2009 Local Tracks


Holiday brings out top field to Stockton 99

Scott Linesburgh


Record Staff Writer

July 04, 2009 6:00 AM

STOCKTON - Justin Philpott doesn't really remember much about his first appearance at Stockton 99 Speedway's annual Fourth of July race. That's not surprising, since he was eight month old.

His father, David Philpott, raced that day, as he will today. And Justin Philpott, now 19, is the NASCAR Western Late Model points leader and understands that this is the biggest race of the season.

"This is big time. I grew up out here, and this weekend is always a big deal," he said.


Tri-Holiday Classic

Green flag: 6 p.m., Stockton 99 Speedway

Racing program: NASCAR Western Late Model 150-lap main event, Grand American Modifieds, Street Stocks, Bombers. Plus fireworks.

Information: (209) 466-9999; stockton99.com

Philpott and an expected large field of late model drivers will compete in the second leg of the Tri-Holiday Classic today at Stockton 99. There also will be racing in the Grand American Modified, Street Stock and Bomber divisions, as well as the traditional fireworks display. The program begins at 6 p.m.

For years, the race was called the Firecracker 100, but now it's longer and part of the holiday series. But the fireworks and festivities always will make it standout on the racing calendar, according to the drivers.

"In my opinion, this is the biggest race of the year," said Greg Potts of Stockton. "There's a lot of prestige. It's the biggest party Stockton 99 throws every season, and if I could pick one race to win out here this year, this would be it."

Track promoter Tony Noceti said he expects at least 25 cars for the main event, and Justin Philpott won't be the youngest competitor. That will be Jacob Gomes of Manteca and Justin Wall of Oakdale, who are 16.

The oldest likely will be 66-year-old Modesto driver Harry Belletto, who will be joined in the field by his son, Jeff, and grandson, Nic.

Harry Belletto began racing at Stockton 99 in 1969, and he figures he has been in just about every Independence Day race since. The track was closed in 2007 and 2008.

"Yeah, the whole gang will be there," Harry Belletto said. "It will be a lot of fun. This race probably has the best turnout of cars and crowd of the season."

David Philpott won the first Tri-Holiday race on May 23.

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


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