99 News Sept. 2, 2006

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 Mansch's second wins her WestCar series title

Last Updated: September 3, 2006, 06:56:29 AM PDT

STOCKTON Shannon Mansch knew she had a good shot at winning the touring WestCar Late Model Series.

The Roseville driver had an eight-point lead entering Saturday's stock car series finale at Stockton 99 Speedway. She took nothing for granted, though, even trying to win the race when she didn't need to in order to clinch the title.

Mansch finished second in the race to Eric Schmidt, but became the first woman to win a touring series in California.

"I did it!" she screamed upon climbing out of her car. "I can't believe it. I survived it."

In Round 9 of the Western Late Model Hot Wood 1000 series, Mark Holeman of Los Altos survived a wild night to pick up his third victory of the season in front of 2,608 spectators.

Tracy's David Philpott had led the first 46 laps before being overtaken by Holeman. Philpott finished second. The car of Hot Wood points leader Ron Strmiska Jr., of Manteca, blew up with five laps to go. Overall standings leader Guy Guibor finished fourth, followed by defending champ Pete Anderson Jr. of Stockton.

It was Mansch's fourth victory of the year and second at Stockton 99 in the WestCar Series. Orangevale's Gary Glenn, who finished second in the standings, didn't get a chance to challenge for the championship after spinning with Bobby Ray Butler of Sacramento in Turn 1 of lap 66. Glenn restarted from the back and ended up 14th in the race.

Glenn and Mansch were among a handful of drivers who made contact in the first lap. Glenn said he knew then that he wouldn't be able to contend for 100 laps.

"I'm not down on myself," Glenn said. "It was a good year."

It was just a little bit better year for Mansch, 37, who said she considers herself a driver, not a "woman driver," after 20 years behind the wheel. If having a ponytail, and now a touring title, works to her benefit she'll take it.

"It definitely means something to me," Mansch said of what many consider another landmark victory for women in racing. "We all (on the team) worked very hard for this. Hopefully it will open some opportunity for me in some other divisions."

Mansch, whose main sponsor is Modesto's Bob Strandwold Properties, tailed Schmidt close the final 41 laps. Schmidt, the track's 2004 Western Late Model champion, said he was worried about her, but knew he had a good car.

"She's won championships before and so have I," Schmidt said. "I know what this means to me since the track is closing at the end of the season. It means a lot to me to win, too."

Philpott, a two-time track champion in the late model division, has been driving hard for a 100-lap victory all season. He came close, managing to stay on the lead lap after tangling with Modesto's Harry Belletto, another former track champ, in Turn 1 of lap 78.

Philpott finished the race with a severely dented body passenger-side.

Holeman won a modified trophy from the championship collection of Ceres Ken Boyd.

French Camp's Mark Henslee clinched the Pro 4 Truck title with his eighth victory of the season and fourth consecutive sweep.

Escalon's Darrell Hughes pulled within 66 points of American Limited Stock Car points leader Chad Holman of Stockton. Pete Anderson Sr. of Stockton won the race, his third of the season, followed by Holman and Hughes.

Bee staff writer Kelly Jones can be reached at 578-2300 or kjones@modbee.com.


Mansch makes history at track
Record Staff Writer
Published Sunday, Sep 3, 2006

STOCKTON - Shannon Mansch had never felt so good about finishing second.

Mansch came across the finish line behind the winner, Erich Schmidt of Roseville, and clinched the WestCar Late Model Series title on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 2,608 at Stockton 99 Speedway. In the co-main event, Mark Holeman of Los Gatos won his third NASCAR Western Late Model race of the season.

Mansch became the first woman to win a touring series in California and was a little stunned by her accomplishment.


"I did it! I can't believe it, I survived it!" Mansch exclaimed as she stood in her pit area after the race.

Mansch, 37, has been racing for 20 years, and said she hopes that this was one more piece of evidence that women can compete in auto racing.

"It's absolutely important to show women can win, and hopefully this opens some doors for me as far as sponsorship goes," Mansch said. "Women can race, too. After 20 years, I just think of myself as a driver."

Mansch had to finish fourth or better to guarantee that Gary Glenn of Orangevale could not catch her. The Roseville driver put on another steady performance, and finished in the top 10 nine times in the 10-race series. But there was a scare on the first lap when she was one of several cars that were bumped on a botched start.

"I was hoping the whole race wasn't going to be like that, but it wasn't," Mansch said.

Mansch followed Glenn for much of the race, but passed Glenn into fourth place on lap 45. She took second place 15 laps later.

"Shannon is a good driver and she earned this" Glenn said.

Mansch did try to race Schmidt for the lead in the final laps, but was always cautious.

"She was racing to win, but we've raced each other clean all season and I knew she would be careful."

Holman won the ninth round of the Hotwood 1,000 and held off a challenge from two-time track champion David Philpott of Tracy. Philpott led the first 47 laps before Holeman took the top spot. Philpott also got into a collision with Harry Belletto of Modesto, but still managed to make it back to second place.

Mark Henslee of French Camp unofficially clinched the Pro-4 Truck crown by pulling away from the field for his eighth consecutive victory. It was also his fourth in a row as he won the trophy dash and was the fast qualifier at 15.182 seconds.

After his win, Henslee celebrated by turning several donuts in front of the grandstands while the fans cheered.

"It's great to repeat, and it's great to be the final truck champion crowned at Stockton 99," Henslee said. "We run the final race next week, and it's nice to be able to relax and just race."

Pete Anderson Sr. of Stockton won his third American Limited Stock Car race of the season.

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