STOCKTON — The Gun Slingers Winged Sprint Car Series was finally able to make its weather delayed season debut on Saturday night at the Stockton 99 Speedway.
The thundering cars, which are powered by 360 or 410 cubic inch engines and race throughout the western US, did not disappoint the fans in their 40-lap main.
Audra Sasselli, of Selma, earned the pole position for the 11-car field by taking the dash earlier in the evening. She would maintain the top spot through the first half of the race while Eric Humphries, of Chowchilla, patiently worked his way up to second place after starting the race in sixth.
Sasselli, however, had no defense for Humphries when he swooped under her and into the lead going into turn #1 on lap 21.
“The car took a little time to come in, but that is how we tried to set it up,” explained Humphries, following the race. “The car was just spot on tonight.”
AJ Russell, of Clovis, would also get past Sasselli two laps later, but despite a couple of late race yellow-caution restarts, he could never mount a serious challenge to Humphries.
“He was just so good on the restarts. I was trying every trick in my book, but he was just so spot on that I could not make anything happen.” said Russell.
Winton’s Gordon Rodgers would finish in third as Sasselli faded to fourth and Jerry Kobza, of Folsom, rounded out the top five.
Humphries was thrilled to win the inaugural Gun Slingers race at the 99 Speedway.
“When I was a little guy I spent a lot of time here watching Harry Belletto, Ron Stmiska, Johnny Brazil and all the greats race here,” Humphries said. “I have also put in a lot of laps in the late models so running back here is so fun. This is my home.”
The Gun Slinger Sprint Car Series will return later this season to headline three Saturday night programs on June 16, July 14, and Aug. 11.
Joshua Cross, of Manteca, started from the pole of the 25-lap B-4s feature, but he was quickly overtaken by Allen Flowers, also of Manteca.
Flowers would easily maintain the lead for the remainder of the event, which went caution free, to post his first career victory over Stockton’s Barrett Sugden and Cross.
“This is only my second race so it is excellent. What a great feeling,” said the happy Flowers. “I knew I had the lead so I was trying to figure how far I was ahead, stay calm and not over drive the car.”
The Grand American Modifieds also made their 99 Speedway season debut on Saturday.
Nick Lyons, of Loomis, set fast time, won his heat, the dash and led all 15 laps of the Modified main in a flawless performance.
The 99 will be back in action next Saturday, May 19th, with the Stockton Late Models featured on a four division card which also will include the Bombers, B-4s and Mini Cups.