Race Results 2005 Points Weekly Index Driver PIX & Rosters Diecast Store Pre Race Press Home
Owners say it was
'just time' to call it quits
Record Staff Writer
Published Sunday, Mar 26, 2006
STOCKTON - Bob Hunefeld and Ken Clapp decided the moment had come to stop
fighting the trend.
Privately owned race tracks in California are becoming a rarity. The state loses another when Stockton 99 Speedway closes in September.
"It was inevitable," said Hunefeld, the track's majority owner.
The track is in the process of being sold to land developers, and will eventually be torn down and replaced by houses. The price was not disclosed.
Escrow will take several months, and Stockton 99 begins its final season
Hunefeld and Clapp, minority owner and track promoter, said the decision to sell was made for personal and business reasons. They saw how other tracks had perished to make way for housing and knew one day the best financial move would be to sell.
And they decided they were at the point in their lives to relax.
"It was just time for Bob and I to do it," Clapp said. "We've both been in the business many years, looked at the situation and decided we would sell.
"It's an awfully tough decision to make."
Hunefeld, 77, is the son of track founder Billy Hunefeld and has been involved with the track since the second season in 1948 when he returned from the Navy. Clapp, 67, has been the promoter for more than three decades.
"It's going to leave a large void, there's no doubt," Hunefeld said. "I've been out there practically all my life. But you just know when it's time."
Hunefeld's son, Chris Hunefeld, agrees it was the correct decision because he is a licensed realtor and a realist.
Developers are purchasing the land around Stockton 99's 20 acres, which is on Wilson Way just west of Highway 99.
"I planned to keep running it forever, but you see what's happening all over the state. No one can make you sell, of course, and people would just keep building around us and putting up walls," Chris Hunefeld said. "Eventually it gets tough to do business, and someone keeps offering a great price to sell. That's what is happening."
Last season, El Cajon Speedway and Mesa Marin Speedway in Bakersfield shut down, but the former owners of Mesa Marin plan to rebuild in the area.
Clapp and Hunefeld have no such plans, although there have been rumors to the contrary in the past year.
"Absolutely not true," Clapp said. "I've heard them, but Bob and I are calling it a day. If we wanted to keep going, we already have a great track."