(STOCKTON, CA--July 2, 2000)-Jim Pettit II led wire-to-wire Saturday night at NASCAR-sanctioned Stockton 99 Speedway to win the NAPA Auto Parts Firecracker 100 for Late Model Sportsman. The Firecracker is the second of three events that comprise the Sixth Annual Tri-Holiday Classic-100-lap races run on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day weekends. Pettit, of Salinas, won the Memorial Day event, as well. Even so, he holds only a narrow two-and-a-half point lead (101-98.5) over Greg Potts of Manteca. Passing points-one-half for each spot gained-play an important part of the Tri-Holiday scoring. Pettit has started second in both events, while Potts has moved up from his starting position four and five spots, respectively.

Starting outside on the front row of a 20-car field, Pettit jumped in front of fast qualifier Jeff Belletto of Modesto on the first lap and was never headed. It wasn’t really that easy, however, as the battle for positions behind him was hard fought. When the first yellow was displayed on lap-10, the eventual winner was trailed by Ron Strmiska, Jr. of Manteca, two Bellettos-Papa Harry and Jeff-and Potts. The caution flags were limited (only five) with a third on lap-25 when C.J. Jahnke of Reno stalled between turns one and two. At that point, the top three of Pettit, Strmiska and Harry Belletto was still the same but fourth and fifth were occupied by Dave Byrd of Pacific Grove and David Philpott of Tracy.

The field ran off 37 laps with Pettit cocooned in front while the battle behind was hell bent for leather. Byrd moved to third on lap-46, with Philpott moving to fourth one go-round later. A major crash involving Stockton’s Brent Seitz and Jesse Apodaca of Ceres brought out a red flag on lap-63. The two got locked together and slammed into the turn-three exit gate. Fortunately, neither was injured.

With 12 of 20 cars still running, only one minor yellow slowed the pace when Brad Johnson of Gardnerville, Nevada and Strmiska, Jr. bumped on the front stretch. Byrd took advantage and passed Strmiska for second. The race trouble free the rest of the way with Byrd applying pressure to Pettit over the final 15 laps. Pettit held on to pocket the $2,000 first place money, followed by Byrd, Potts, Philpott and Harry Belletto. Byrd’s second place effort was his best since rejoining the Tim Gillit owned Conti Brothers Trucking sponsored Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Second place was worth $1,500 of the $14,000 purse.

Separate from the Tri-Holiday scoring, the seventh-place finish of Steve Belletto enabled the Stockton 99 Late Model point leader to retain a 32-point (320-288) lead over Strmiska, who ended up sixth. Pettit is third, another 12 points in back of Strmiska.

Cary Treadway had another red letter day in the Pro Stock division. The Stockton driver improved upon his own track qualifying record, knocking the new division standard down to 15.018. He also registered his fourth sweep of the season-fast time, dash win and feature triumph. His fast time was his sixth in 11 events. The dash win was his seventh and the main his eighth of the season.

While Treadway’s effort was impressive, so was the third-place run by Jerry Crawford of Stockton. While warming up tires prior to the start, Crawford lost control and hit the turn-three retaining wall and in the process collected Ed Cullom of Lockeford and Scott Hoffman of Tracy, as well. Neither Cullom nor Hoffman could continue, but Crawford, with his car looking like a refugee from a destruction derby, managed to start at the back of the 13-car field.

Mike Garcia of Lodi led early in the 30-lapper. On lap-five, it was Garcia, fellow Lodi pilot Scott Chappell, Doyal Moen of Modesto, Robert Knittel of Lodi and Treadway. By lap-seven, Treadway had moved to third with Crawford fifth. Crawford moved to fourth three laps later with Chappell, chased by Treadway, passing Garcia for the lead one lap later. Crawford came to third on lap-15 and Treadway passed Chappell for the top spot on lap-22.

At the finish, it was Treadway, Chappell, Crawford, Garcia and Joe Hylton of Manteca. Treadway’s season point lead is now 78 (620-542) over Chappell with Hylton another nine points back in third.

A 34-car field of I.B. Benedict Pure Stocks was trimmed down to 20 for their 30-lap feature. Jeff Ahl of Lodi led the opening lap but quickly gave way to dash winner Joe Stearns of Stockton on the second go-round. The race was red-flagged just past the halfway point when Danny Guibor of Manteca got turned around off turn-four. While avoiding the spinning Quibor, Cindy Quarnstrom of Lodi got into the back of Ahl with Ahl ending up facing the wrong way against the front straight wall. Chris Mays of Stockton collided head-on with Ahl just under the flag stand. While both escaped injury, it took a while to remove the carnage.

On the ensuing re-start, six-time feature winner Guy Guibor of Manteca moved to second and began to pressure Stearns at the front. Stearns developed a water leak that necessitated his being black-flagged. That opened the way for Guibor to breeze home with his seventh main win on the season. Guibor was followed to the checkered flag by Arron Shankel of Lodi, Stockton drivers Doug Lane and Jeff Lovelace, and Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs.

The two Guibors continue to occupy the top two spots in the season point battle. Guy leads brother Danny by 22 (620-598) with Bolin another 12 back in third.

Fireworks will be busting out all over at NASCAR-sanctioned Stockton 99 Speedway this coming  Monday as part of a 4th of July weekend...

Monday, July 3, Indy 500 participant Davey Hamilton highlights a USAC Midget program sponsored by C.L. Bryant 76 Racing Gasoline that also includes Legends and a 100-lap Grand American Modified main event. The program will conclude with a huge fireworks show.

Ticket gates for both events will open at 3:00 p.m. with qualifying set for 5:00.

Adult tickets will cost $18; $12 for students age 13-17 and seniors over 65; six dollars for children six-to-12 with those under six getting in free.

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



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