didn't have to wait
a decade to win another Fourth of July weekend race at Stockton 99 Speedway.
Fensler started at the back of the field in 20th place after suffering an ignition problem at the start of the race and skillfully weaved his way to the front to win the WestCar Late Model Series Eagle Fitness 100 on Saturday night at Stockton 99 in front of an estimated crown of more than 4,500.
Fensler is a two-time winner in the Western Late Model Firecracker 100, which was not complete at press time. He won the event in 1994 and 2004, but he never had to come from last place to do it.
"I guess I did break the (10-year) cycle, but I didn't mind breaking that cycle," Fensler said. "We had a great car, and this was a lot of fun. As much fun as I've had in a car in a long time."
Fensler qualified second, but when he suffered car problems he was forced to go to the infield to fix the ignition. He was able to get back on the track before the green flag.
"For a second there I was worried we wouldn't make it back in, but the crew did a terrific job."
Shannon Mansch, #61, of Roseville, who was trying to win her second WestCar race in Stockton this season, took the lead from Michael Clark of Pleasanton on the first lap. Mansch's car looked strong, but Fensler began to work his way through the field.
The Wilton driver rose to fifth place by lap 20. He started picking off cars on a restart four laps later and passed Gary Glenn of Orangevale for second on lap 31.
He took the lead from Mansch five laps later.
Fensler did have some trouble on lap 57 when the car of Rich Lawlor of Sparks, Nev., which was down a lap, spun out and clipped Fensler.
Fensler held the car straight and cruised the rest of the race.
Chris Monez of Turlock was second, Glenn was third and Mansch was fourth.
The late model stock car drivers weren't the only competitors enjoying the festive atmosphere.
Dave Ball of Stockton, who has attended many Firecracker 100 events as a spectator, earned the first victory at the holiday show by winning the Legend main event.
Ball held off a challenge from his brother-in-law, Fred Clement of Stockton, (right).
Ball, 24, started racing in the Legend division this season, and it was his first win.
"This is my home track; I grew up here, so it's very special because of that and because the Firecracker is always such a great event," Ball said.
"There's always a large crowd, and it's so much fun. It's a great win for us."
A moment of silence was held before the races began for former track promoter and NASCAR vice president Bob Barkhimer and longtime motorsports journalist Gary Jacobs, both of whom passed away in the past two weeks.
Barkhimer, who was 90, brought NASCAR to the West Coast in 1955, and Stockton 99 Speedway became the first track west of the Mississippi River to join the organization.
Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or email@example.com
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.