2009 Local Tracks



Tanner Swanson and Alex Bowman Win Stockton Open Wheels

Oct 12 2009
Gerald Laurie

Contributing OWR3 Staff 

The New Stockton 99 Speedway hosted the USAC Western States Midgets and Sprint Cars for the first time since its reopening in April of 2009. The race on October 10 brought new track qualifying records for both the sprints and midgets on the newly paved quarter mile oval. When the dust cleared, young Tanner Swanson held the record for both the Midget and Sprint Car divisions. Swanson managed to win the Sprint Car feature in a dominating run while placing second to Alex Bowman in the Midget event.

 The evening started with Midget qualifications. Three qualifiers set times faster than the old track record of 12.742. Tanner Swanson was fastest with a lap of 12.517 seconds. Levi Roberts was second fast at 12.533. Alex Bowman was also under the old record at 12.690 followed by Scott Pierovich at 12.811, and Jerome Rodela at 12.837.

 The Sprint Car Division annihilated the old track record with 10 of the fourteen competitors under the old mark of 12.838. Tanner Swanson took nearly a half second off the record with a time of 12.344. Older brother Kody Swanson was next at 12.475. Scot Pierovish at 12.529, Brian McClish at 12.543, and Audra Sasselli at 12.552 rounded out the top five.

 Head to head competition began with the first 8 lap Midget heat race. Chad Nichols sat on the pole followed by Tony Seidelman, Tony Hunt, Alex Scutte, Jerome Rodela, Scott Pierovich, and Tanner Swanson. Nichols led the first lap over Hunt, Seidelman, Rodela and Pierovich. By lap three, the top five were Nichols, Hunt, Rodela, Pierovich and Swanson. Rodella took second on lap four and then he and Swanson both freight trained Nichols on lap five. Hunt passed Nichols on lap six and Pierovich did likewise on seven. At the checkers, Rodela won over Swanson, Hunt, Pierovich, and Nichols.

 The second Midget heat featured David Prickett, Danny Parker, Nick Foster, Jr., John Sarale, Nick Chivello, Alex Bowman, and Levi Roberts. Prickett led lap one over Foster, Parker, Sarale, and Bowman. Sarale and Bowman both got around Parker on lap two and then the yellow flew on lap three when Bowman spun in turn three. On the restart Foster grabbed the lead while Sarale, Roberts, Bowman, and Chivello all stormed by Prickett. Sarale, Roberts and Bowman all passed Foster on lap four, Roberts passed Sarale on lap five and Bowman did the same on lap six. As the checkers fell, Roberts won over Bowman, Sarale, Foster and Chivello.

 Sprint Car heat number one was populated by John Sarale, Jimmy Riddell, Tony Hunt, Jo Jo Helberg, Audra Sasselli, Scott Pierovich, and Tanner Swanson. Lap one saw Tony Hunt jump to the front over Riddell, Sasselli, Pierovich, Helberg and Swanson. Riddell dropped to fourth on lap two. By lap three, the order was Hunt, Sasselli, Pierovich, Swanson and Helberg. And that was the end of the passing. Lap eight order was the same as lap three.

 Sprint Heat number two was paced by Marvin Mitchell, who was pursued by Shauna Hogg, Evan Margeson, Eric Humphries, Chase Scott, Brian McClish, and Kody Swanson. Hogg led the first circuit over Humphries, Margeson, McClish, and Swanson. Humphries snagged the lead on lap five and McClish took second a lap later. The end of the eight lapper saw Humphries in front of McClish, Hogg, Margeson, and Swanson.

 Next up were the trophy dashes. The Midget dash had Jerome Rodela and Alex Bowman on the front row with Levi Roberts and Tanner Swanson occupying the back row. Bowman grabbed the lead at the drop of the green with Rodela, Swanson, and Roberts in trail. And that is how they finished.

 The Sprint Car dash featured Brian McClish on the pole, with Scott Pierovich, Kody Swanson, and Tanner Swanson rounding out the field. McClish and Kody got the jump from the inside line and all four laps were scored with McClish in front of K. Swanson, Pierovich, and T. Swanson.

 The United States Auto Club Western States Midgets were scheduled to run a forty lap feature event. The top six qualifiers were inverted at the front of the field. Nick Chivello, Jerome Rodela Scott Pierovich, Alex Bowman, Levi Roberts and Tanner Swanson were involved in the invert. Behind the fast six were Alex Schutte, John Sarale, Tony Hunt, Nick Foster, Jr., Tony Seidelman, Danny Parker, Chad Nichols, and David Prickett. On the initial start, Rodela was slow to accelerate and Pierovich spun in turn one after some contact. On the restart, the entire inside line moved up when Pierovich was moved to the rear of the field. Chivello led the first lap over Bowman, Roberts, Rodela and Swanson. Bowman and Roberts nailed Chivello on lap two and Swanson passed on lap three. Schutte displaced Rodela from the top five on lap six. At Quarter distance, the top five consisted of Bowman, Roberts, Swanson, Chivello, and Schutte. The yellow flew on lap thirteen when Bowman’s muffler blew its innards all over turn three. The debris was picked up and Alex was called pitside to inspect the car. After determining that nothing else was going to fall off, the USAC officials returned him to his leaders spot and threw the green flag.

 On the restart, Tanner Swanson took second and charged out after Bowman. At lap eighteen, Swanson caught Bowman and tried repeatedly to pass on the inside. At twenty laps, Bowman still led over Swanson, Roberts, Chivello, and Schutte. On the twenty second circuit, Chivello dropped to the inside to pass Roberts for third. The yellow waved again on lap twenty-four when Prickett went around in turn three. With a chance to cool his tires during the yellow parade, Swanson again pestered the heck out of Bowman for several laps after the restart, but was again unable to pass. On lap twenty-nine, Schutte took fourth from Roberts. The order at the three quarter mark was Bowman, Swanson, Chivello, Schutte, and Roberts.

At thirty-one circuits, Hunt blew around the Roberts-Pierovich battle to take fifth.The Bowman- Swanson battle was waning as Alex began to put a lot of real estate between himself and his pursuers.

When the shouting was all over, Bowman took the forty-lapper over Swanson, Chivello, Schutte, and Hunt.

 The USAC Sprint Cars lined up for their fifty lap feature with the top six qualifiers inverted for the start. Chase Scott was on the pole followed by Audra Sasselli, Brian McClish, Scott Pierovich, Kody Swanson, and Tanner Swanson. The remainder of the field included Jo Jo Helberg, Eric Humphries, Tony Hunt, Evan Margeson, Jimmy Riddell, Shauna Hogg, and Marvin Mitchell. Scott grabbed the lead as green the lights flashed followed by Sasselli, Pierovich, McClish, and Tanner Swanson. On lap two Swanson swapped places with McClish. Kody Swanson moved into the top five at McClish’s expense on lap four. The yellow flew on lap six when Hogg stalled in turn three with a flat left rear shoe. After a quick change in the infield, she rejoined the field at the green flag. After completing a single lap, the yellow flew again when McClish coasted to a stop with right front tire flat. With another quick tire exchange, McClish just made the back of the field as the green once again flashed. Pierovich passed Sasselli on the restart and Tanner got by two laps later. Kody did so also on lap nine. At ten laps, the order was Scott, Pierovich, T. Swanson, K. Swanason, and Sasselli.

After the checkers it was Tanner with winners Trophy


Lap eleven saw Tanner grab second and take out after Chase Scott. On lap sixteen, Tanner blew by Scott and took off for a different zip code. Kody passed Pierovich for third on the seventeenth circuit. At twenty laps, the younger Swanson brother held a substantial lead over Scott, Kody, Pierovich, and Sasselli. Kody took second on lap twenty one, but by this time his brother was a quarter lap ahead with the cruise control set. Lap twenty-two saw Tony Hunt move around Sasselli for fifth. Pierovich and Hunt both passed Scott on lap twenty-eight. After thirty circuits, the order was Tanner over Kody, Pierovich, Hunt, and Scott. As Tanner encountered lapped traffic, he increased the distance he had on the field. On lap thirty-six, Sasselli knocked Scott out of the top five  and entered into a major battle with Hunt. At lap forty, the order was Swanson the younger over Swanson the elder, Pierovich, Hunt, and Sasselli. The final ten laps just served to further establish Tanner’s domination of the field as he tore through lapped cars with abandon. 

 The re-opening of Stockton 99 Speedway has been a bright spot in this time of multiple track closings. And although the car counts were not substantial, the return of open wheel racing to the fast quarter mile was something sorely needed in these economic times. From two feet in front of the monitor, I am the Racing Widow’s Husband.

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