(STOCKTON, CA--May 9, 1999)--"Double up and make up" proved to be a motto to live by for Mark Welch and Scott Chappell Saturday night at Stockton 99 Speedway. Welch of Orangevale, who represented the venerable speedway (now in its 53rd year) as last year's NASCAR Winston Racing Series regional champion, and Chappell of Lodi took over point leads in their respective divisions (Grand American Modified and Street Stock) as the result of the first "double point" night of the '99 season.

It also was a night for John Gaalswyk to accentuate his dominance in the Late Model Sportsman division as the "Ripon Rocket" registered his fourth straight win in the WIX Filters 50; and Orville Dahl of Stockton hung on to a 10-point margin in the Pure Stock division over defending champion Joe Allen, also of Stocton.

The Grand American feature saw Scott Winters of Tracy take the early feature lead with a quick yellow halting the event as four cars played "king of the mountain" in turn-one. The re-start saw the lead change hands in favor of Welch, with Stockton's Jason Kerby coming to second on lap-seven. Lap-nine saw Danny Contessotto trailing sparks and spinning in turn two continuing a tough night for the Stockton competitor. Contessotto lost an engine during hot laps and made a fast trip home for a fresh one, getting back in time to earn a spot in the 20-car main event through the semi.

On the re-start, a red flag halted the action as Teresa Morten of Manteca took a hard shot into the first turn wall. By the 15th-lap halfway point, the top three consisted of Welch, Kerby, and Robert Miller of San Jose. That trio moved away from the remaining field, but a red was displayed again on lap-25 when incoming point leader Jason Philpot backed hard into the third turn wall. As the field got back to speed, fast timer Kerby slipped past Welch on lap-27 and received the checkered flag for the second straight week, finishing ahead of Welch, Miller, Steve Stacy of Stockton and North Highland's Dan Dabbs.

With Philpot ending up 13th, Welch now leads the Sacramento driver in the Winston Racing Series point standings by 34-(344-310) with Dabbs, Kerby and Winters completing the top-five.

A 17-car field turned out for the WIX Filters event with Eric Seely of Modesto on the pole for the 50-lapper. Seely's hopes were doused quickly as he spun in turn-two on the opening lap. In the confusion to miss Seely, Stockton drivers John Graham and Buzz Devore tangled entering the backstretch with Graham climbing over the hood of Devore. As a result, oil was spread over a large portion of the track surface. After a lengthy clean up, the event re-started with Gaalswyk, winner of three straight at Stockton, moving from his fifth place original starting spot to the front.

Two laps later, another red fell when Steve Hernandez of Stockton tagged the pit exit gate. During the stoppage, a different kind of history was made when John Wood of Walnut Creek sought approval from NASCAR officials to leave his car and use the bathroom. Once the approval was granted, it was evident how many scanners were active in the stands as a mighty cheer arose as Wood jumped from his racer to run to the infield Port-a-Potty.

Once racing resumed, Harry Belletto of Modesto--making his first Stockton appearance of the year--grabbed third place behind Troy Ermish of Fremont. On lap-12, Belletto slipped under Ermish for second and did his best to chase the high-flying Gaalswyk down. All the while behind them, challengers like Tim Bost of Rocklin and fast-time Ron Strmiska, Jr. of Manteca were  involved in spins or accidents that forced them to the back of the field. The event ran smoothly from lap-28 to lap-42 when Jeff Belletto, Harry's son, apparently lost an engine and came to rest up against the turn three-four retaining wall.

Strmiska got back into the fray coming to the checkered moving to fourth on lap-45, and third on lap-48. Neither Belletto nor Strmiska could muster enough to catch Gaalswyk, however, as he notched his fourth straight Stockton victory and stretched his season point lead over John Wood to nearly 100 points (274-182).

The Street Stock feature produced a barn-burner event that went non-yellow for 25-laps with Mike Garcia of Lodi taking the first lap lead and passing it off to fellow Lodi driver and dash winner Scott Chappell on lap-six. George Black of North Highlands came to second and pressed Chappell hard before moving to the front 10 laps later. Incoming point leader Cary Treadway of Stockton jumped into third and the three pulled away to the final flag in that order.

A post race tech inspection cost Treadway the third spot and his fast time on the night resulting in Jerry Crawford of Stockton moving up to third with Garcia and Lockeford's Jeremy Hammon completing the top-five. Chappell's second place effort enabled him to assume the point lead over Hammon (260-208) with Greg Albiani of Modesto, Crawford and Treadway occupying the third, fourth and fifth positions.

The ever popular Pure Stock division produced a 25-lap, single yellow flag event that had fans on the edge of their seats. 1997 champion Doug Lane of Stockton led from the pole and was pressed early on by current point leader Orville Dahl and defending champion Joe Allen, both of Stockton. Dahl eventually spun and was forced to work his way back; while Allen wrested the lead from Lane on lap-14. Allen lost a heartbreaker on the final lap as another Stockton driver, Gary Shafer, Jr., made the pass on the way to the checkered flag. Third place went to Guy Guibor of Manteca, with Lane and Jeff Lovelace completing the top-five.

Dahl ended up seventh and retains a 10-point margin (302-292) over Allen in the season point chase. Shafer, Jr. is third with Guibor and Lane occupying fourth and fifth.


The United States Auto Club (USAC) and Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) featuring a field of more than 30 midget racers will make their second appearance of the season at Stockton 99 Speedway this coming Saturday (5/15).

The field is expected to include such USAC and BCRA stars as Wally Pankratz, Danny Ebberts, Jimmy Sills, Marc DeBeaumont, Terry Tarditi and Shane Scully. The event will also mark the debut of 15-year old Chuck Gurney, Jr. in a USAC show.

The program will also include NASCAR-sanctioned Street Stock and Pure Stocks.

Spectators are guaranteed more than 150 laps of racing beginning at 6:00 p.m. Ticket gates will open at 3:00 with qualifying set for 5:00.

Adult tickets for the USAC/BCRA event will cost $15 with children six-to-12 being admitted for five dollars. A family ticket--two adults and two children--will be available for $35.

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



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