July 01, 2006
Strmiska Jr. adds to family legacy at Firecracker
Record Staff Writer
Published Monday, Jul 3, 2006
STOCKTON - Ron Strmiska Sr. smiled as he saw his son hold the Firecracker 100 trophy, pose for photographs and accept the cheers of fans.
It's always nice when your offspring can
continue a family tradition.
Ron Strmiska Jr. of Stockton led the final 90 laps of the last scheduled Firecracker 100 in track history and sealed his win early Sunday morning at Stockton 99 Speedway in front of a crowd of 4,516.
His father won three Firecracker 100 races, the last in 1991, and was thrilled to see his family claim a fourth victory.
"It's wonderful that Ron got to experience what it's like to win this race," Strmiska Sr. said. "The Firecracker is the biggest race of the year at Stockton 99; it's the one we all want to win. This is great for our family."
Stockton 99 is set to close at the end of the season. Strmiska Jr. won the emotional opening-day race on April 9, and he dedicated both wins to his 6-year-old nephew, Ian, who is being treated for cancer.
"(Ian) loves racing, and we wish he could be here," he said. "It was a long, tough night, but we had the best car and we were able to get in front."
The Firecracker was another slam-bam, heated contest, with seven of the 20 cars entered unable to finish the race. Strmiska Jr. took the checkered flag at 12:18 a.m. Sunday, and most of the crowd stuck around to see the finish.
Strmiska Jr. has struggled in recent weeks, but his pit crew fixed a problem in the rear end of his car after qualifying, and he started in the second row.
He quickly advanced to second place and moved up on lap 10 when John Moore of GraniteBay, last year's Firecracker winner, lost the lead because of a mechanical problem.
Strmiska Jr. was almost caught up in an accident when Charlie Clawson of Modesto crashed into the wall on lap 57. It was originally ruled that Eric Humphries of Chowchilla had passed Strmiska Jr. before the caution flag came out, but the decision was reversed, and Strmiska Jr. maintained the lead.
Mark Holeman of Los Altos was second, Humphries was third, and Danny Contessotto of Stockton finished fourth after starting 15th.
"We moved up 11 places; that's not a bad night." Contessotto said. "It was a good run."
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.