2002 Schedule Patriotic ceremony opens Stockton 99's program 9/14/2002
CONTESSOTTO TAKES STOCKTON GAM TITLE
9-21-02 BY: JIM SHIELS
Stockton 99 Speedway crowned it’s final division champion this week in the NASCAR/Union 76 Weekly Racing Series presented by DODGE, as Danny Contessotto, #97, of Stockton ran a smooth race to notch his first Grand American Modified title in a point battle that went to the final feature event of the season.
Greg Williams, #4, of Ceres, the fast timer on the night, took the first lap lead with second place point runner Sam Solari of Salida hot on his bumper. A quick yellow on lap-six bunched up the field and Solari jumped to the lead as two more yellows fell on laps seven & nine. The ninth lap ‘cool it’ flag started the downhill slide for third place point runner Steve Stacy of Stockton as damage slowed his pace from that point on.
Williams, (left), retook the lead and held tight through the final yellow on lap-21 as five cars tangled and spun in turn-two. On the final lap, coming off turn-four, Solari, (below), the night’s dash winner, made a ‘bump & run’ move on Williams upsetting him just enough to get by for the win. Track officials then made a ‘bump & move’ of their own, placing Solari behind Williams on the scoring tape.
Jason Kerby, #13, of Galt finished third ahead of Contessotto who played a safe but steady game heading for the season title. Mike Regelman of Ripon rounded out the top five. Doug Lane,#28, of Stockton notched his second Semi Main victory for the year.
With the season championship already in the hands of Modesto driver Harry Belletto, (left), the HOTWOOD Western Late Model race became a fight for second place points as Wes Miller of Turlock had his car go dead as the pace laps started. Miller was pushed to the pits and quickly followed by Chris Monez of Lodi. Miller quickly slid into the Monez car to protect his lead against two-time feature winner Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs, (right), the third place point runner.
Bob Strandwold and Jeff Belletto, both of Modesto, paced the first lap with the first yellow falling on lap-three as Anthony Swan of Newark spun in turn-three. Strandwold and Belletto both found themselves against the #2 wall on lap five with Jeff’s Dad Harry being blamed by officials for aggressive driving that sent him to the rear with the other two as Eric Seely, #62, of Modesto presumed the lead. Bolin took the front spot on lap-seven with Miller already to third from his last place start. Miller came to second on lap-12 with fast timer and dash winner Harry Belletto already back to 5th by lap-14.
A final yellow on lap-25 came as Scott Chappell of Lodi had a tire fly off from a busted rim allowing the leaders to group up and giving heat winner Miller the chance to shoot by Bolin for his third victory of the year. Two of Miller’s three wins have come in borrowed cars, proving his ability to make a car work.
Harry Belletto finished third ahead of Strandwold, and Seely. Jerry Crawford, #75, of Stockton won the other heat.
The Pure Stock division feature was over in a heartbeat as the 20-car field ran non-yellow for 30-laps with Joey Stearns, (left), of Stockton in control from pillar-to-post. Second place fell to Tom Bolin of Valley Springs with Fast Timer Michael Wendt of Lodi, #1, (right), finishing third. A much-improved C.W. Davis of Stockton finished fourth ahead of dash winner Chad Holman of Stockton.
The Legends of the Pacific ended their Stockton season with Hank Smedley of Pittsburg leading the first four laps of the 30-lap feature before bowing to fast timer Frankie Winchel, #14, of Sebastapol on lap-5. The dominate driver of the season, Michael Morrissey of Kings Beach,#15n, followed Winchel into second and the two moved off to a private battle of their own leaving the field in their dust. Morrissey took the lead on lap-24 and never looked back to add the feature win to his heat and dash victories on the night. See Final Points.
Richard Appleby of Yountville ran third ahead of heat winner Kelly Martin of Modesto, with Pete Currin of Redwood City rounding out the top five in the event that saw only one minor yellow.
The drivers in the ULTRA-WHEEL Super Trucks might as well have stayed home as Dave Byrd of San Jose took yet another dominate role in the night’s action with a sweep of fast time, a dash win, and his fourth feature win of the five race series at Stockton.
Jeff Womack of Modesto was the early leader with yellows on lap three & four slowing the pace. Joe Locicero of Alamo took charge on lap-six with Byrd already in 4th from his 11th place start. Byrd moved to second on lap-eight and took the lead for good on the 10th circuit as the race ran trouble free to the 40th lap-checkered. Kevin O'Neil of Long Beach finished second ahead of Graeme Blackburn of Santa Cruz, Mike Lay of Fresno, and Todd Miller of Lafayette.
Stockton Speedway concludes it’s regular season events next week with the final leg of the SRL Late Model Wild West Shootout series and a season wrap up for the HOTWOOD Western Late Models. Also on tap will be the Pure Stock Powder Puff event for the gals and the final night of Pro-Four trucks along with FIREWORKS to delight young & old. A 250-lap Enduro is planned for October 5th.