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Stockton 99 and Madera close seasons Saturday

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POSTED September 23, 2009 11:43 p.m.
Both the New Stockton 99 and Madera Speedways will be closing their regular season schedules this Saturday night.

It will be Fan Appreciation Night at the 99 with the "Whelen All American Series Final Points Night" featuring the Western Late Models in a 99 lap feature plus the Grand American Modifieds, Street Stocks, Bombers and USAC Ford Focus Midgets. Although Justin Philpott, age 19 of Tracy, holds an all but insurmountable 100 point lead over his father and former two-time track champion David Philpott in the Western Late Model class, with double points on the line there is still plenty of drama left in the other divisions.  Tracy’s Scott Winters holds just a 22 point edge on Salida’s Mike Ostrowski in the Grand American Modifieds and Lodi’s Jeff Ahl clings to an 18 point advantage on Riverbank’s Aaron Coonfield in the rough and tumble Street Stocks.

Fans heading out to the 99 this Saturday will also be able to gorge themselves on 99 Cent Hotdogs all night long. The grandstands will open at 3:00 PM and main events will begin at 6:00 PM.

Both the special “HotWood 333” Series and the NASCAR track championships for the Western Late Models will be decided in this Saturday’s 111-lap feature at Madera Speedway. Second generation driver Kyle Gottula, of Modesto, holds a narrow lead in both battles as he guns for his eighth win of the season on Saturday.

In addition, four other 2009 divisional champions will be crowned at Madera on Saturday. The grandstands will open at 4:00 PM and the main events are scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM.

Chowchilla Speedway has two dates remaining on its regular season schedule including this Saturday when the Western Modifieds, Super Stocks, Hobby Stocks, NCMA verses Spec Sprints and an Enduro will all be on tap.

Manteca’s Jacob Gomes, age 16, has earned the inaugural NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year Award presented by Jostens. Gomes won three Western Late Model features at the New Stockton 99 Speedway. He has also competed at All American Speedway in Roseville and Madera Speedway this season.

“When we started the season, I wanted to do the best I could and try to win the national rookie of the year award. I thought it would be pretty cool,” Gomes said. “I’ve been pretty anxious about it the last couple of weeks.”

Gomes is the first driver to win the newly-created NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Rookie of the Year Award which was open to first-time feature division NASCAR license holders. The best 18 finishes counted toward the rookie competition. Gomes’ combined 18-race record at all three tracks was three wins, 14 top fives and 18 top tens.

Although just a Junior at East Union High School in Manteca, Gomes has been racing half of his life. Originally interested in racing from going to tracks and watching his father, Paul, work as a crew chief and mechanic on race cars, Gomes first raced in “Box Stocks,” a go-cart type division at age eight. He moved up to Mini Cup cars, which are ½ scale stock cars at age 10, before advancing to the 2/3 scale Baby Grands at age 14.

Making the move up to a Western Late Model was a challenge for Gomes, but he has proven to be up to the task.

“We tested twice at Madera before the season opened, and I was concerned about how I was going to do,” Gomes said. “Once I got used to the weight of the car, I could learn to drive it.”

Gomes has already set a goal to enter some NASCAR Camping World Series West events in 2010.     

“I’m trying to make my way through NASCAR-sanctioned divisions and try to work my way up,” Gomes said.  

The NASCAR Camping World Series West heads to All American Speedway in Roseville this Saturday, September 26th for the Toyota/Copart 150, presented by Golden State Steele & Stair, to decide the 2009 championship in the final race of the season.

Ontario’s Jason Bowles (No. 6 Sunrise Ford), who finished second to Escalon’s Eric Holmes (No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota) in last year’s title chase, holds a 78-point advantage over Holmes in the current 2009 standings and can clinch this year’s championship with a finish of 16th or better on Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to the race at All American Speedway; a track that I have had a lot of success at,” said Holmes, who has posted wins in two of the three previous races at the 1/3 mile speedway. “It’s a great event for the fans and the teams.”

Holmes has three wins and six top-five finishes in 13 races this season and despite his long odds, is not throwing in the towel on the 2009 championship just yet.

“I can’t wait to strap into the No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota and see how this championship battle ends,” said Holmes. “I know we can still win it because just like last year, anything can happen on this tight 1/3-mile short track.”

The race is scheduled to air on SPEED at noon PT on Thursday, October 8.

Manteca’s Scott Speed will once again be doing double duty this weekend at the “Monster Mile” in Dover, Delaware where he will be racing his No. 82 Red Bull Toyota in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA 400 (10:AM on ABC) and Michael Waltrip’s  No. 99 Red Bull Toyota in the Nationwide Series Dover 200 on Saturday (noon on ESPN2).

Speed picked up his career first NASCAR victory at Dover when he won the Camping World Truck Series event in May of 2008.

To contact Dale Bosowski, e-mail

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