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Flag drops for 2011 season in the Valley

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POSTED March 17, 2011 2:03 a.m.
The winter doldrums are finally coming to an end for four-wheeled racing fans as the green flag is about to unfurl to start the 2011 local racing season.

The New Stockton 99 Speedway will actually combine the kick off of the new season with some unfinished business from last year. The 2010 Fall Classic, presented by Chase Chevrolet, will finally be held this Saturday and Sunday after being postponed due to weather.

The big two-day event will feature the Western Late Models, Grand American Modified, Super Stocks, and Bombers.

After shutting its gates for development in 2006, the legendary quarter-mile track reopened two years ago when French Camp’s Tony and Carol Noceti negotiated a five-year deal with the land owners following the housing market crash in 2009.

There was some good news this offseason when it was announced that the deal had been amended to extend the lease for ten more years, guaranteeing racing at the “Track to Tough to Die” through 2020.

The 2011 Saturday night programs will again reach into mid-October, although there will be a few minor tweaks including a new Premier Division heading up the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series programs.

The Super Stocks will take over for the Western Late Models, which will still run at several events including the Holiday Classic Shows, but on a limited schedule to help cut expenses.

The popular SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series Late Models will be returning for two special dates (June 4 & August 20) and the thundering USAC Sprints and Midgets and NCMA Sprints will be back on several cards.

The New Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, ¼-mile west of Highway 99.  For more information on tickets and times, please contact the Speedway Office at (209)466-9999 or visit their Website at www.stockton99.com.

The 2011 racing season at the Madera Speedway is also set to start this Saturday evening with the Smokey Hanoian Classic presented by Miller Lite. The program will features the LunkerDaddy Late Models in a special 100-lap main event, along with races for the under card classes of the Super Toyotas, Toyota Sedans, and the Hobby Stocks. Plus a special 30 lap race for the 4-Bangers.

Madera will also host two rounds of the SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series Late Models (June 25 and September 24) and six Super Saturday nights featuring the monster 410/360 Modifieds and a variety of other open-wheel classes.

Adult tickets for this Saturday’s opener are only $13, youth 6-12 are just $7, and kids five and under get in for free! Pit gates open at 1:00 p.m.; grandstands open at 4 p.m., with racing action at 5 p.m.

You can check out www.racemadera.com for more information. There has been a central Valley dirt track racing renaissance after it looked like the mud flingers were about to become extinct just two years ago.

The Chowchilla Speedway has become the place to be, under the direction of Madera promoter Kenny Shepherd.

The track will kick off the 2011 racing season this Sunday afternoon, March 19th, with the first UMP dirt Modified event ever held at the 1/3-mile dirt track. Also racing on this Sunday afternoon are the Sport Modifieds, Super Stocks, Hobby Stocks, 4-Bangers and Vintage Super Modifieds!

Chowchilla will host a variety of classes and events, primarily on Saturday nights, all the way to Halloween.

To get to the Chowchilla Speedway, from either Highway 99 or Highway 152 take Robertson Blvd and proceed into downtown Chowchilla and turn onto 5th Street. The track is located at the entrance into the Chowchilla Fairgrounds.

Shepherd has also taken the reigns at Merced Speedway, which will open its season on Sunday, March 27. The Merced Speedway will feature the same classes as Chowchilla with primarily Sunday racing dates.

One very special Merced program to mark on your calendars will be Friday, April 1 when the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars, along with the Western All Stars Late Model Sportsman. Take on California’s fastest 1/4 mile big-banked dist oval.

“We have some very exciting racing to offer the fans in the Central

Valley Market in 2011. Between Madera, Chowchilla and Merced speedways, a fan can see most every form of racing one could wish for,” explained Shepherd. “Fans and drivers will benefit from the stronger schedules and reduced travel time to see big time events.”

The Speedway is located just off Highway 99 at 900 Martin Luther King Way on the Merced County Fairgrounds.

For the latest dirt on Merced and Chowchilla visit the track websites at www.racechowchilla.com and www.racemerced.com.

In the meantime — boogity, boogity, boogity — lets go racing!

To contact Dale Bosowski, e-mail dalebosowski@yahoo.com.
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