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Beeler finishes second, takes checkered flag

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POSTED August 26, 2009 6:11 p.m.
Salida’s Mike Beeler seemed to play second fiddle throughout last Saturday‘s 60-lap Western Late Model feature at Stockton’s 99 Speedway, but he eventually ended up with the last laugh.

Starting in the front row, Beeler was eye witness to Mike Wendt’s incredible start as the Lodi driver immediately jumped into the lead on the opening lap from his second row position. Wendt would experience a mechanical failure on lap 22, allowing Tracy’s David Philpott to take over the top spot.

Beeler tried desperately for the remainder of the race to catch the former two-time track champion, but his efforts were in vain as Philpott took the checkered flag for what would have been his seventh win of the year.

Unfortunately, Philpott failed the post-race inspection and was disqualified, giving Beeler his third win of the season even though he never led a lap during the entire race.

After starting the season deep in the Grand American point standings, Tracy’s Scott Winters reeled off nine consecutive victories to move to within two slim points of Salida’s Michael Ostrowski for the season lead. Winter’s bid for a 10th consecutive win fell short when he broke while leading the race on lap 24 and was forced to the pits for the night.

Rio Linda’s Mike Regelman inherited top spot and held on for his first win of the season over Ostrowski.

This Saturday night the Stockton 99 Speedway will present “Poker Run Night” with the NorCal Vintage Hardtops-North & South All Star Shootout, USAC Ford Focus Midgets, Street Stocks, Mini-Stocks/Mini-Trucks and Basically-4-Cylinders.  Also, fans can feast on 99-cent hotdogs all night long!

Madera Speedway

It will be a very special evening of racing this Saturday night at Madera Speedway as the track hosts Race and Ride for Autism Night, presented by Carlos Vieira Racing. The NASCAR Whelen All American racing Series program will feature the Western Late Models in a 100-lap main event plus the American Limited Stock Cars, Modified Super Toyotas, Toyota Sedans and Hornets.

The program will also include a Motorcycle show featuring several classes including Harleys and Choppers. Anyone with a motorcycle is welcome to participate.

“I would love to see a day where racers throughout California come together, not only to enjoy racing against great competitors but also for them to know that they are supporting such a great cause,” Vieira said. “For the fans not only will they be helping families living with Autism by attending, they will also have an opportunity to see some of the best motorcycles throughout California and watch a great night of racing.”

Vieira is getting his wish as the field for the Western Late Model feature is shaping up to be the biggest and most competitive of the 2009 season.

Over 25 cars have already been confirmed including those of Modesto’s Kyle Gottula who leads in the 2009 Madera “Chase for the Championship” standings, third generation driver Ross Strmiska of Stockton, fan favorite Dave Byrd of San Jose and 16-year-old rookie sensation Jake Gomes of Manteca.

NHRA drag racing star Ron Capps, the driver of the Don Schumacher Racing NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Nitro Funny Car, will also be racing at Madera this Saturday in a specially prepared Western Late Model car by Carlos Vieira Racing. Capps, of Carlsbad, has amassed 30 Nitro wins in his NHRA career including five in 2009 and he currently sits second, behind Tony Pedregon, in the Funny Car point standings.

Two dollars from every ticket sold will be donated by Madera Speedway to help families with Autism. Main event racing will kick off about 7 p.m.

Merced Speedway will be hosting its regular IMCA show on Saturday and Chowchilla Speedway will be featuring the Western Modifieds in a five division show.

Scott Speed

After earning his fifth top-10 qualifying run of his rookie season, Manteca’s Scott Speed, found himself fighting to stay on the lead lap in last Saturday’s Sharpie 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

After receiving his second “lucky dog” lap back under the ninth of 11 cautions the No. 82 team played it smart, and Speed charged from 22nd to 15th at the checkered for his second-best finish of his brief Cup career (fifth at Talladega in April).

“We had to work to get that lucky dog twice, and we raced guys really hard,”
Speed said. “When you are out there racing guys like Carl Edwards, I consider
myself a lot closer to an equal to these guys now. It’s great to come back to these
tracks a second time with that experience and it’s really paying off for all of us.”

Next up for Speed and his No. 82 Red Bull Toyota will be the Pep Boys Auto 500 this Sunday, September 6th from Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast on ESPN beginning at 4 p.m.

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

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