2009 Local Tracks


On Jackson Rancheria Night At Stockton 99 Speedway,
Philpott, Spurgeon, Winters, Coonfield And Dahl Hit The Jackpot

On Saturday, August 1st, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Western Late Models, Grand American Modified, ALSC/Street Stocks and the Bombers rolled onto the Quickest Quarter-Mile in the West to try their hands at the quarter-mile asphalt roulette wheel to see who Lady-Luck would be smiling on this evening.  Racing is always a gamble, but the advantage is never to the house since the house has no stake in the outcome.  Rather, the advantage always goes to the driver hiding something up his sleeve, like, for instance, homework.  This track is a tricky one to figure, so the odds-on favorite goes to the team with their heads most in the game.  But, never forget the “Luck Factor.” She’s always out there lurking, waiting to pounce at a moment’s notice.  So, all that anyone can really do is hope on this particular night she happens to be smiling on them.  If not, well . . . better luck next time. 

The Western Late Models were dealt a pair of 50’s.  Not a bad hand at all considering most of the good luck on the night had not as of yet been spent.  Now the question was whether to split or not.  And, of course, in this particular type game, only the dealer could make that decision.  But, when the chips were down and the dealing was done, everyone in attendance would be a winner.  In the first 50 lapper the legendary Dave Byrd (78) of Seaside started on pole with Points Leader Justin Philpott (05) of Tracy at his side.  Philpott grabbed the early lead bringing with him another legend, Harry Belletto (74) of Modesto, which enabled Belletto to work under the #05 on lap 4 and take over the point position until lap 6 when Greg Potts (12) of Stockton and Frank Farran (30) of Pine Grove tangled coming out of four to draw the first yellow of the night.  On the restart, Belletto resumed the lead and pulled out to a six car-length margin until lap 32 when the #74 suffered electrical problems and pulled into the pits which ended his great run and gave the top spot up to Todd Corral (16) of Modesto.  On lap 38 the race was slowed for a second time as Jacob Gomes (16x) of Manteca and Modesto’s Jeff Belletto (12x) got together between turns one and two which relegated Gomes to the back of the pack for his part in the infraction.  On the lap 38 restart, yet another legend, David Philpott (50) of Tracy, who had worked his way through the field from sixth on the grid, jumped out to the front and held strong to capture his fourth win on the year.  “We had a very good car,” said Philpott, “Now we got to go fix that other #05 car so it will go.” Corral would finish second with Danville’s Tim Spurgeon (86) third and the young Philpott rallied to finish fourth.  It was a great pleasure to have Dave Byrd back at the track.  He finished a solid fifth. 

In the second 50 lapper, Young Gun and third generation driver Nic Belleto (15) of Modesto and Dave Byrd started on front row with Byrd grabbing the early lead, but, on lap 3 the race was marred by a lengthy red flag period as four cars got together between turns one and two which ended the night for Gomes, D. Philpott and Harry Belletto.  Corral was also caught up in the altercation but was able to get back out only to have his night end on lap 9.  On the lap 3 restart, Tim Spurgeon was able to wrestle the lead away from Byrd, and, although Byrd stayed within a car-length or two the remainder of the race, Spurgeon’s lead would prove to be too much to overcome as the #86 roared across the stripes to the victory.  “Let me tell you what happened, I held off the several time Champion for a lot of laps and if you can do that with Dave Byrd, that’s one of the proudest races in my life,” said a very respectful Spurgeon.  Byrd finished a very close second in a very exciting race.  Nic Belletto did himself proud as well by bringing it home third with Uncle Jeff Belleto close on his bumper in fourth and Justin Philpott finishing with another top five. 

In the Grand American Modified Division, the stakes, as usual, were maxed out.  The points are so tight that one mistake can make or break you.  This is such a fast-paced playing field that you must be on your game to keep up.  There is no room for frail nerves.  It’s all in, all the time.  Tracy’s Jim Thompson (99) brought this one under green with Points Leader Larry Tankersley (96) flanking him to the right.  Thompson grabbed the lead and held until lap 3 when Roseville’s Rick Anderson (11a) snatched it away only to be slowed as Thompson went spinning down the front stretch bringing out the first caution of the night on lap 4.  On lap 5 a second yellow went flying when Thompson tangled with the #29 of Fast Freddy in turn two.  On the restart, Sacramento’s Jason Philpot (15a) snagged the lead bringing Scott Winters (24) of Tracy along for the ride.  The two pulled out to a half-lap lead until lap 26 when Tankersley spun going into three causing the third yellow of the race to be displayed.  Winters would jump out to the lead on the restart and from there the rest was history as Winters crossed below the checkers for his eighth win in a row.  “Well, I’ll tell you, those are fun races,” said the always polite Winters, “Jason Philpot was just up in Ukiah and smoked them up there.  You know, he’s fast everywhere he goes.  We drove real clean together.  He drove me clean and I drove him clean.  It was just a good, hard race.” Philpot had a solid run and finished second with Salida’s Michael Ostrowski coming home third.  Anderson held tough in fourth with Hollister’s Bobby Grewohl finishing the night out in fifth. 

Most of the ALSC/Street Stock drivers are more than likely too young to know when to hold or know when to fold.  But, even if they weren’t, they would have no concept of the meaning in the first place.  There is no bare minimum in this division.  Maximum is always on the line.  That’s all these boys know.  Stockton’s David Blair (0) opted to start in the back of their 30 lap Main which pushed everyone up a spot giving the #31x of Mark Squadrito the number one slot with Lodi’s Danny Basto (64) to his right.  The race would be halted immediately on lap 1 as the “Sarge” Zack Huffman (50) of French Camp lost control coming off two and looped it down the back shoot drawing the one and only caution of the race.  Squadrito held the point on the restart until lap 5 when Aaron Coonfield (25) of Riverbank assumed his all-too-familiar position out front, once again.  Points Leader Jeff Ahl (31) of Lodi had climbed to the second spot and from that point the two waged a significant battle over the next 25 laps that had the crowd of 1500+ on its collective feet in what was most definitely the best race of the night.  In the end, Coonfield would collect his seventh win and edge even closer to that coveted Points Lead.  “I’m doing good, man, this is awesome.  I go out and win the Heat Race, Trophy Dash and the Main, it don’t get any better than that,” said an elated Coonfield.  Ahl would hold on to finish what was most likely a disappointing second since it seemed he had the faster car on the night.  Huffman would rebound from his earlier spin to finish third with Squadrito and Basto making up the top five. 

If you’re a gambler, then the Bombers are where you should place your wager.  This Division is where you’ll get the most for your money.  Guaranteed!  It’s 100% payouts to the customers every time they hit the racing surface.  Peggy Sue Jarred (313) and Tom Dahl (4), both of Stockton, brought this one around to green with Dahl jumping to the early lead until lap 12 when the #23 of “Wild” Russell Johnson dropped fluid from turn two down the backstretch which attracted the only yellow of the race.  With the green flag flying once again, Dahl continued where he left off in that number one spot and pulled away to his fourth victory of the year.  “I just wanted to keep it going fast and round in circles and keep from looping it,” Dahl said of his lead over Lisa Johnston, then added, “I want to say to my wife who is usually with me, she’s having back problems and I hope she feels better.” There was some great racing going on back in the back the entire race, but, when all was said and done, Lisa Johnston (808) of Stockton finished an impressive second, the #007 of Mike Massone was third with Jarred and Points Leader Ben Lewis II rounding out the top five. 

Next Saturday, August 8th, Performance Electrical Presents the SRL SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Don Conti Memorial 99.  And, as though that were not enough, the Legends of the Pacific, NCMA, Mini-Stocks/Mini-Trucks and 199 Laps of Enduro excitement are also included on this GIANT night of racing.  This is one you definitely do not want to miss.

ATTENTION: Kid’s Night at Stockton 99 Speedway will be August 22nd.  “BIG WHEEL RACE” is for ages 2 thru 10 with no cost to participate, just bring your Big Wheel.  You can sign up now thru August 15th.  Please mark your calendars and don’t miss this one.  All Junior’s are half price for the evening.  For Further Information Contact Kid’s Night Coordinator, Brenda Mays at (209)649-2727 or the Speedway Office.

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 or visit their Website at www.stockton99.com.  And remember, 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.


Tale of 2 races at Stockton 99

By Scott Linesburgh

Record Staff Writer

August 02, 2009 12:01 AM

STOCKTON - The two races were the same length and featured the same cars. But the finishes were strikingly different for Dave Philpott of Tracy.

Philpott looked strong and won the first of the twin 50-lap Western Late Model main events at Stockton 99 Speedway. But he barely got started and was knocked out of the next race after an accident on the third lap of the event, won by Tim Spurgeon of Danville.

"That's just the way it is in this business sometimes," Philpott said. "It's too bad because I had the car to win the other one, too."

Harry Belletto, the 66-year-old patriarch of the Belletto racing clan of Modesto, seemed as though he had control of the first WLM main event until he retired with a mechanical problem. Belletto took the lead from Justin Philpott, Dave's son, on lap 4 and held it until he suddenly slowed 28 laps later and pulled off the track.

Todd Corral of Modesto took over the lead, but Dave Philpott challenged him for several laps until there was a caution flag on lap 38. Philpott beat Corral on the restart and never trailed.

"It was just one of those nights where we were on top of it," Philpott said. "Everything was just right."

Everything went wrong for him in the second event, when Philpott was hit while in a pack of cars and went spinning before Belletto smashed into him. Philpott, Belletto and Jake Gomes were eliminated in the crash.

Dave Byrd, who has more than 200 career wins, had the early lead, but Spurgeon took over and held off Byrd's late charge.

"It's a great win for us. I knew Dave Byrd would bring it in the final five laps because that's what he does," Spurgeon said.

Scott Winters of Tracy continued his winning streak in the Grand American Modified division, winning his eighth in a row and 14th overall. Aaron Coonfield of Riverbank won his seventh Street Stock feature, and Tom Dahl of Stockton won his fourth Bombers main event.

Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or slinesburgh@recordnet.com.

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