July 08, 2006
Newlywed Hunt leads USAC to Stockton 99 Speedway for the last time
– By Bobby Gerould – Fair Oaks, CA. July, 5, 2006 …To call Tony Hunt’s week busy would be an understatement. The four-time USAC champion was married inMontreal Canada on Saturday to the former Philipa Evert. By Tuesday night, Hunt was back in California winning a CASA sanctioned sprint car race at Madera Raceway. This Saturday Hunt will look to extend his USAC Western Sprint Car point standings lead when the 750 horsepower sprint cars hit Stockton 99 Speedway.
The Stockton-99 race will be the last event sanctioned by USAC at the venerable quarter-mile paved oval. The track is scheduled to close its gates for good at the end of the 2006 racing season. CASA will co-sanction the sprint car race.
"Stockton is a special race track for all of the USAC competitors", said Hunt. "We hate to see any racetrack close but this one hurts a bit more because Northern California has a legacy of developing fantastic racers due to the close racing you see on short tracks like Stockton."
Also on the Saturday card are the USAC Western Midgets in a co-sanctioned race with the Bay Cities racing Association (BCRA). Midgets have a deep history at the track located adjacent to Highway 99. The first race ever held at Stockton 99 was a USAC Midget event in 1947 won by the late Bill Vukovich. In recent times, NASCAR superstar Kasey Kahne gained experience by winning a feature event at the track.
Hunt will also race in the midget division this Saturday. He won a USAC series race at Altamont Motorsports Park earlier this season. Challenging Hunt in the midgets will be defending USAC Western champion Jerome Rodela who presently is clinging to a one-point lead over Tyler Brown. Rodela leads the series this year with three quick-qualifying efforts, and eight ‘top-five’ finishes but he has yet to score a feature win. Brown meanwhile has found two feature wins in 2006.
The sprint car class is led by Hunt who has a 39 point lead over Meridian, Idaho’s Mike Murgoitio. Hunt and 2005 series sprint car title holder Kody Swanson each have two feature wins this season.
Action begins this Saturday at Stockton 99 Speedway with qualifying at 3:30 PM. Opening ceremonies will take place at 6:00 PM with racing to follow. The grandstand will open at 3:00 PM.