(STOCKTON, CA--April 16, 2000)-David Philpott of Tracy, a former two-time NASCAR-sanctioned Stockton 99 champion (1992-93), is making his presence felt again in the year 2000. The 39-year-old made use of his experience by threading his way from a 10th place starting position to register his 27th Stockton career triumph and his second in the Shell Tri-Track Challenge series for Late Models. Philpott took the lead from Tri-Track point leader Jason Fensler on the 92nd lap of 100 to best a 20-car main event field.

Steve Belletto of Modesto and Jim Pettit III of Salinas were the front row starters with Belletto taking the early lead. Single file action was the order of the evening for the first 18-laps when the first of seven yellows fell on lap-19 when Ken Boyd of Ceres and fast timer Greg Potts of Manteca both spun in the third turn. At the same time, Modesto pilot Kevin Gottula turned his car around in an effort to avoid the tangle.

On the re-start, the lead fell to Pettit with Fensler of Wilton challenging Belletto for second as the two ran side-by-side until Fensler moved to the fore on lap-25. Another yellow was displayed on lap-26 when Modesto driver Bob Strandwold got his racer turned around off turn four. Once the green was waved again on lap-29, Fensler jumped past Pettit with Philpott moving into fifth.

Greg Anderson of Roseville brought out the next caution flag on lap-39 as he spun into the 4th turn wall and out of contention for the night. Philpott, running fourth on the re-start, moved to third on lap-43 with another yellow falling four laps later as Pettit cut a tire and boxed up the cars behind him. Gottula got the worst of that deal as he got knocked sideways into the path of Jeff Belletto on the backchute. On the re-start, it was Fensler, Philpott, Ron Strmiska, Jr. of Manteca, and Steve Belletto as the then 18-car field ran clean for nearly 40-laps. Another yellow came out on lap-88 after Ceres driver Jesse Apodaca tested the front straight wall.

A single file re-start for the final ten laps saw Fensler slip out of the groove with Philpott grabbing the lead for good on lap-92. A final yellow involved Fensler and Strandwold as they tangled in turn-two, leaving Philpott in a four-lap sprint to the checkered flag. Strmiska was second with Steve Belletto, a fast closing Pettit and Fensler completing the top-five. Fensler, though, was penalized one lap for failing to drive immediately to the post-race tech area. That dropped the Shell series point leader, who now leads Pettit by 16 points (150-134) after three races, to eighth with Troy Ermish of Fremont being elevated to the top-five.

In other NASCAR action, a 10-car field of Pro Stocks put on a speedy 25-lap main event with no yellows as Johnny Berndt of Clement took the early lead. Lodi’s Mike Monez made his presence felt with a lap-five pass of Berndt with division point leader Cary Treadway of Stockton moving to third. Lap-10 saw Joe Hylton of Manteca grasp the top spot, but quickly surrender it to Treadway on the next go-round. Fellow Stockton pilot Jerry Crawford, who is second to Treadway in points, assumed the runner-up slot on the next lap. The two ran bumper to tail to the final flag with Scott Chappell of Lodi ending up third with Ed Cullom of Lockeford and Monez completing the top-five. Treadway was also the fast timer on the night. He also notched his third straight trophy dash win, but still only leads Crawford by six in the season point chase (162-156).

Not to be outdone, the Pure Stock division also staged a non-yellow feature with Gary Shafer, Jr. of Stockton claiming the first lap lead. Heat winner Guy Guibor of Manteca grabbed the top spot on lap-nine and never looked back as he finished first ahead of Arron Shankel of Lodi, heat and dash winner Orville Dahl of Stockton, Shafer, and Joe Stearns, also of Stockton. The dash win by Dahl, his third straight, not only tied a division record, but helped him to retain a 21-point (164-143) margin over Shankel for the season standings. In addition to Dahl and Guibor, the other Pure Stock heat winners were Jeff Ahl of Lodi and Mike Graham of Manteca.

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After a week off, the Grand American Modifieds return to Stockton 99 Speedway Saturday (April 22). Tony Silva of Sacramento holds a narrow five-point (150-145) margin over defending track and NASCAR Pacific Coast Region champion Mark Welch of Orangevale.

The four division racing program will also include Ultra Wheel Spec Trucks, Renegade Sprint Cars and Pure Stocks.

Ticket gates will open at 3:00 p.m. with qualifying set for 5:00 and green flag racing at 6:00.

Adult tickets will cost $12, eight for students (13-to-17) and seniors over 65, and four dollars for children six-to-12. Children five and under get in free.

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



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