(STOCKTON, CA--July 26, 1998)--A luck of the draw full field inversion was no problem to Grand American Modified point leader Mark Welch Saturday night as the Orangevale resident registered his ninth Winston Racing Series victory in 15 starts at NASCAR-sanctioned Stockton 99 Speedway. A field of 18 cars that saw fast-timer Jason Fensler of Wilton start at the back of the pack alongside Welch took the green flag in the 30-lap feature.

Outside pole sitter Ed Wilcox of Modesto was the initial leader as a series of spins and minor crashes slowed the early pace. While the cautions jumbled the standings up front, Welch was making his way through the field moving to fourth by lap-six. Welch's had his Ellis chassis on the point by lap-nine. Defending division champion Steve Stacy of Stockton moved to fourth on lap-eight and to third on lap- 11 before a yellow was displayed on the next go-round as Teresa Morten of Manteca spun off turn-two. Under the yellow, Stacy slowed on the track and was pushed to the infield with a broken clutch.

On the re-start, Fensler moved to second and the subsequent battle for the lead with Welch took a back seat to the action further back with Robert Knittel of Lodi coming to third on lap- 19, followed by Modesto's Cole Tiwater in fourth by lap-21. The race ran yellow free to the checkered with Walt Haas of Antioch filling out the top-five behind Welch, Fensler, Knittel and Tiwater. The season long point chase between the top two finishers remained status quo, with Welch leading Fensler by only 14 (872-858).

Eric Davidek of Wilton led the opening lap of the 30-lap Street Stock feature, but was quickly overcome by fifth place starter and defending champion Jerry Tripp of Stockton on the second go-round when Davidek spun off turn-two. The resulting domino-effect saw John Vanderwerff of Manteca and Mark Hernandez and David Stricklin, both of Stockton, collected behind Davidek, with Merle Emmons, also of Stockton, pasting the outside wall to avoid the melee.

Once Emmons disabled vehicle was removed, Pete Anderson, Sr., of Stockton moved to second on lap-six, with fellow Stockton driver Cary Treadway easing into third on lap-eight. By mid-race, the top five runners were single file in the form of Tripp, Anderson, Treadway, first time-fast timer Jerry Crawford of Stockton and incoming point leader Dan Dabbs of North Highlands. A checkered-yellow was displayed on the 29th circuit with Tripp adding to his record career win total at 23, followed by Crawford, Treadway, Dabbs and Anderson. Dabbs' season point lead is 36 (728-692) over Treadway.

The evening's fare also included a second Stockton 99 appearance by the B.C.R.A. Midgets--an assemblage of 15 cars that produced a wire-to-wire performance by Nick Geranio of San Ramon for his first career Bay Cities Racing Association win. The race behind Geranio had more position changes than peanuts in a Cracker Jack box--with series point leader Terry Tarditi of Lodi coming to second on lap-13 followed by Sterling Pratz of Mill Valley in fourth. Pratz moved into third on lap-20 and the three put on a war over the final 10 1aps to hold their positions and challenge Geranio at the same time At the finish, Geranio held tough with Pratz ending up second followed by Tarditi, previous three time Stockton winner Chad Nichols of San Carlos and Visalia's Scott Nail

Also on hand for their second time this year was the Legend cars. A field of 21 of the 5/8-scale 1934 to 1940 Ford, Chevy and Dodge coupes or sedans took the green flag for the 30-lap feature. South Lake Tahoe's Jim Klopp led early, then gave way Mark Bailey of San Lorenzo on lap-four By the 13th go-round, Randy Raduechel of Oakdale was in second with his eyes on the leader Four laps later, the two got side by side on the back chute with Bailey getting loose and spinning as Raduechel took the lead. The night's fast timer and dash winner, Joey Zampa of Napa closed to second and gave chase to Raduechel It was to no avail, however, as the event ran trouble free to the end with Raduechel notching his ninth Stockton 99 victory in front of Zampa, John Burritt of Sparks, Nevada, Chad Morrison of San Ramon and Shane Cline of Carson City, Nevada

The $130,000 Shell Tri-Track Challenge--sponsored by Paul Oil Co.--will return to Stockton 99 Speedway this coming Saturday (8/1). The NASCAR-sanctioned Tri-Track Challenge--involving Altamont Raceway Park, Madera and Stockton 99 Speedways--has become the premier Central Valley Late Model Sportsman series.

Mike David of Modesto--winner of three of the first six Shell Tri-Track events-leads the series standings by 10 points over fellow Modesto pilot Bob Strandwold. Current Stockton 99 point leader Ken Boyd of Ceres is third with Mike Swanson of Kingsburg and Sonora's Nathan Tucker completing the top-five. The winner of the Shell Tri-Track Challenge will earn $5,000.

Pick'N Pull auto recyclers is also providing $5,000 to the Tri-Track Challenge top qualifiers. After six events, Boyd has the inside track for the Pick'N Pull Qualifying bonus leading David by four (19-15).

In addition to the 100-lap Tri-Track event, the program will feature Grand American Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Legends.

Gates open at 2:30 p.m. with qualifying set for 5:30 and green flag racing at 7:00. Adult tickets cost $12 with seniors over 65 and children six-to-12 four dollars. A family ticket--two adults and two children--will be available for $28.

Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.