One isn't a lonely number
Record Staff Writer
Published Saturday, May 27, 2006
Dave Byrd is a little
frustrated that he hasn't won more races.
But the veteran driver from Pacific Grove shouldn't be too disappointed. His one victory is tied for the lead in the NASCAR Western Late Model division at Stockton 99 Speedway.
There has been a different winner in each of the five WLM main events this season, and the streak could continue during the important 100-lap feature 6 p.m. today at the track. The program features a 100-lap WestCar Late Model Series race.
The WLM race is the first Tri-Holiday Classic event, the fourth round of the Hotwood 1,000 and will count in the regular WLM points standings.
Byrd, a two-time track champion and WLM points leader, said it's one of the biggest races of the year.
"This is a biggie, that's for sure, and it's so competitive out there," Byrd said. "Everyone is fast, and everyone is handling pretty good, so there's not a lot of room for mistakes."
Byrd, Ron Strmiska of Stockton, Sam Solari of Salida, Mark Holeman of Los Altos and Eric Humphries of Chowchilla have victories. The list of those who haven't won is just as impressive and includes defending WLM champion Pete Anderson Jr. of Stockton, former track champs Harry Belletto of Modesto and Dave Philpott of Tracy and Guy Guibor of Manteca.
"I don't think I've seen anything like this out here, and I don't remember five different drivers winning the first five races before," track promoter Ken Clapp said. "It's just very competitive, and I've said that in every race, at least 10 drivers can win it."
Byrd is one of them, but he realizes it will be difficult.
"There's a real good chance somebody different will win this week, but I do hope it's me," Byrd said. "I think it could stay this close all season."
The points battles show how tight the racing has been. Anderson hasn't won, but his consistency has him at the top of the Hotwood 1,000 standings.
Anderson leads Strmiska by a point, 131-130. Byrd has 213 points in the WLM division, but there are four drivers within seven points - Humphries with 211, Anderson with 210 and Guibor and Pete Hernandez of Chicago with 206 each.
The WestCar series is making its second stop of the season in Stockton. Byron Gonzales, Gary Glenn and former Stockton 99 regular Troy Shirk are tied for first place with 92 points each.
Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org