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Gomes takes lead after earning second straight win in SRL

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POSTED June 23, 2011 12:53 a.m.

Manteca’s Jacob Gomes persevered through a cautioned-filled evening to capture the “Mid Valley Iron & Metals 150” for the SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series Late Models last Saturday evening at the Stockton 99 Speedway.

Mike David, of Salida, led the 20-car field to the green flag to open the 150-lap race. David ducked under Sacramento’s Zane Lovelace to take the early lead only to be slowed by the first of the event’s eleven yellow cautions that left the flag man reaching for the Ben Gay.

The final caution came with just five laps remaining when Lovelace went high and former series champion Jim Pettit, of Seaside, attempted to go under him for the lead. Unfortunately, Pettit made contact with Lovelace, causing Lovelace to spin and earning a trip to the back of the pack for the restart by order of the SRL officials.

Gomes inherited the lead on the restart and took it home over the final five laps without further incident, bringing the marathon to a close one hour and 26 minutes after it started!

MK Kanke, of Frazier Park, finished second ahead of Seaside’s David Byrd, Manteca’s Ross Strmiska and Escalon’s Eric Holmes.

It was the second straight win for the 18-year-old Gomes and it moved him into first place in the SRL season standings by a slim 676 to 670 margin over Kanke.

Also in Stockton, young Nic Belletto, of Modesto, notched his first-ever Late Model win in the Western Late Model feature in flawless fashion with an impressive wire to wire run. Following the third generation driver to the finish line were Byrd (doing double duty), Oakdale’s “Slammin” Sam Solari and his uncle Jeff Belletto, the division points leader out of Modesto.

The SRL series will next head to Madera Speedway this Saturday night, June 25, for the “Children’s Hunger Fund 125.” Also on the Madera card will be the ASA Trucks, LunkerDaddy Late Models, Modified Super Toyotas, Toyota Sedans, Hobby Stocks, Legends and 4-Bangers plus a fireworks and a stunt show.

Both Stockton and Chowchilla will be dark this weekend, but dirt track fans will see plenty of action as the UMP Dirt Modifieds head a six division program at the Merced Speedway on Sunday.

There will be plenty of beatin’ and bangin’ when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to the beautiful Sonoma wine country for 23rd consecutive year with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 this weekend.

Forty-four drivers will be attempting to qualify for Sunday’s starting field in 2011 on the twisting 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course for the 16th race on the 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule.

Actor John Ratzenberger, best known for his role of the know-it-all postal carrier Cliff Clavin on “Cheers,” has been named Grand Marshal of the race and give the official command of, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.”

Also, race fans will get to rub elbows with “The King” Richard Petty as well as Bobby Allison and Ned Jarrett, will headline the “Legends in Sonoma” program.

There’s also the “Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200” NASCAR K & N Pro Series West event on Saturday, June 25 where local favorites such as defending series champion Eric Holmes of Escalon and Tracy’s Ryan Philpott will take on the likes of Sprint Cup veterans Joey Logano, David Gilliland and Boris Said.

“The key to winning this race is being ‘patiently aggressive”, said Holmes. ”It’s hard to pass a good car with a good driver at this track. I plan on running up front and will be running hard to bring home the win.”

Despite recording four top-five place finishes in recent trips to Sonoma and earned the pole in 2008 Holmes has yet to win the prestigious event.

“Infineon Raceway is still my biggest race each year,” said Holmes. “I love this track. I have tons of friends and family that come to watch. This race has always been No.1 on my list to win.”

For ticket information, please visit the track’s website at www.infineonraceway.com where several special deals are available. Sunday’s race will be televised live at noon on TNT.

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

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