BELLETTO FAMILY PROSPERS AT STOCKTON
(STOCKTON, CA--September 24, 2000)The Bellettos of Modesto ruled the roost at NASCAR-sanctioned Stockton 99 Speedway Saturday night as the point season came to a close with a "double point" 50-lap main event. Jeff Belletto, the youngest of three Belletto participants, stood atop his car with arms raised in victory after picking off his first career feature win. At the same time, his older brother Steve finished third and celebrated his first career season championship joining his father Harry, a two-time champion at the 54-year-old quarter-mile paved facility, who finished eighth, but was ecstatic over his kids success.
Starting on the pole, Jeff took charge right off the get-go as the field ran to the first of only three yellows on the night as Troy Ermish of Fremont slowed off turn-two and headed to the pits on lap-six. The re-start saw Jeff ahead of Dave Byrd of Pacific Grove, his brother Steve, Jim Pettit, II of Salinas and Ron Strmiska, Jr., of Manteca. Strmiska came to third on lap-10 before another yellow flew on lap-14 as Brian Griffitts of Stockton got spun in turn-four.
On the re-start, Pettit moved to second and clung to Jeffs bumper as the pack ran smooth to the 38th circuit before the final yellow fell for a tangle involving John Wood of Walnut Creek and Griffitts. It was a straight shot to the checkered with fast timer and dash winner Pettit unable to overtake the 33-year old front runner. Pettit finished second with Steve Belletto third, Byrd fourth and Strmiska completing the top five.
Jeffs first-career Stockton triumph was good for $1,000; while the third place championship finish by brother Steve earned him an extra $2,500 based on a special bonus system offered by the Speedway. Steve Bellettos season point total was 642 with Strmiska, Jr. second at 609, just five points better than Pettit.
Barry Callouette of Benicia posted his second career win in the Grand American Modified feature as he and Angelo Queirolo of Lathrop swapped leads over the 30-lap run. Queirolo led the first lap from the pole of the 20-car field with already crowned champion Mark Welch of Orangevale coming to second on lap-two. Callouette got past Welch to run side-by-side with Queirolo on the sixth-go round, taking the lead on the next pass as Welch pulled behind him in second.
Following an 11th-lap yellow, Callouette and Welch played games on the re-start and the officials rewarded them by moving the second row forward to give the lead back to Queirolo on lap-12. Callouette was back to second on the next pass and re-took the lead on lap-15, as another yellow fell. Queirolo got he best of the re-start to lead the 16th circuit with another "cool-it" flag falling on lap-18 as Sacramento pilot Jason Philpot got spun by dash winner Sam Solari of Salida.
Callouette regained the lead for the final time on lap-21 and romped home the winner ahead of Queirolo and three Stockton drivers--Steve Stacy, Shawn Wentzel and Danny Contessotto. Welch, who retired from the race with mechanical problems, ended up 15th, but still garnered the track championship over Tony Silva of Sacramento by a safe margin (1144-955).
Joe Hylton of Manteca took the early lead in the Pro Stock feature with Chris Monez of Lodi on his bumper. Chris father Mike, also of Lodi slid to third on the second lap with the first yellow coming out on lap-seven. Another yellow was displayed two laps later as Mike Garcia of Lodi and Chris Monez tangled and slid against the turn-one wall. Hylton still led on the next re-start with Ed Cullom of Ripon coming to second and taking the front slot on the next pass.
Jason White, the nights quick timer, moved to second on lap-11 but was involved in the next yellow on lap-16 as he got into the leader Cullom causing him to spin in turn four with Hylton once again taking control. Hylton self destructed with a solo spin off turn-four on lap-19, handing the lead to Lodi pilot Scott Chappell. Chappell, the nights dash winner, sailed home the victor followed by Jerry Crawford, Mike Monez, Chris Monez and Johnny Berndt of Clements.
Mechanical woes restricted division champion Cary Treadway to an 11th place finish, who finished 67 points in front of Chappell in the final standings (1200-1133).
Pete Anderson Jr. of Stockton recorded a wire-to-wire victory in the Pure Stock class with defending champion and incoming point leader Guy Guibor of Manteca coming to third on lap-three. A yellow fell on lap-five as Stockton driver Joey Stearns spun off the second corner to be hit hard by Chad Holman. The event ran trouble free from that point on with Anderson being chased to the checkered by Tom Bolin of Morgan Hill, Guy Guibor, brother Danny Guibor and dash winner Chris Mays of Stockton.
Guibors season point margin over Tracy Bolin was 91 (1305-1214).
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A purse in excess of $10,000 will be on the line Saturday, September 30, when Stockton 99 Speedway presents a 100-lap "open competition" Grand American Modified event sponsored by C.L. Bryant 76 Racing Gasoline.
Two-time NASCAR region and 99 Speedway champion Mark Welch, former Region and Stockton champion Robert Miller of Gardnerville, Nevada and two-time Roseville All-American Speedway champion Jim Miller are expected to head a field of more than 25 cars.
In addition to the "open comp" event, the program will also include Legends, a Powder Puff Derby for novice lady drivers and fireworks.
Ticket gates will open at 3:00 p.m. with time trials at 5:00 and green flag racing at 6:00.
Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 North Wilson Way, a quarter-mile west of Highway 99.
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