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There's no missing this race

By Scott Linesburgh

Record Staff Writer

June 30, 2012 12:00 AM

STOCKTON - Michael Wendt plans to dust off his NASCAR Western Late Model car today and attempt to defend his Firecracker 150 title.

The Lodi driver and 2011 event winner has not raced in the first three months of the season but will compete in Stockton 99 Speedway's biggest event of the year. The program begins at 6 p.m. There also will be racing in the NWAAS Modifieds, NSCS Modifieds, Super Stocks and Pure Stocks divisions.

The Firecracker is the track's traditional Independence Day show and the second leg of the Tri-Holiday Classic. There will be a fireworks display after the main event, which is a switch from past years when the final race went after the fireworks.

Today's Races

Firecracker 150

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

Information: (209) 466-9999;

Wendt, 29, said he has been busy and hasn't been able to get on the track, but he wasn't going to skip the Firecracker, which could have 30 entrants.

"This is always such a big, fun race, and we wanted to come out and defend our title," Wendt said. "It will be tough to repeat. There should be a lot of good cars here, and it's always great to win in a big field. Especially one with this kind of history."

The first Firecracker was 100 laps and was won by Ted Fritz of Modesto in 1973. Wendt hopes to join Fritz (1973-74), Ron Strmiska Sr. of Manteca (1978-79), Ken Boyd of Ceres (1981-82), Jim Reich of Modesto (1989-90) and Jacob Gomes of Manteca (2009-10) as back-to-back winners. Another driver hoping to have an historical impact is Jeff Belletto of Modesto, whose family has six Firecracker titles.

His father, Harry, won four, and his brother, Steve, has two.

"My dad has a handful of them and my brother has two, but I just haven't been able to win one of these yet," Jeff Belletto said. "I've come close, I've been second and third. Hopefully, this will be the year."

Chris Scribner of Roseville won the Tri-Holiday Classic opener on May 26. Among the scheduled competitors today will be 14-year-old Cole Custer of Ladera Ranch. He is the son of Joe Custer, executive vice president of Tony Stewart's race team, Stewart-Haas Racing. Joe Custer is in town for the event.

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





The New Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, -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, Budweiser, Alamo Alarm and Stockton Hampton Inn and Suites and Lodi Holiday Express.


Attn. Visitors; Rooms available at Stockton 99's New Official Hotel!

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