2009 Local Tracks
STOCKTON 99 SPEEDWAY
Beeler, Winters, Coonfield and Lewis Celebrate Victories On Alpine Meats Night At The Races
The New Stockton 99 Speedway Media Release – 6-27-2009
Media Relations – David Holman
After an exhilarating weekend in Sonoma, racers and fans alike made their way home to the “Little Bristol of the West.” Through mountains and across valleys, they came in droves, back to what many consider the greatest competition in America today: Saturday night short-track racing! On June 27th, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Western Late Models, Grand American Modifieds, ALSC/Street Stocks and the Bombers traded paint in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 2,000 at the Bullring that is Stockton 99 Speedway and absolutely nobody left disappointed.
In the Western Late Models, Points Leader Justin Philpott (05) of Tracy was looking to extend his lead by winning two in a row. Tonight, however, he would have to pull double-duty with a 50 lapper followed by a 49 lapper. Of course, with Philpott being a “Young Gun” there should be no problem with stamina and drive. The 50 lapper would start, of course, with some “Old Guns” on the front row. On the inside would be Jeff Belletto (12) of Modesto and alongside him to the right would be his dad, the legendary Harry Belletto in his quite familiar #74 Chevrolet. They would battle back and forth for the first few laps with the #12 eventually coming out on top. The first eight laps would be plagued by three caution periods with Belletto (12) grabbing the lead on the restart each time but with intense pressure from Mike Beeler (6) of Salida. On lap 42 the fourth caution flew but before the restart Belletto (12) pulled into the infield for minor repairs. This allowed Beeler to inherit that number one slot and, although he had to deal with two more yellows and a red he managed to stay out front and bring home his first ever Late Model win at Stockton. “It feels very good to come across and see that checkered flag fall,” said a very happy Beeler. “With a few adjustments here by the crew, we’ll be ready for the next one.” The young Philpott came in second, Joey Stearns (8) of Stockton crossed the line in third with the #16x of Jacob Gomes fourth and the #86 of Tim Spurgeon fifth.
The 49 lapper began with another Belletto on the pole. However, this time it would be Harry’s grandson, Nic Belletto (15) of Modesto, bringing the fieldaround to take the green. The third generation driver would lead until lap 8 when Joey Stearns parked against the turn four wall attracting the first yellow of the race. On the restart Vito Ranuio #78 of Modesto secured the point and held on until lap 20 when Belletto (15) snatched that top spot back and held on begrudgingly, in spite of constant pressure, until lap 41 when Beeler made his way underneath the #15 and cruised to his second victory of the night. “This is fantastic,” exclaimed Beeler, “The car was great thanks to Robert Strmiska. I waited for the right moment then took advantage of it.” This was an absolutely fantastic race to be sure with battles being waged all around the track. Nic Belletto showed a lot of promise in finishing second while his Uncle Jeff finished close behind in third. Jacob Gomes finished fourth for the second time on the evening and Tracy’s David Philpott ended up fifth. The second race was slowed four times by three yellows and a red.
The Grand American Modifieds returned for another go-round on the speedy high banks. Scott Winters (24) of Tracy has been quite impressive in recent weeks. But that’s not really saying much since everyone knows he is always impressive. The question tonight would be could he make it four in a row? Well, there would be several drivers who had plenty to say about that. The #44 of Jeremy Jackson brought the field to the stripe to get this 75 lapper under way and held strong to that top spot ignoring the heaving pressure from Wes Miller (57) of Turlock until lap 20 when Jackson could no longer hold Miller off as the #57 slipped below the #44 bringing Tracy’s Scott Winters (24) with him. For the next 24 laps Miller and Winters would rage an exclusive battle on which all eyes were glued. But, on lap 44 Larry Tankersley (96) of Stockton performed a solo spin coming off four which drew the one and only caution of the race. On the restart Miller spun his wheels and Winters took quick advantage of the situation by moving fast to the point. On lap 51 Miller’s night would end as he exited the race track with mechanical troubles which enabled Winters to pull out to a full straightaway lead over second place Mike Regelman in his #5a machine. Winters would go on to win what would be his fourth race in a row. “You know, it’s fun running these 75 lappers. It was real warm out there today and just like everyone’s hot this track is hot and it’s been slick,” said a jubilant Winters, “Wes Miller was running great, not sure what happened to his car, but we was giving him a good run.” Regelman held on to finish a strong second, David Crouch (20) of Livermore with another impressive run finished third, the #17 of Jim Marchino and Tankersley made up the top five.
Would records continue to fall in the ALSC/Street Stock Division? Only time would tell. But much more important to Lodi’s Jeff Ahl (31) would be could he win three in a row and extend his points lead? The #31 has been stout as of late and with his years of experience circling 99 Speedway, he would come into this night a definite favorite. Tonight the 50 laps of racing would be split into two 25 lappers. In the first segment Brian Vosburg (89), of Stockton paced the field to green and jumped out to a lead that would prove to be insurmountable as he went wire to wire for his first win of the year at Stockton. Points Leader Jeff Ahl (31) of Lodi would finish second 2.1 seconds back. Aaron Coonfield (25) of Riverbank and the Stockton duo of Pete Anderson Sr. and Ben Lewis II would make up the top five.
In segment two the cars were re-inverted putting the #22 of Lewis on the pole with Anderson Sr. flanking him to the outside. Anderson Sr. grabbed the early lead and held tight despite heavy pressure from Coonfield until lap 16 when the #25 got below the #85 and took over the top spot. From there it was smooth sailing for the young driver from Riverbank as Coonfield crossed below the checkers for his fourth win on the season. “I was thinking, man, I just passed a guy who’s hard to get around,” Coonfield said of Anderson Sr., “I wanted to make it happen and keep it clean, I’m tired of wrecking cars out here and I wanted to bring it home in one piece. So this is a good thing.” Anderson finished second followed closely by Ahl with Vosburg and Lewis completing the quintet.
The Bombers have a newly-crowned go-to guy in Tom Dahl (4) of Stockton. Dahl has won the last two times out and as the division rumbled onto the asphalt tonight he looked prepped and ready to go. If Points Leader Ben Lewis (22) of Stockton could regain his early-season form, he could definitely present problems for Dahl. And Lewis did just that starting from inside the fourth row as he shadowed Dahl closely until lap 15 when he grabbed the lead and even though Dahl badgered him the final 25 laps Lewis never succumbed to the pressure in winning his seventh of the season. “The car was real loose, but that’s better than tight like last week,” said a hurried Lewis as he readied himself to jump into his #22 ALSC, “These cars are a whole other ball game, they’re a lot faster.” Dahl would hold on to finish second while Jake Pitt (21) of Stockton came home third. Russell Johnson Jr. (023) of Stockton and the #31 of Tasha Thomas rounded out the top five.
Next Saturday, July 4th California Welding Supply Co. presents the 2009 Tri-Holiday Classic Series Race #2 with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Western Late Models featured in a 150 Lap sprint to the checkers. Also on the ticket for the event will be the Grand American Modifieds in a 75 Lap feature of their own. The ALSC/Street Stocks will go for 75 Laps while the Bombers will beat and bang for 40 Laps. And, as if that wasn’t enough, you won’t want to miss the Spectacular Fireworks Extravaganza during intermission. This should prove to be one FANtastic night of racing entertainment for all to enjoy.
The New Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, ¼-mile west of Highway 99. For more information on tickets and times, please contact the Speedway Office at (209)466-9999. And remember, The New Stockton 99 Speedway is always Family Friendly.
The New Stockton 99 Speedway is sponsored by Jackson Rancheria Casino Hotel, California Welding Supply, Budweiser, and Alamo Alarm.