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Pettit Pounces on Field for First Career Featherlite Southwest Series Win

STOCKTON, Calif. (April 27, 2003) Jim Pettit II of Prunedale, Calif., #03, won his first career NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Saturday night at Stockton 99 Speedway in his 49th career start. Pettit started tenth and worked his way to the front and by lap 93 he powered his Hall Kinion.Com Ford by Todd Souza, #6, and held on to take the victory .231 seconds ahead of Souza. Souza equaled a career best second place finish, with Burney Lamar #16, Auggie Vidovich Jr.,#59, and Eric Holmes, #62, rounding out the top five finishers in the Budweiser "125" presented by Havoline. 

Thirty-four Featherlite Southwest Series machines rolled through the tech line to qualify. Most were betting that the track locals would take the top spot, but it was third year Featherlite southwest Series driver Mike Ledbetter, #61, who grabbed his first career Bud Pole Award with a quick lap of 13.663 seconds, 65.871 mph. Brandon Whitt, #28, qualified second after traveling from Fontana, Calif. where he finished 16th in his first NASCAR Winston West start at California Speedway. Burney Lamar, Eric Holmes, and Bryan Germone, #89, rounded out the top five qualifiers.

With the top twenty starting spots set after qualifying, 13 cars rolled to the grid for the 20-lap Non-Qualifiers race. Danny Burson, #56, was unable to make the show after breaking a motor in practice. Darrell LaMoure, #94, led all 20 laps to take the win and transfer to the Budweiser "125" along with second place finisher Greg Potts, #31.

Todd Souza, #6, from Aromas, Calif. started on the pole after an invert of six was drawn putting Bud Pole winner Mike Ledbetter outside of row three. Souza paced the field to the green flag in front of more than 3,500 enthusiastic area race fans. With passing at a premium at Stockton, drivers settled in to their race pace waiting for an opening. Eric Holmes, #62, got around Bryan Germone on lap five to take over second, dropping Germone back to third, with Burney Lamar in fourth and Mike Ledbetter moving up to fifth.

Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year contender Frank Deiny Jr., #70, lost the handle coming out of turn two on lap 15 and looped his Star Nursery.Com Chevrolet losing a lap to the field. The field stayed green with Souza lengthening his lead by lap 20. Eric Holmes moved into second, with Germone in third, followed by Lamar and Ledbetter. Last year's winner Ron Strmiska Jr., #90, of Manteca, Calif. spun his machine losing a lap in the process on lap 30.  

Souza maintained his advantage through lap 50, at times pulling away from the field by five car lengths. Holmes followed in second with Germone, Lamar, and Ledbetter in the top five. Jim Pettit II led the next five followed by Brandon Whitt, Steve Belletto, #30, Auggie Vidovich Jr., and Eric Schmidt, #08. Whitt dropped out of contention after his ignition went away on lap 55 dropping the 2002 ROTY eleven laps down after making repairs to the MOEN Pontiac.

The first caution flag flew on lap 63 for #31,Greg Potts. Potts spun in the center of turn one collecting Bud Pole winner Mike Ledbetter. Both cars were able to continue, but Ledbetter suffered front end damage ending his top five run and he would finish in the 17th position two laps down. Souza continued to lead on the lap 72 restart, but caution flew again on lap 74 for Darrell LaMoure as he smacked the turn three backwards. LaMoure lost a lap and finished 14th.

Germone and Deiny tangled in turn one on lap 85 bringing out the caution for the third time. Germone managed to stay on the lead lap in the 14th position. On the lap 93 restart, Souza led Pettit, Lamar, Holmes and Vidovich. Belletto moved into sixth, with David Gilliland, #11, Schmidt, Eddy McKean, #19, and Craig Raudman, #2, rounding out the top ten.

Souza's car started to develop a slight push in the center of the corner allowing Pettit to take the inside groove away. Pettit made a pass for the lead on lap 94 as the duo exited out turn four. Souza fell to second. 2001 series champion Craig Raudman had worked his way into the top ten from the rear of the field, but his luck ended on lap 96 when he and Ledbetter touched exiting turn four sending the HPS Chevrolet for a long spin and contact with inside wall. The contact broke the rear trailing arms ending the former champion's night in 22nd place.

The final caution flew when Germone and Deiny found the same piece of real estate in turn four leaving the rookie pinned against the wall. Petit led the field on the lap 114 restart with Souza in tow followed by Lamar, Holmes, Vidovich, Belletto, Gilliland, Schmidt, Dan Holtz, Thomas Martin, McKean, and Doug McCoun all on the lead lap. Pettit was never challenged over the final ten laps and help on to collect his first series victory by .231 seconds over Souza. Lamar held on for third, with current 2003 point leader Vidovich collecting another top-five finish. Holmes rounded out the top five, with Gilliland in sixth, Belletto in seventh, followed by Schmidt, Holtz, and McKean.  

A jubilant Pettit celebrated with his crew in victory lane. "It is awesome to win my first series race here at Stockton," Pettit said. "I have been so close so many times only to have something go wrong. I am so proud to be a part of this series and everyone associated with it. This win was truly a team effort led by my crew chief Duane Sharp who has been trying to win a series race since 1986." 

Pettit reflected on the struggles he has had to get to this point and recognized that the team still has a few hurdles to get over. "We need to get better at qualifying," Pettit said. "I know we can race well, but we just need to start closer to the front and that will make this a whole lot easier. Stockton is the toughest show of the year and to leave here with the car intact and a move up in the point standings makes everything better." 

A disappointed Todd Souza found little solace in finishing second. "I just got beat tonight," Souza said. "My car developed a soft push in the center of the turns and that allowed Jim to take the inside. His car was better on the bottom and that made the difference. My team has really made great strides over the last year. We have learned to adapt to the tracks and we have had great cars at each event, we had the best car tonight but luck did not go our way."

Needing a good finish to boost his spirits, Burney Lamar recorded the best career finish for CBA Motorsports owner Clarence Broussard. "This is the kind of run we are capable of," Lamar said. "We have to be competitive before we can win. The whole team has worked real hard to get to this point and I could not be happier about finishing third."

With Stockton being the cornerstone of the season for many teams, several drivers were happy to leave Stockton with a solid finish. Dan Holtz, #23, was one such driver. "I have learned a lot over the last couple of years," Holtz said. "Sometimes you just have to take what the track gives you and this is one of those tracks. I wanted to finish in the top ten knowing that finishing would help us in the points. We are happy to finish ninth and load the car up with only a scratch or two."

Several drivers took a hit in the point standings after less than expected finishes at Stockton. Falling out of the top ten were Craig Raudman, #2, and Frank Deiny Jr. Moving into the top ten were Burney Lamar, Steve Belletto, and Todd Souza. Vidovich maintains the top spot in the standings followed by Pettit, Holmes, McKean, and Holtz. The second five is led by Germone, with Lamar, Belletto, Souza, and McCoun rounding out the top ten. 

The race took 39 minutes and 31 seconds (new record) to complete the 125 lap distance at an average speed of 48.554 mph. The action was slowed four times for thirty-three laps, and there was only one lead change between two drivers. Todd Souza led the most laps (92) with Pettit leading the final 32 circuits. Mike Ledbetter won the Bud Pole Award and the $325 bonus with a lap of 13.663 seconds/65.871 mph. Jim Pettit II claimed the $750 Powerade Power Move-of-the-Race bonus after starting tenth. Thomas Martin collected Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Race honors for his 12th place finish.  

Fourteen drivers failed to qualify for the show including Joe Herold, Greg Fowler, Scott Busby, Nathan Thiesse, John Moore, Kevin Clark, Richard Johnson, Jeff Belletto, Stan Silva Jr., Kevin Vernon, Troy Ermish, and Danny Burson.

The drivers and teams of the Featherlite Southwest Series will take six weeks off before returning to action Saturday, June 7 at the wide half-mile paved oval of Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, Calif.

NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Stockton 99 Speedway Look Back

STOCKTON, Calif. (April 23, 2003) When the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series rolls through the pit gates for the 20th time this weekend at Stockton 99 Speedway, drivers will get a chance to glimpse back in history at one of the series' charter tracks. This year's event will be the same, but different.

The first NASCAR Southwest Tour (as it was then called) race at Stockton 99 Speedway was on Saturday, April 19, 1986. Twenty-two drivers took the green flag for 100-laps of racing action around the historic paved oval. Of the starting line up in 1986, only Bob Strandwold will be on hand in 2003 to make an attempt at qualifying, with names like Boyd, Kelley, Calczynski, Beebe, Esau, Krebs, and Baldwin being replaced by names like Vidovich, Raudman, McKean, and Lamar.

Ivan Baldwin set fast time with a lap of 13.923 seconds, 65.641 mph in his Conti Trucking Pontiac, but it was Roman Calczynski who started on the pole after an invert of six was drawn. Calczynski, driving the Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet, led the first 18 laps before giving way to Ken Boyd in his Valley Balancing Buick on lap 19.

Boyd would go on to lead the final 81 laps and collect $2050.00 for the win four seconds ahead of Roger Avants. Loran Kelley finished third, with Darryl Gardner and Bob Strandwold rounding out the top five finishers. Carl Lux was sixth, with Frog Trent, John Unger, Roman Calczynski, and Ron Esau rounding out the top ten.

The race was completed in 33 minutes, 4 seconds at an average speed of 45.363mph. There were six caution flags for 27 laps with one lead change between two drivers. Sixteen of the twenty-two starters were running at the end of 100 laps. Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, and Dodge were all represented in the field and Roger Avants left the race leading the point standings by five markers over Roman Calczynski. The series would then head to their next event in late May at the old Riverside Int'l Raceway.

Invitation-Only, Special Event November 6-8 at Irwindale Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 23, 2003) - In a history-making moment for its regional touring divisions, NASCAR announced the inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown, to be held Nov. 6-8 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. This invitation-only event will bring together the top teams in NASCAR's Grand National and Elite divisions, to compete for national recognition and over $500,000 in posted awards.

The top 15 drivers in the two NASCAR Grand National series - Busch North and Winston West - will be invited along with the top 10 drivers in each of the four series in the NASCAR Elite Division. The Elite Division consists of the Featherlite Southwest Series, International Truck and Engine Corporation Midwest Series, Kodak Southeast Series and Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series. The Toyota All-Star Showdown will be televised live on NASCAR TV on SPEED Channel, beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Nov. 8.

"It is no exaggeration that this event is the biggest thing to ever happen to our regional touring series," said Chris Boals, NASCAR's director of regional touring. "The importance of this event cannot be overstated, with live national television, a state-of-the-art facility in Irwindale Speedway and the best regional racers coming together for the first time. It's a chance for race fans to see NASCAR's future stars on display, and for these drivers to get noticed like never before. It's just an incredible concept. It is unique in the history of NASCAR and we cannot wait for the Toyota All-Star Showdown to begin."

The Toyota All-Star Showdown is a non-points event. Drivers will be invited based on their finish in the final 2003 point standings for their respective series. Thirty Grand National teams and 40 Elite Division teams will make up the event's starting fields.

The three-day event begins with practice on Thursday, Nov. 6. Friday, teams return for another practice session and twin 50-lap qualifying races for both divisions. The qualifying races will be lined up by alternating points positions between different series.

Two feature races will be held Saturday night, a 100-lap race for the Elite Division and 125 laps for the Grand National Division cars. What will make Saturday night's feature races unique, however, is that they will be run in two segments and include a "team" prize to the regional series that has the best overall performance in the first segment.

In the first segment (75 laps for the Elite Division, 100 laps for the Grand National Division), the drivers of each individual series will be considered as a single "team." Points will be awarded to each driver based on their position following the first segment, and the "team" with the most points will receive a bonus award that will be divided equally among the drivers. The winning Elite Division "team" will receive a $20,000 bonus while the winning Grand National Division "team" will share $30,000.

After a 10-minute break, the cars will return to the race track to begin the final segment. Both divisions will run a final, 25-lap race in traditional fashion. Including the "team" bonuses of the first segment, posted awards for the Toyota All-Star Showdown exceed $500,000.

The all-star event builds on Toyota's relationship with NASCAR, which includes plans to enter the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2004. Toyota Tundra trucks will make their racing debut at Daytona International Speedway in Feb. 2004. As many as six Toyota Tundra race trucks may be entered for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition. Toyota Tundras are assembled exclusively in Princeton, Ind.

"Toyota is excited to be a part of this new event, the Toyota All-Star Showdown," said Greg Gollands, national motorsports merchandising manager for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "As we prepare for our entry in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next year, Toyota is proud to sponsor this inaugural event, which highlights the top racers from the NASCAR Grand National and Elite Divisions. These series provide the proving grounds for the next generation of stars in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and Winston Cup series."

ABOUT THE TRACK . Irwindale Speedway, which participates in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and is a regular host to Featherlite Southwest and Winston West Series events, was recently named "the nicest short track in America" in Dick Berggren's Speedway Illustrated magazine. The half-mile asphalt oval first opened in 1999 and is located only 18 miles from downtown Los Angeles.


"This is a landmark event in the history of NASCAR," said Irwindale Speedway vice president and COO Bob DeFazio. "The inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown will be remembered for years to come, and we are proud that fans and drivers will think of Irwindale Speedway when they think about this incredible event. Our fans are in for a great show, and we are excited to bring it to them."

Along with an adjacent drag strip, Irwindale boasts a state-of-the-art sound system, luxury suites and close proximity to major freeways in the area. For tickets or track information, call (626) 358-1100.

NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Toyota All-Star Showdown Driver Reaction

Toyota All-Star Showdown Applauded by Featherlite Southwest Series Drivers and Teams

DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (April 23, 2003) When NASCAR announced today the history-making inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown to be held Nov. 6-8 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, the drivers of the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series applauded the invitation-only event. The event will bring together the top teams in NASCAR's Grand National and Elite divisions, to compete for national recognition and over $500,000 in posted awards, and be showcased live on the SPEED Channel.

Current Featherlite Southwest Series point leader, Auggie Vidovich Jr. of Lakeside, Calif., was in awe at the announcement. "That is going to be awesome," Vidovich said. "This type of event is a really big deal and something beyond a championship that I can really look forward to. I think it is going to be great to race against the best drivers in the country in this type of car."

Frank Deiny Jr., who hails from Mechanicsburg, Virg., is the current 2003 Victory Circle Rookie-of-the-Year point leader on the Featherlite Southwest Series. Deiny won the biggest Late Model race in the country last season, the TACO Bell 300 at Martinsville (Virg.) Speedway, wants to be in the top ten at seasons end just for the bragging rights. "This is the type of event that means more than money," Deiny said. "This is more important than a championship trophy, this is about being the top dog. I want to be the top dog."

For a racer like Greg Fowler, who makes the long tow to each Featherlite Southwest Series race from Longmont, Colo., this event gives him a lot of incentive to make each race. Fowler originally did not plan on racing at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway this weekend, but if he did not attempt to make the show, he, more than likely, would be out of the points race. "We're sitting just 38 points out of tenth place," Fowler said. "I may not contend for a championship this season, but I sure can battle for the top ten. The Toyota All-Star Showdown gives us a lot of incentive to make each race all season. We may go broke, but we are going to be there."

2002 Featherlite Southwest Series Rookie-of-the-Year Brandon Whitt from El Cajon, Calif. is focused on ascending the NASCAR ladder and knows competing in the Toyota All-Star Showdown will be an event that is watched by everyone in racing. "It is an awesome event that NASCAR and Toyota have put together," Whitt said. "To race against the best in the United States will let me know where I stand. It is going to be a measuring stick for me and a whole lot of fun."

For Craig Raudman of Bakersfield, Calif., the 2001 Featherlite Southwest Series Champion, this event will be looked at as the biggest race of the year. "I am not going to race any differently because of it," Raudman said. "I plan on being there. We are going go out and try to win every race, but to know that we have a chance to race against guys you only read about gives us a reason to be there. The money is nice, but to lay it on the line and go flat out racing against the best on live television, now that is going to be something."

As the Featherlite Southwest Series drivers eye the prize in November, the race this weekend at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway may turn out to be the most important race of the year.

For NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Drivers Speed + Skill = Stockton Success

STOCKTON, Calif. (April 21, 2003) – For 58 years Stockton 99 Speedway has delivered unique motorsports events to area race fans and this Saturday, April 26, the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series returns for the 20th time since 1986 in the running of the Budweiser "125" presented by Havoline.

Stockton 99 Speedway was a mainstay in the series’ early years running two events per season from 1986 to 1993. The series made single visits to the quarter-mile oval from 1994 to 1996 but then was absent from the track’s schedule until 2002 when local hero Ron Strmiska Jr. stole the show as the Featherlite Southwest Series returned to one of the West’s oldest continually operated racing facilities.

Stockton 99 Speedway is a track that can reach out and bite you if a driver makes the smallest of mistakes. Track experience and good corner speed will mean the difference in qualifying when more than thirty-five drivers of the Featherlite Southwest Series attempt to qualify for one of 22 starting positions in Saturday’s 125-lap race and vie for their share of $44,871 in posted awards in race four of the 14-race championship series.

The tight confines of Stockton 99 Speedway’s quarter-mile would leave the casual observer thinking that passing would be at a premium, but just ask Ron Strmiska Jr. of nearby Manteca, Calif., winner of last year’s event, and you’ll find out just how much side-by-side racing is in store at Stockton.

"Stockton is an action track," said Strmiska. "The track is so different at each end that it creates a lot of passing opportunities. You can have your car set up to get through turns one and two, but then you give up something three and four. So somebody is always getting passed."

Strmiska goes on to add that qualifying will be tough, especially for the local guys. "I have been going to Stockton for 30 years," Strmiska said. "I started out as a crew chief for my dad, then later started driving, and all the experience in the world will not mean a thing if you don’t qualify. I know I can race well, but it is qualifying that is going to make the difference."

Last year Strmiska may have stunned the series regulars, and those drivers are anxious to write a little bit of history themselves. One driver who has raced a lot of laps at Stockton, and enjoys his second year on the Featherlite Southwest Series, is Steve Belletto from Modesto, Calif. Belletto, a two-time track champion at Stockton and son of Stockton 99 Speedway icon Harry Belletto, would like nothing more then to win his first series race in front of his hometown fans.

"Winning at Stockton would be pretty special," Belletto said. "I have had success here in the Late Models over the years, and to win a Featherlite Southwest Series race at Stockton in front of the great fans we have here would be big in my career."

Craig Raudman of Bakersfield, Calif. missed last season’s event but has won at Stockton back in 1996 and likes racing on the tight and tricky ovals. "Stockton is a blast to drive," Raudman said. "There is a line around that place and if you’re on it, then you are going to be fast. The entry into turn three is the most important. If you get a good run on a guy into three, then you’ll make the pass out of turn four."

"The local guys like Strmiska will be hard to beat," Raudman said. "They have a lot of laps around that place and that will make it tough for the rest of us."

Defending Featherlite Southwest Series champion Eddy McKean from Jerome, Idaho likes his chances at Stockton. "We continue to learn new things about our car," McKean said. "We went to Stockton last year with the wrong set up and just chased it all day. We are ready this year. You have to have your best stuff at each race, and I am bringing the best."

Other notable drivers that have experience at Stockton include Jim Pettit II of Prunedale, Calif. who won last year’s Bud Pole Award and has tallied several wins in Late Model competition over the years. Escalon, California’s Eric Holmes who sits fourth in the series standings has had success on the historic oval, and local legend Dave Byrd of Hollister, Calif. is a driver that everyone never counts out.

The Budweiser "125" presented by Havoline is set to take the green flag at 8:30 pm PST this Saturday with the Ron Strmiska Jr. looking to see if lightning indeed strikes twice.


The race within the race … Frank Deiny Jr. tops the Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year leader board after three events. JR Patton, Thomas Martin, Kevin Vernon, and Danny Burson round out the top-five Rookies.

How many cars? More than 35 cars have pre-entered the Budweiser "125" with several hometown heroes from the Stockton area. Drivers include Ron Strmiska Jr., Dave Byrd, and Rick Ruzbarsky. Series regulars Steve Belletto, Eric Holmes, and Jim Pettit II are also familiar names at Stockton.

Auggie Vidovich Jr. missed last year’s event at Stockton due to mechanical failure while leading the non-qualifiers race. He heads to Stockton as the 2003 points leader.

Darrell LaMoure of Phoenix, Ariz. welcomes NAPA Auto Parts and Yerf-Dog Fun Karts as sponsors to his team in 2003. LaMoure continues to bring awareness regarding missing children to fans through his Racing for the Missing program. At each series race this season LaMoure and Yerf-Dog will raffle a Yerf-Dog Fun Kart at the race. Proceeds will be spilt between the Racing for the Missing program and the track’s selected charity.

The Daily Double: Three drivers are set to due double duty on Saturday, April 26. Currently ROTY point leader Frank Deiny Jr., 2001 FSWS ROTY Brandon Whitt, David Gilliland will all attempt to compete in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. then fly to Stockton in time to qualify for the Budweiser "125" for the Featherlite Southwest Series.

Driver to keep your eye on: Dan Holtz has two straight top five finishes including a win this season. Holtz vaulted into 5th place in the point standings after a runner-up finish at Cajon Speedway April 5. Holtz is in his second year on the Featherlite Southwest Series.

Hoosier Racing Tire is the official tire of the NASCAR Elite Division in 2003 and will award 32 tires to eligible car owners at each series event. Hoosier will also award two tires to the highest eligible Rookie-of-the-Year candidate’s car owner.

Featherlite Southwest Series contingency sponsors include: Anheuser-Busch, Auto Meter Products, Edelbrock Intake Manifolds, Featherlite Trailers, Five Star, Flowmaster, G-Force, Goody’s Headache Powder, Holley Carburetors, Hoosier Tires, JR Pistons, Mac Tools, Mobil 1 Oil, Moroso, MSD, Penske Shocks, Powerade, Quarter Master, Quick Car, Raybestos Brakes, "76" Race Gas, Victory Circle Chassis, and Wix Air Filters.


Steve Belletto of Modesto, Calif. moved into the NASCAR Top-10 for the first time this season after a career best 3rd place finish at Cajon Speedway April 5. Belletto sits 9th in the overall point standings.


"Stockton can be a dream day or a nightmare." – Jim Pettit II (No. 03 Hall Kinion Ford).


Ken Boyd (86, 91), Dan Press (88, 89), and Troy Beebe (89, 90) each have two wins at Stockton 99 Speedway in Featherlite Southwest Series competition. But Ron Hornaday Jr. leads all drivers, current or past, with three trips to victory lane on the tight and tricky quarter mile (92, 93, 93).


Fast Facts


What: Budweiser "125" presented by Havoline. Race 4 of 14 for the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series.


Where: Stockton 99 Speedway, Stockton, CA.


When: 8:30 p.m. PT, Saturday, April 26.


Track layout: 1/4-mile banked paved oval.


Race length: 125 laps, 31.25 miles.


Posted awards: $44,871


2002 winner: Ron Strmiska Jr.


2002 pole winner: Jim Pettit II

Qualifying Record: Steve Johnson, Chevrolet, 13.232 seconds, 68.017 mph, May 19, 1990.


Pre-race schedule (all times local): 10:00 am Haulers Enter, 11:00 am Registration and Inspection begin, 12:30 pm Mandatory Driver’s & Crew Chief’s Meeting, 1:00 pm Mandatory Rookie Driver’s Meeting, 1:30 pm Qualifying Draw, 2-4:00 pm Practice, 5:15 pm Time Trials, 7:00 pm 25-lap Qualifying Race, 8:30 pm Budweiser "125" presented by Havoline


Track contact: Ken Gross (209) 632-5999.

Ticket information: Tickets are available at the track. Cash, Visa, or Mastercard are accepted.

NASCAR Elite Division Featherlite Southwest Series

Stockton 99 Speedway, April 26, 2003

Driver Roster based on Pre-Entry      Car   (#),    Driver,    Sponsor,  Hometown

1. (1)Robert Strandwold, Performance Electrical Company Inc. Chevrolet, Modesto, Calif.

2. (2)Craig Raudman, HPS Mechanical/Victory Circle Chassis Chevrolet, Bakersfield, Calif.

3. (03)Jim Pettit II, Hall Kinion/Career Builder/Bay Pac Racing Ford, Prunedale, Calif.

4. (5)Joe Herold, Quality Chevorlet/Ron's Rear Ends/Classic Volkswagon Chevrolet, Poway, Calif.

5. (05)Eric Schmidt, Golfland/Sunsplash/Sierra Mist Chevrolet, Roseville, Calif.

6. (6)Todd Souza, Central Coast Cabinets Ford, Aromas, Calif.

7. (07)Kevin Clark, Sirius Satellite Radio/Kenwood Car Audio Chevrolet, Colorado Springs, Colo.

8. (09)Greg Voigt, Auto Pro Racing Engines/Bilstein Shocks Chevrolet, Santa Barbara, Calif.

9. (11)David Gilliland, Centrifugal Technologies/Condenser & Chiller/Lukes Trans Chevrolet, Riverside, Calif.

10. (16)Burney Lamar, CBA Motorsports/LTR Racing Engines Chevrolet, Irwindale, Calif.

11. (19)Eddy McKean, Magic Valley Pipe & Steel Pontiac, Jerome, Idaho

12. (21)Thomas Martin, Sierra Mist/PRS/Golfland Chevorlet, Auburn, Calif.

13. (23)Dan Holtz, Rialto Concrete Products Ford, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

14. (28)Brandon Whitt, Moen Faucets/Victory Circle/Simpson Race Products/Pontiac, El Cajon, Calif.

15. (30)Steve Belletto, California Hot Wood/Ashby Const./Pepsi Chevrolet, Modesto, Calif.

16. (31)Greg Potts, Gunsch Electric Chevrolet, Manteca, Calif.

17. (34)Doug McCoun, Truline Chevrolet, Prunedale, Calif.

18. (47)Richard Johnson, Auto Glass Authority Chevrolet, Antioch, Calif.

19. (51)Kevin Vernon, Action Towing Chevrolet, Bakersfield, Calif.

20. (56)Danny Burson, Great Western Electric Chevrolet, Albuquerque, NM

21. (59)Auggie Vidovich Jr., PG Series/Ransom Brothers/Creative Touch/Carquest Chevrolet, Lakeside, Calif.

22. (61)Mike Ledbetter, Pabco Gypsum/ER Vine & Sons/Bills Drywall Chevrolet,Ceres, Calif.

23. (62)Eric Holmes, Wild Cherry Pepsi/Taco Bell/Wayne Tuel Enterprises Chevrolet, Escalon, Calif.

24. (65)Stan Silva Jr., A&S Metals/Stan Silva Jr. Trucking Chevrolet, Castroville, Calif.

25. (68)Randy Nelson, Nelson Motorsports Ford, El Cajon, Calif.

26. (70)Frank Deiny Jr., Star Q's Chevrolet, Mechanicsville, Virg.

27. (71)Greg Fowler, Mortgage Stream Financial/R&J Trucking Chevrolet, Longmont, Colo.

28. (73)Scott Busby, Ron Grose Racing Engines Chevrolet, Martinez, Calif.

29. (88)Nathan Thiesse, Honda Cars of Corona/The Body Shop Pontiac, Brainard, Minn.

30. (89)Bryan Germone, GIRO Chevrolet, Winsor, Calif.

31. (90)Ron Strmiska Jr., Chez Shari's/Uncle Franks Grill/Speckles Park Chevrolet, Manteca, Calif.

32. (92)Joe Zampa, Valley Fabrication Chevrolet, Napa, Calif.

33. (94)Darrell LaMoure, NAPA Auto Parts/Yerf-Dog Fun Karts Chevrolet, Phoenix, Ariz.

34. (96)Chris Hines, Iron Eagle Motorcycles/Plateau Motorsports Chevrolet, Chandler, Ariz.

35. (97)JR Patton, Las Cruces Motorsports/Patricks Motorsports Chevrolet, Las Cruces, NM

36. (51r)Rick Ruzbarsky, Alfred Matthews/Ken's Tire Store/Jess Motorsports Pontiac, Tracy, Calif.


NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Rookie Update

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 11, 2003) - The following is a glance at the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Victory Circle Chassis' Rookie-of-the-Year leader board heading into the Budweiser "125" presented by Havoline at Stockton 99 Speedway Saturday, April 26. This will be race 4 of 14 on the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series schedule. After the race at Cajon Speedway, Frank Deiny Jr. holds a one-point lead over JR Patton.

No. 1 - Frank Deiny Jr. (No. 70 Star Nursery Chevrolet), Q Motorsports. Last week's ranking: 1. Deiny holds on to the top spot in the rookie standings after an 11th place finish at Cajon Speedway. Deiny qualified second quick but started 7th after the invert was drawn. An early spin dropped Deiny down a lap. Deiny heads to Stockton 99 Speedway for the first time.

No. 2 - JR Patton (No. 97 Las Cruces Chevrolet), Las Cruces Motorsports. Last week's ranking: 2. Patton is one point behind Deiny after finishing 15th at Cajon Speedway. Patton did not compete at Stockton 99 Speedway last season and will need to continue a solid qualifying effort to make the show. Former series regular, Scott Brandt, joins Patton's team this year and so far the combination is working as Patton has proven to be a strong qualifier.

No. 3 - Thomas Martin (No. 21 Sierra Mist Chevrolet), Fred Penney Racing. Last week's ranking: 5. Martin is qualifying for races and that is paying dividends in the Rookie race and the championship. Martin had a disappointing finish of 22nd at Cajon Speedway but scored seven rookie points to move into third place, just two points behind leader Deiny.

No. 4 - Kevin Vernon (No. 51 Action Towing Chevrolet), Vernon Racing. Last week's ranking: 4. Vernon maintains fourth place in the Rookie race despite a 23rd place finish at Cajon Speedway. Vernon is one of only five rookie drivers to qualify for the each of the first three races this season.

No. 5 - Danny Burson (No. 56 Great Western Electric Chevrolet), Burson Racing. Last week's ranking: 8. Burson was the top finishing Rookie at Cajon Speedway with a 10th place finish. Burson had to make the feature by wining the non-qualifiers race and starting at the back of the 125-lap race. His finish vaults him up three spots in the Rookie race and sits just five points behind Deiny.

No. 6 - Greg Voigt (No. 09 Auto Pro Racing Engines Chevrolet), Voigt Racing. Last week's ranking: 6. Voigt failed to qualify for the race at Cajon Speedway which dropped him nine points out of the Rookie lead. The next race at Stockton 99 Speedway will prove critical in the Rookie race as qualifying will be at premium.

No. 7 - Randy Nelson (No. 68 Nelson Racing Ford), Nelson Racing. Last week's ranking: 3. Nelson wrecked his car in the non-qualifiers race at Cajon Speedway and will likely be sidelined for several weeks making repairs, thus dropping him from contention in the 2003 Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year title chase.

No. 8 - Nathan Thiesse (No. 88 Honda Cars of Corona Chevrolet), The Body Shop Racing. Last week's ranking: 7. Thiesse failed to qualify for the race at Cajon Speedway after an incident in the non-qualifiers race ended his night. Thiesse did not score Rookie points and falls 14 points out of the Rookie lead.

No. 9 - Mike Price (No. 3 AMI Metals Chevrolet), Price Racing. Last week's ranking: 9. Price did not attend the race at Cajon Speedway.

No. 10 - Chris Hines (No. 96 Ironeagle Chevrolet) Pro Dyno Racing. Last Week's ranking: N/A. Hines had another difficult trip to the racetrack and did not qualify for the race at Cajon Speedway. Hines had a drive shaft break during practice and the crew had to spend most of the available practice making repairs.

No. 11 - Richard Johnson (No. 47 Auto Glass Chevrolet), Johnson Racing. Last week's ranking: 11. Johnson did not qualify for the race at Cajon Speedway. Johnson is seeing many of the Featherlite Southwest Series tracks for the first time and learning that track experience can make the difference.

No. 12 - Ken Weaver (No. 93 Weaver Racing Chevrolet). Weaver Racing. Last week's ranking: N/A. Weaver did not compete at Cajon Speedway.

Fast Facts

NASCAR Rookies this week: 1. Frank Deiny Jr., 23; 2. JR Patton, 22; 3. Thomas Martin, 21; 4. Kevin Vernon, 20; 5. Danny Burson, 18; 6. Greg Voigt, 14; 7. Randy Nelson, 14; 8. Nathan Thiesse, 9; 9. Mike Price, 2; 10. Chris Hines, 0.11. Richard Johnson, 0; 12. Ken Weaver, 0.

Weeks at No. 1: Frank Deiny Jr., 3.

Victory Circle Chassis' offers a season ending bonus of $5,000 to the top finishing rookie at season ending banquet in December. Each rookie competitor earns rookie points for each race they start. No rookie points are awarded for races a rookie fails to qualify for. Points are awarded on a declining scale with the top finishing rookie receiving 10 points then 9,8.7 and so on. Each rookie will count their best 12 finishes of the 14 race schedule towards the 2003 Rookie-of-the-Year championship.



A look at the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Top 10 drivers

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 11, 2003) - The following is a glance at the NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series Top 10 in the series championship standings heading into the Budweiser "125" presented by Havoline at Stockton 99 Speedway April 26. The race in Stockton, Calif. will be race 4 of 14 on the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series schedule:

No. 1 - Auggie Vidovich Jr. (No. 59 PG Series Chevrolet), Vidovich Racing. Last week's ranking: 1. Vidovich salvaged a sixth place finish at Cajon Speedway after qualifying 16th. Vidovich also increased his points lead by 61 markers going into the race at Stockton 99 Speedway where he failed to qualify for last year's event. Vidovich has been at the top spot for two straight races.

No. 2 - Eddy McKean (No. 19 Magic Valley Pipe Pontiac), McKean Racing. Last week's ranking: 2. McKean stays in second place in the standings for the third straight race. A lap 34 altercation at Cajon Speedway dropped the defending series champ five laps down and subsequent 17th place finish. The next race at Stockton 99 Speedway will prove vital in his championship hunt.

No. 3 - Bryan Germone (No. 89 GIRO Chevrolet), Koster Motorsports. Last week's ranking: 4. Fortune smiled on Germone in the form a Past Champions Provisional at Cajon Speedway. With 35 drivers on hand the field was separated by les than 3/10's of second in qualifying. Germone started 22nd and patiently moved his way up to finish 7th by races end and move back into third place in the championship standings.

No. 4 - Eric Holmes (No. 62 Wild Cherry Pepsi Chevrolet), Beebe Racing. Last week's ranking: 11th. Holmes continues to impress with top five finishes in the last two short-track events. Holmes finished 4th at Cajon and returns to Stockton 99 Speedway where he has a lot of laps of experience. Holmes joins the NASCAR Top-10 for the first time this season.

No. 5 - Dan Holtz (Rialto Concrete Ford), Thompson Motorsports. Last

week's ranking: 16th. Holtz backed up his win at Mesa Marin Raceway with a second place performance and a move into the NASCAR Top-10 for the first time this season. Holtz is in his second year of competition on the series and heads to Stockton 99 Speedway as one of the hottest drivers in the series.

No. 6 - Jim Pettit II (No. 03 Hall Kinion Ford), Bay Pac Racing. Last week's ranking: 14th. Pettit joins the NASCAR Top-10 for the first time this season after another cardiac run from the back of the field at Cajon Speedway. Pettit finished 5th after starting 18th and heads to Stockton 99 Speedway where he won his first career Bud Pole Award last season.

No. 7 - Craig Raudman (No. 2 HPS Chevrolet), Victory Circle Racing. Last week's ranking: 3. Raudman falls to 7th from 3rd after suffering from on-track contact at Cajon Speedway. Raudman, a two-time winner at Cajon Speedway, finished the 125 lap sprint 25 laps down in 19th position. Raudman needs a strong performance at Stockton 99 Speedway to get back into the title fight. Raudman won at Stockton in 1996.

No. 8- Frank Deiny Jr. (No. 70 Star Nursery Chevrolet), Q Motorsports. Last week's ranking: 7. Deiny qualified second quick at Cajon Speedway but started 7th after the invert. He lost a lap early in the 125-lap race and finished in the 11th position. The finish kept in the championship hunt and in the ROTY lead. Deiny has been in the NASCAR Top-10 for each race this season.

No. 9 - Steve Belletto (No. 30 California Hot Wood Chevrolet), Belletto Racing. Last week's ranking: 20. Belletto makes his debut in the NASCAR Top-10 for the first time this season after a solid third place performance at Cajon Speedway, his best career finish. Belletto looks to maintain that momentum at Stockton 99 Speedway, a track where has many feature wins and two track championships.

No. 10 - Doug McCoun (No. 34 Truline Chevrolet), McCoun Motorsports. Last week's ranking: 12. McCoun makes his way into the NASCAR Top-10 for the first time this season after finishing 12th at Cajon Speedway. McCoun is racing race-by-race this season and looks forward to a solid performance at Stockton 99 Speedway.

NASCAR Top 10 this week: 1. Auggie Vidovich Jr., 485; 2. Eddy McKean, 424; 3. Bryan Germone, 414; 4. Eric Holmes, 404; 5. Dan Holtz, 402; 6. Jim Pettit II, 391; 7. Craig Raudman, 376; 8. Frank Deiny Jr., 376; 9. Steve Belletto, 374; 10. Doug McCoun, 370.

Weeks at No. 1: Auggie Vidovich Jr., 2, Bryan Germone, 1.

New arrivals in the NASCAR Top 10 this week: Eric Holmes (4), Dan Holtz (5), Jim Pettit II (6), Steve Belletto (9), Doug McCoun (10).

Most weeks in the NASCAR Top 10: Five drivers tied at 3 weeks.

Biggest mover among the Top 10: Dan Holtz from 16th to 5th.

Dropped out of the NASCAR Top 10 this week: Darrell LaMoure, Randy Nelson, Kevin Vernon, JR Patton, and Burney Lamar.

Chartin' the Champ: Eddy McKean maintains second place in the standings after a disappointing finish of 17th after qualifying 4th at Cajon Speedway.


Meech Masters Home Turf for Featherlite Southwest Series Win

EL CAJON, Calif. (April 6, 2003) Mark Meech of La Mesa, Calif. has waited 14 years to return to victory in NASCAR Elite Division, Featherlite Southwest Series competition, and he did just that in front of his hometown fans at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. Meech started the race on the pole position after Bud Pole winner Craig Raudman pulled an eight invert to set the starting lineup and shuffle the top eight qualifiers backwards. The draw was to Meech's benefit as he led all 125 laps of the COORS Light "125" to record his second career victory. Dan Holtz of Pacific Palisades, Calif. finished second with Modesto, California's Steve Belletto finishing a career best third. Eric Holmes and Jim Pettit II rounded out the top-five finishers.

Craig Raudman of Bakersfield, Calif. in his HPS Mechanical/Victory Circle Chassis Chevrolet won his 13th career Bud Pole Award with a quick lap of 16.149 seconds/83.597 mph to lead all thirty-five qualifiers. Frank Deiny Jr. posted the second quick time, with Brandon Whitt, Steve Belletto, and Eddy McKean rounding out the top-five qualifiers.

Seventeen drivers made the show on time with Jim Pettit II, David Gilliland, Mike Ledbetter, Scott Busby, and Bryan Germone making the starting lineup through the provisional system. That sent thirteen cars to the 20-lap non-qualifiers race. Danny Burson and Kevin Vernon transferred from qualifying race to make up the last two starting positions in the 24-car starting grid.

Mark Meech led the field to green but the action slowed immediately as Joe Herold suffered a suspension problem and pulled the #5 Quality Chevrolet in to the pits. Thomas Martin was collected and dropped water around the track from a busted radiator. The track crew went to work on the water and oil and the race was restarted on lap 13. Meech continued in the lead followed by Eric Holmes, Dan Holtz, Eddy McKean, and Brandon Whitt.

On lap 35 Craig Raudman tangled with Eddy McKean in turn two which eliminated both from contention. Both drivers would return many laps down. Also involved in the incident was Brandon Whitt. All three cars were running in the top five at the time. The caution allowed Meech to cool his brakes as his car began to develop a push.

By lap 60, Meech continued to display his mastery of the Cajon Speedway 3/8-mile layout and built a lead as much as 15-car lengths at times over Dan Holtz. Todd Souza was up to third, with Steve Belletto in tow in fourth. Holmes was running fifth, with Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year co-leader JR Patton leading the second five. Following Patton was Burney Lamar in seventh, followed by Jim Pettit II, Auggie Vidovich Jr., and local driver Jeff Seifert.

Patton spun across the start/finish line causing all cars to choose high or low with Souza narrowly missing Patton as he squeezed between him and the wall on lap 87. By the lap 95 restart, only 10 cars were on the lead lap including Meech, Holtz, Souza, Belletto, Holmes, Lamar, Pettit, Vidovich,

Seifert, and Germone. Souza and Holtz waged a spirited battle during the

second half of the race but contact on lap 108 caused a tire to go down on Souza's right front dropping him three laps down. Souza returned to finish 14th.

Meech was unchallenged the remainder of the distance and took the checkered flag 1.3 seconds ahead of Holtz. Steve Belletto was third, with Eric Holmes tallying another top-five finish and Jim Pettit II rallying to finish fifth. Auggie Vidovich Jr. wound up in sixth after a disappointing qualifying run, with 1996 series champion Bryan Germone making his way to seventh after using a past champions provisional to make the show. Local driver Jeff Seifert finished eighth, with Scott Busby recording his best finish of the season in ninth. Victory Circle Chassis ROTY contender Danny Burson from Albuquerque, NM had a strong showing of tenth after winning the non-qualifiers race and starting at the rear of the field.

"I have waited a long time to win on the series again," Meech said. "We had a real good car tonight, but winning the invert deal made the biggest difference. I was able to start from the best seat in the house. I do not know if the result would have been the same if I started in eighth."

Dan Holtz backed up his win at Mesa Marin Raceway with a strong second place effort and moved into fifth place in the overall point standings. "We are starting to run like I thought we could," Holtz said. "This series is tougher than anything out there, and we just needed some time to learn the cars and the tracks. I think we are finally racing at a consistent level which will make us much more competitive. This finish is a big step in the right direction for our team."

Steve Belletto collected his best career Featherlite Southwest Series finish with a third place performance. "We knew we had a good car here," Belletto said. "After qualifying, I was a lot more enthusiastic and just hoped we could stay around the front all night. My car worked well in traffic and I was able to run my line to stay with the leaders."

With several of the point leaders having problems the point standings were shaken up a bit, but with a sixth place finish, Auggie Vidovich Jr. still tops the charts by 61 points over Eddy McKean. McKean finished 17th, five laps down. Bryan Germone moves up a spot to third after finishing seventh, with Eric Holmes moving into fourth place with another strong performance. With his second place effort, Dan Holtz rounds out the top five in the standings. Jim Pettit II, Craig Raudman, Frank Deiny Jr., Belletto, and Doug McCoun are the second five in the standings.

The race took 57 minutes and 18 seconds to complete at an average speed of 54.824 mph. The action was slowed four times for 40 laps and Meech's margin of victory was 1.3 seconds over Holtz. Craig Raudman won his 13th career Bud Pole Award with a time of 16.149 seconds/83.597 mph and the check for $325, with Bryan Germone picking up the Powerade Power Move-of-the-Race for starting 22nd and finishing 7th along with the $750 Powerade check. Danny Burson collected the Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Race Award with his 10th place performance and moved into fifth overall in the ROTY standings. There were no lead changes as Meech led all 125 laps.

The next event on the Featherlite Southwest Series schedule is Saturday, April 26 at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, Calif. with the running of the

Budweiser "125" presented by Havoline.

2002 Southwest Tour Coverage

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