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First-Ever WLM Victory For Seventeen Year Old


17-year-old from Manteca takes both main events at Stockton 99


Record Staff Writer


(May 30, 2010 12:00 AM) STOCKTON - His car wasn't perfect. But Jacob Gomes has learned how to adjust and find a way to win.

Matt Scott of Pine Grove spins out after hitting the wall on the front straightaway during the first race of the NASCAR Western Late Model main event of the Tri-Holiday Classic on Saturday at the Stockton 99 Speedway. Jacob Gomes of Manteca won the race and also claimed the second main event later in the night.

Gomes, the reigning NASCAR national weekly racing rookie of the year, worked with a vehicle that was a little loose but managed to win both 50-lap Western Late Model main events in the Tri-Holiday Classic at Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday. Gomes won in his first appearance of the season in Stockton in front of a season-high crowd of 3,128.

Gomes, a 17-year-old from Manteca, was part of a field of 24 WLM cars, the most of the season at the track. There was plenty of bumping and spinning in the first race, with six caution flags and one red-flag stoppage for a multi-car crash on lap 20.

Gomes won a duel with Trevor Schlundt of Clovis, passing him twice during the first main event with the same move. Gomes came out of the final turn high both times and shot down the track and in front of Schlundt.

Gomes grabbed the lead on lap 18, lost it to Schlundt three laps later and took over first place for good on the 37th lap.

"The car was kind of pushing," Gomes said. "But I was able to go up there and get that run off the corner. It worked for us."

Michael Wendt of Lodi seemed to have a great chance to get the victory when he took the lead on the fifth lap, but he was knocked out of the first race when he was hit by the car of Zack Huffman of French Camp, who was about to go down a lap.

"A lapped car came down on me, and they came over and apologized," Wendt said. "You don't feel good about it, but it's a part of racing and it happens."

Veteran driver Harry Belletto from Modesto made an appearance at the track to compete with his son, Jeff Belletto, and grandson, Nic Belletto, Harry, 67, won the trophy dash. He began racing at Stockton 99 in 1970 and is a three-time track champion.

"No more racing for points or championships for me. I just want to come out and have fun," Harry Belletto said.

Jason Aguirre of Atwater passed Sam Solari of Escalon for the lead on the final lap of the Street Stocks feature to get the win, and David Grimes of Livermore won his first Bombers race at Stockton 99.

Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or


The First Leg Of The Tri-Holiday Classic Saw Jacob Gomes In Victory Lane In Front Of A Crowd Of Nearly 3,200

(May is Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel Month at the Speedway)


The bowl of evening hides the amber flits and sheds the dust of day.  A south wind stirs the orchard’s trees, swirls twilight in our eyes.  The grandstand streams dreams down its furthest slope, an instant's width then washed away as the lights come on to chase the leader to the checkers.  Such was the imagery on Saturday, May 29th, as the NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series continued with the First Leg of the Tri-Holiday Classic in its Memorial Day Race.  Included on the card for the event were the Western Late Models in Twin 50's.  Also, the Grand American Modifieds were back in action along with the Street Stocks, Bombers and the extremely fast NCMA Sprint Cars.


We are quickly approaching mid-season.  And, with State and National Points becoming even more precious, the car-count in the Western Late Model Division was at a premium (24) compared to any other weekend to date.  These teams are getting serious at this time of the season, and the seriousness certainly came to the forefront tonight in the form of good, hard racing.  Third generation driver Nic Belletto (15) of Modesto grabbed the pole due to luck of the invert with Trevor Schlundt (28) of Clovis starting P2.  Schlundt nabbed the holeshot and went back and forth with Belletto for the lead until lap 5 when Michael Wendt (2) of Lodi passed them both to lay claim to that all-important real estate out front.  However, on lap 12, the slower car of Zach Huffman (55) of French Camp was trying to get out of Wendt’s way up between three and four, but unfortunately he drove across Wendt’s bow which brought out the first yellow and sent Wendt to the pits for repairs.  On the restart, Schlundt quickly picked up the pace which paid large dividends in the form of the lead where he would stay until a lap 20 restart when the Legendary Harry Belletto (74) of Modesto and California’s State Points Leader Matt Scott (35) of Pine Grove made contact coming out of four and down the front-stretch, which unfortunately collected Division Points Leader Chad Holman (9) of Manteca in the resulting melee bringing with it yet another yellow and a quick end to Holman’s race and Scott’s night.  On the ensuing restart and several thereafter, Schlundt continued his dominance up front until a lap 36 restart when 2009 National Rookie of the Year Jacob Gomes decided it was his turn, so he grabbed the lead and never looked back as he crossed beneath the checkered/yellow in front of the pack for the very popular victory.  “Schlundt was good in the middle and good on the bottom so I drove the top,” said the talented Gomes, “We were pushing a little, so I thought I would try it out and we got it.”  Schlundt held on to finish second while Zane Lovelace Jr. (46) of Roseville had another impressive finish in third.  Modesto’s Mike Beeler (6) came home fourth with Danville’s Tim Spurgeon (86), racing hurt, rounding out the top five.  The race was plagued by a total of seven caution periods and one red flag.  Earlier in the day, Three-Time Track Champion and 67 year old Legend, Harry Belletto, won the Trophy Dash in front of an extremely appreciative crowd.


In the second WLM Twin-50, Carlos Vieira (51) of Livingston and Paul Dorrity (44) of Modesto were awarded the front row due to their finishing order in the first 50 lapper.  Vieira got a great start and took control until lap 7 when Jonathan Mawhinney (17W) of Roseville drove under Vieira for the lead where he would pull away to put a comfortable distance between himself and the rest of the field until lap 37 when Lovelace and Schlundt came to rest against the wall between turns three and four bringing their nights to a sudden stop, which caught the attention of the flagman who threw first the yellow, then the red.  Tim Spurgeon got a great restart as he took command of the front row until lap 44 when Gomes gave Spurgeon a bump and dove below him where he held tight, despite the heavy gnawing on his back bumper by Spurgeon, to the checkers for his second win on the night.  Spurgeon stayed close, but couldn’t return the favor, try as he might, to finish second.  Mawhinney slipped back a bit, but still managed a podium finish in third with Wendt, coming back from his first-race disaster, finishing fourth and Modesto’s Jeff Belletto (12) bringing her home fifth.  After the first-race misfortune, Division Points Leader Holman recovered to finish sixth in this one.  Unfortunately for State Points Leader Matt Scott, his car was unable to compete in the second race.


With AAS all but dark this week, the Grand American Modifieds enjoyed a higher car-count than usual as well.  Larry Tankersley (96) of Stockton and Gary Glenn (50) of Orangevale paced the field to green to bring this one to life with Glenn grabbing a huge hunk of forward bite at the outset to gain the point where he would race, undisputed, to the checkers for the flag to flag, very impressive victory.  “Last week at Roseville we ended up on our lid, so we had to work on this car all week and even today at the track,” Glenn said, “I would like to thank all my sponsors and family and friends and our troops for making this possible.”  Meanwhile, the battle for second did not go unnoticed as Jason Philpot (15A) of Sacramento and Scott Winters (24) of Tracy, both sensational Modified drivers, disputing the territory behind the leader with Philpot proving to be too much on this night.  Of course, that put Winters on the podium in third with Points Leader Allen Ryder (62) of Stockton bringing her home fourth and Rich Lindgren (27) of Rio Linda finishing a solid fifth.


In the Street Stock Division, Points Leader Sammy Solari (79) of Escalon got back on track last week with another win after a dismal weekend of disappointment.  But, the question was could he stay in front of Stockton’s own Ben Lewis II (22) enough to retain the top spot in the points battle? Robert Daniel(s) (17) of Lodi started this one on point with Modesto’s Dennis Saunders (91) alongside.  When the green flag dropped, it would be Daniel(s) showing his strength early as he jumped quickly to the lead and pulled away until lap 12 when Steve Geiser (70) of Tracy lost a rear wheel coming down the back-stretch which brought out the first yellow of the race.  On the lap 12 restart, Jason Aguirre (45) of Atwater took over up front where he would stay the remainder of the race, despite the unbelievable pressure from Solari as the two battled it out nose to nose and door to door over the last few laps with Aguirre coming out on top as they crossed the stripe in this hotly contested, closest race of the night.  “I’ll tell you what, he (Solari) is one tough driver to pass,” said the well-spoken Aguirre, “That guy don’t want to give up the lead for nothing.  You know, he got a little sideways coming off two, so I tucked it in there.  He made one mistake and it cost him the race.”  Solari finished in what was most likely a disappointing second with Daniel(s) holding on to a podium finish in third.  Saunders slipped back a bit, but still managed a respectable fourth while Livermore’s Mark Squadrito (3) finished in the number five spot.  This raced was marred by four yellows, none of which influenced the final outcome.


After an absolutely fantastic finish last week, the Bombers were back in action to put together yet another great show for the fans in the stands to thoroughly enjoy.  The #93x of Tyler Guzman from parts unknown landed on pole to get this one underway with the #370 of Stockton’s own George Connor at his side.  Connor jumped out to the early lead but was slowed on lap 5 when Freddy Rathjen Jr. (029) of Stockton made contact with Lodi’s Robbie Knittel (3) coming off turn two which put Knittel hard into the backstretch wall and brought with it the first yellow of the night.  On the lap 5 restart, Points Leader Travis Tucker (350) of Stockton took control of the top spot, but on lap 9 he surrendered it to Dave Grimes (810) of Livermore.  Once out front, Grimes, the elder statesman in the Division, the “old guy”, if you will, showed the youngsters a thing or two as he took complete control of the race through to the checkers for his first-ever win in only four starts.  “I just kept my foot to the pedal,” said the very likable Grimes, “It started shaking about the second to the last lap when I felt something going on, but I just kept pushing it.”  Grimes lost his motor as he crossed the finish line.  Tucker would hold on to finish second and retain his Points Lead with Stockton’s Tom Dahl (004) finishing on the podium in third.  Connor fell off a bit, but still managed a fourth while Rathjen Jr. made up the top five.


The NCMA Sprints rumbled back onto the high-banks to display their talent behind the wheels of these high-speed, light-weight rockets.  These drivers never fail to amaze, and everyone always enjoys the pure racing pleasure this Division produces.  William Logan (98) of Stockton and Steve Amador (7) of Patterson brought the field around to greet the green, but as they raced back to the flag-stand to put lap 1 in the books it would be Morgan Hill’s Rob Hammond (17H) showing the way.  Hammond always puts on a strong run at Stockton, and this night would be another great night as he held strong to the lead until lap 30 when Jim Riddell (19) of Ripon, working his way up from the back of the pack, took control of the number one slot with the #93 of Copperopolis’s Thomas Leiby hot on his heels.  Unfortunately, on lap 36, Leiby, Riddell and Amador made terrific contact going off into turn one which resulted in a red flag and the end of the race.  Hammond was declared the winner with Napa’s David Goodwill (3) second.  Leiby and Riddell finished third and fourth, respectively with Bill Didion (44) of Manteca rounding out the top five.


Next Saturday, June 5th, the NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series will be taking a well-deserved two week break.  But, that certainly doesn’t mean the track is going black.  Instead, come on out and watch as 99 Drift Competition returns to the Speedway along with the Stockton 99 Speedway Swap Meet & Car Show.  Mark your Calendars. 


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

The New Stockton 99 Speedway is sponsored by Jackson Rancheria Casino Hotel, California Welding Supply, Budweiser, Alamo Alarm and Lodi Hampton Inn and Suites.



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