1956 season presented me with a mystery of sorts as the papers announced that NASCAR and Stockton 99 Speedway were returning to the Hardtop models. The Jalopies were still in force right to the end of the 55 season, and the crowd counts were strong, showing no need for change. The hardtops were faster, using V-8 engines, and offered a wider wheelbase to control the roll over's that caused considerable damage, but again were much more expensive. None of the 'memories' I could tap could give me more of a solid answer for the change than the old adage "why did you climb the mountain'? Because it was there". A possible guess on my part is that the WAR saction Jalopy drives continued at other tracks, while NASCAR held control of the Hardtops and hence the switch.
     Newspaper reports on the opening day race showed Bert McMillan of Manteca in a 1940 Mercury, and Charley Sanchez of Ripon in a 1937 Buick Roadmaster, dubbed "the mile long racer".
     Several well known drivers of today made inconspicuous debuts this season, one being an eighteen yew-old youngster who signed in the pits as 'Stoneage Jackson'. He used the name to keep his racing habit hidden from his parents and notched a second place heat finish on May 12th. He would go on to become the first three time Stockton champion and two time west coast Grand National champion piling up a still record number of 54 Grand National wins and 51 Stockton feature victories. Stoneage Jackson was none other than west coast racing legend Jack McCoy of Modesto. So the story goes, young Jack was standing at a pit meeting at Modesto Stadium in 1955, when he heard a driver complain about his dented oil pan and dead battery, and remark that for twenty-five bucks he would sell the 'old wrack'. Up stepped Jack to grab the 'souped up Ford and the rest is history.
     Second place heat finishes may have been the lucky charm in those days as; two weeks later the same position was noted for a driver that had been racing at other area tracks since 1952. This driver would become the winningest driver of all time at Stockton and possibly on the entire west coast. His name .... Johnny Brazil.
     A driver named Johnny Blackwell Sr. picked up his first feature victory at Stockton on June ninth. He was the father of our very own John Blackwell, a Speedway official and corner worker for many of the past season's.
     Yet one more of Todays active drivers made a first showing in track records on August fourth of this year, this time with a heat third. This driver never won the big one's never took the feature championship titles, and never had to fight off the reporters looking for quotes. Instead he raced, week after week, year after year, with a heart second to none in his love for the sport, his fellow drivers, and the fans. A driver that I firmly believe has attained a position of love and admiration higher than my large number of the 'forgotten' champion's in this history, and a man I am personally proud to call 'my friend' . His title of 'The Racing Mailman' is still enough to make him instantly known as George Silva.
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