Late Model main filled
with bumping, spins
By Bill Poindexter
Record Staff Writer
Published Monday, March 29, 2004
oversees the Western Late Model division at Stockton 99
Speedway. He saw a mess
flags, one red flag, crashes, sparks, flat tires, dents and
destroyed parts made the season-opening 30-lap main event look
more like a destruction derby.
someone managed to win. Chris Monez, #11, of Turlock blew past Mark
Welch, #23, of Orangevale on a restart on lap 26 and drove to the
"I knew they were
going to throw the green (on the restart)," Monez said. "I
just got the better of the banging."
Others weren't so
lucky. There were multiple spinouts, and most every car had at
least one tire mark on its door.
Weimer to call a meeting of the drivers following the race.
Weimer said he
told the drivers, "It ain't going to happen anymore. You want
to take away lines, we're going to put you on the trailer."
He said it was a
matter of the drivers "not using their heads. They weren't
using their lines, and they were taking lines away from
Mike Garcia, #57, of
Lodi, the No. 1 qualifier, and Pete Anderson Jr., #5, of Stockton
got into a nasty wreck on the second lap. Anderson's car
climbed the wall in turn three. Both claimed there was oil on
"About $5,000 in
damage," said Anderson, whose crew repaired tie rods, shocks
and two wheels and actually got the car back on the track to
finish the race, albeit several laps down.
It started with
Dave Byrd, #9, being tapped from behind and turned into Welch on
the first lap, and the race degenerated into a smash-up derby.
Byrd, who has won multiple track championships, spun more than
a square dancer.
"Nobody wanted to
let up," he said. "I think everybody got me once."
Monez ran up
front for the entire race, yet his car still had its share of
bumps and bruises.
six months off and then tried to win it in every corner," he
Late Model rookie
Gary Shafer Jr. of Stockton, Gary Glenn of Orangevale and Eric
Humphries of Chowchilla also spun out.
SRL Wild West
Napa cruised along behind Phil Perry, #24, of Lincoln, not driving
especially hard to keep up with him but wondering if he could
ever pass him.
But Zampa didn't
have to. Perry, after leading 54 laps of the 100-lap race,
pulled into the infield during a caution period because of a
His day was done,
but Zampa's wasn't. Zampa inherited the lead and never gave it
up in winning the second race in the series.
the victory to his father and former crew chief Ron, who
passed away in April 2003.
"This one is
definitely special. This one's for him," Zampa said. "We
worked real hard to get back to where he was (with the car)."
champion Ron Strmiska Jr. of Manteca was second, Jeff Anthony
of Livermore third, Rick Ruzbarsky of Tracy fourth and Ryan
Foster of Anderson fifth.
off Anthony's challenge for several laps before pulling away,
but he couldn't catch Zampa.
"His car was a
lot better than we were. We were just too tight," Strmiska
said. "We can't complain about second."
champion Floyd Alvis, #18, of San Carlos led from green flag to
checkered flag in the 30-lap feature.
Alvis, 69, didn't
qualify well -- his 14.089-second lap was 14th out of 25
drivers and nearly a
half-second behind pace-setter John Sarale of Stockton -- but he controlled the race until Thomas
Meseraull, #69,, #32, of San Jose made a challenge in the final three
laps. The two bumped tires in one side-by-side battle, but
Alvis hung on to win. Sarale finished third in the main.
Meseraull won a
race Saturday night at Irwindale.
* To reach
assistant sports editor Bill Poindexter, phone (209)
546-8289 or e-mail