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Tri-Holiday challenge lures Belletto back to Stockton 99



By Scott Linesburgh

Record Staff Writer

May 24, 2014 12:00 AM

STOCKTON - Jeff Belletto enjoyed his time away from auto racing, but it's time to get back in the car at the track where the Belletto name has plenty of history.

Jeff Belletto will be competing in the first round of the Tri-Holiday Classic Series at 6 p.m. today at Stockton 99 Speedway. The main event will be the NASCAR Western Late Model race. The Grand American Modifieds, Super Stocks, Pure Stocks and Basic 4-Cylinders divisions also will compete.

Belletto, 48, is a two-time Western Late Model champion who took most of last season off after 17 years of full-time competition in a stock car. He enjoyed himself and got to spend more time in the summer with his wife, Shawna, and 12-year-old daughter, Alli. Last season, he raced only twice at Stockton 99 and once at Madera Speedway,

The Modesto driver said he doesn't see himself returning to a full schedule, but the chance to return to Stockton 99 in the three-race series interested him.

"We thought it would be nice to get back out there. We always enjoyed it," Belletto said. "I'm getting excited about this weekend."

Jeff Belletto's father, Harry Belletto, began racing and bringing his family to the track in 1970, and holds the track record with 89 main-event wins. Harry Belletto and his sons, Jeff and Steve, have combined for seven track titles.

Harry Belletto underwent back surgery a few years ago, and Jeff said that was one of the reasons the family pulled away from racing as much as it did.

"It's just not the same without him out there," Jeff Belletto said. "But he's going to be out there this week. He's still involved and loves it."

Jeff Belletto said he has been working hard on the car and has put in a new engine. Now he'll see if he can add to the family win total.

"We're ready, and it's a good car," he said. "I hope I can go out there and last with those kids."

Contact reporter Scott Linesburgh at (209) 546-8281 or Follow him on Twitter @ScottLinesburgh.


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