(STOCKTON, CA--June 21, 1 998)--Mark Welch posted his sixth Grand American Modified main event victory in 10 starts Saturday night at Stockton 99 Speedway to assume the Winston Racing Series point lead from Jason Fensler. Fensler had occupied the number one spot since opening day (March 29), but was involved in a multiple car crash on the fifth lap of the 30lap feature that saw 20 cars take the green flag.
Stockton's Jason Kerby led the first lap of the NASCAR-sanctioned event and was involved in the turns one-two fracas that involved fellow Stockton driver and defending division champion Steve Stacy and collected Fensler of Wilton in the process. Fensler got the worst of the deal as his car had to be towed to the infield. His problem was compounded when he opted to vacate his racer and challenge Stacy regarding the incident before several cars had even been shown the yellow flag.
Orangevale resident Welch, who earlier had won the trophy dash, assumed the lead on the re-start and breezed to the checkered flag. He was followed to the finish by Cole Tiwater of Modesto, Danny Contessotto of Stockton, Antioch's Walt Haas and Stacy. Welch now leads Fensler by 26-points (574-548) in the title chase with Stacy still within reach at 516 in third.
The Crafstman Tool Night crowd was treated to an 18-car, 50-lap Late Model Sportsman feature that concluded with a lap-49 spin out and crash that brought out a yellow-checkered flag. Greg Potts of Manteca, after grabbing the lead from his outside pole starting position, was trying to collect his second victory of the season, when Ripon's John Gaalswyk, who had been sent to the back of the field for spinning season point leader Ken Boyd early in the race, made contact with Potts as he attempted to pass. Potts fishtailed past the start-finish line and eventually spun in turn-one with Gaalswyk and Kevin Gottula coming home one-two with Potts collecting himself to finish third.
However, a post-race decision by NASCAR officials, placed Gaalswyk behind Potts allowing Gottula of Modesto to inherit his first Stockton 99 main event since August 21 of l 993. As might be expected, Gaalswyk was not happy with the officials' decision, but still managed to gain some valuable points on Boyd, who ended up sixth. Afterward, Potts, who was awarded second said, "It's the right thing to do." While Gottula added: "It's not the way we wanted to win."
The controversial finish was set-up midway in the event when Boyd, running second at the time, spun coming off the fourth turn on lap-27. Track officials pointed the finger of blame at Gaalswyk, sending him to the back, a move the crowd agreed with but Gaalswyk's crew did not. A multiple car brouhaha precipitated by an Ed McGinnis spin at the front of the pack in turn-one on lap-33 enabled Gaalswyk to gain back 10 spots to fourth. From there, he was able to pass Gottula and Walnut Creek's John Wood to pressure Potts at the front concluding with the lap-48 spin and resulting yellow-checkered finish. After the Gaalswyk set-back ruling, the official top-five was Gottula, Potts, Gaalswyk, Tony Schmitz of Modesto and Wood. The fourth and fifth place finishes for Schmitz and Wood represent their best-ever Stockton efforts.
Season point leader Dan Dabbs of North Highlands took advantage of his Street Stock pole position start to lead the first 22-laps of the nights 30-lap feature before bowing to Cary Treadway of Stockton. Treadway, who earlier posted his seventh straight fast time tieing a mark shared by Greg Rayl (1991) and Bud Beltrama (1995), took the checkered flag for his second main event triumph of the season. Dabbs held on for second, followed by second generation Jason Beltrama of Stockton, trophy dash winner Pete Anderson, Sr. and Jerry Crawford, both of Stockton. Treadway gained four points in the season standings and now trails Dabbs by 22 (434-412).
Stockton's Joe Stearns was the early leader in the Pure Stock feature before giving way to another Stockton pilot, Kevin Touchstone, on lap-eight. The 25-lap affair was red-flagged on lap-20 when Adam Ramsdale of San Jose tested the back stretch concrete wall and lost the battle. Touchstone eventually gave way to Salida's Sam Solari and faded to fourth at the end. Second went to Guy Guibor of Manteca, with Aaron Mundello of Denair third and Joe Allen of Stockton completing the top-five in fifth. Solari, with three wins, leads the season point standings by 38 (470-432) over Jeff Lovelace of Stockton.

Stockton 99 Speedway will feature a Grand American Happening--a 100-lap main event for Grand American Modifieds--this coming Saturday, June 27. Rained out April 4th, the NASCAR-sanctioned event will offer a $7,000 purse--$1,000 to win plus $500 in lead lap money provided by Jim Kietzke of Beck Realtors of Stockton. The four-division racing program will also include the second I.B. Benedict Auto Parts night for Pure Stocks.
Grand stand seating for the Grand American Happening/I.B. Auto Parts night will open at 3:00 p.m. with qualifying set for 5:30 and green flag racing at 7:00.
Adult tickets will cost $12, children six-to-12 five-dollars with those under six getting in free. A family ticket--two adults and two children--will sell for $30.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.