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3 for 3: Manteca’s Cross wins Mini Stock tripleheader at 99
99 Speedway
Josh Cross of Manteca works his way toward the front of the pack during the Mini Stock division tripleheader this past weekend at 99 Speedway. JESSICA McANELLY/Jessie's Fast Photos

STOCKTON — Defying the odds, Manteca’s Josh Cross pulled off the improbable feat of capturing the victory in all three legs of a Mini Stock division tripleheader at Stockton’s 99 Speedway last weekend.

Starting from the fifth position in Saturday’s 19-car field, Cross patiently worked his way up to second place just behind Vic Theberge, of Citrus Heights, by lap nine of the 25-lap main. Cross, along with Manteca’s Joe Flowers, were both able to slide under Theberge a few laps later after the leader was boxed in while trying to lap a back-marker.

Although he was for pressed by the hard-charging Flowers for the remainder of the race, Cross was able to hold on to earn his first victory of the 2024 season.

“I picked my move when I saw Vic approach a slow car on the straightaway. I feel bad for passing him that way, but I needed this one,” Cross said with a smile. “This win really feels good, because there was a lot of traffic out there and the competition was

99 Speedway
Manteca resident Josh Cross shows off his new hardware after topping the 19-car field in the Mini Stock division Saturday at 99 Speedway. JESSICA McANELLY/Jessie's Fast Photos
really tight tonight.”

After a very short turnaround, Cross was back at the quarter-mile oval on Sunday afternoon where the Mini Stocks were scheduled to run a double main in support of the INEX US Legends Car national qualifying race.

Starting from the pole in the 12-car field, Cross went wire-to-wire in the opening 20-lap event, once again leading Flowers and Theberge to the checkered flag.

“Yesterday (Saturday), we raced in the shade, and today it was in the heat, so we used two completely different setups,” explained Cross. “We were chasing the track all day on Sunday.”

Cross began the second half of Sunday’s Mini Stock doubleheader from the third row, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise when race leaders Jordan Mast, of Manteca, John Sproule, of Rocklin, Theberge and Flowers all became tangled up in an accident just before the mid-race mark. Cross was able to take advantage of their misfortune by maneuvering through the mess, jumping from fifth to first in the process.

Once in the lead, Cross proved to be untouchable as he cruised home ahead of Mast and the hard-luck Theberge to complete his three-peat.

“On Friday after practice, I was hoping just to get one victory, because it has been such a rough start this year,” Cross admitted. “What an exciting weekend. Not many people can say they got three wins in two days.”

With nearly 30 entries cramming the pit area on Saturday in the Legends division, a B-Main was required to pare down the field to a manageable 21 cars for the start in the 35-lap feature.

At the drop of the green flag, Eureka’s Brandon White immediately got the jump on pole-sitter Cody Winchel, of Sebastopol, to grab the lead. That early move would prove to be pivotal, as White spent the remainder of the caution free race snaking through traffic while fighting off numerous challengers — including Huntington Beach’s Robby Czub, Winchel, Tracy’s Branden Ruzbarsky and Ukiah’s Cole Brown — to capture a very hard-earned victory.

“I had a bad-ass car tonight, it was a killer. It seemed like the race had just started, and I looked at the scoreboard on the back straight and it was already lap 30,” White said. “This win means a lot to me because my good friend John passed away recently from a racing accident so this one is for him.”

A total of 25 cars returned on Sunday afternoon for the 50-lap INEX Legends national qualifying race, where Upper Lake’s Jeremy Doss outdueled Brown over the final 10 laps, trading the lead on multiple occasions, to capture the win.

99 Speedway
Larry Tankersley on his way to winning his second race of the season at 99 Speedway. JESSICA McANELLY/Jessie's Fast Photos

Defending track champion Larry Tankersley wasted little time, as he immediately grabbed the top spot from pole sitter Steve Fraser, both of Stockton, on the opening lap of Saturday’s 50-lap Stockton Late Model feature.

Although Stockton’s Ty Carlson, Tracy’s Justin Philpott and Stockton’s JoJo Stearns all went nose to tail behind Tankersley for the entire race, none of them were ever able to mount a serious challenge for the lead, as Tankersley cruised to his second consecutive win of the young season.

99 Speedway
Larry Tankersley takes hold of the first-place trophy after winning Saturday’s Stockton Late Model feature at 99 Speedway. JESSICA McANELLY/Jessie's Fast Photos
“I felt some pressure the whole race, so I knew I had to be on top of my game,” Tankersley said. “We have been racing out here for quite a long time and we have had our hard times, but we have something going right now, and it has been paying dividends and we want to keep it going.”

Brandon Jones, of Lodi, survived to take the win in Saturday’s crash-marred Street Stock feature. Scheduled for 20 laps, the race was mercifully called on lap 12 after four of eight starting cars were sidelined during an endless series of incidents that brought out multiple caution flags.

The Stockton 99 Speedway will next be back in action on Saturday, May 25, with the zMAX Tour Pro Late Model Series West, Mini Stocks, Legends of 99, Grand American Modified and AAA Energy Systems Pro-4 Modified.

Jace Hale, age 13 of Manteca, became the fourth different 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series winner this season with his victory in a 70-lap affair at the Madera Speedway on Saturday.
Hale drew the pole and paced a caution-free opening 33-laps of action before Cam Carraway, of Castro Valley, used the outside line to take over the lead on lap 34, but a caution restart a few laps later allowed Hale to retake the lead.

Hale would remain in front for the rest of the race, fending off a late charge from Carraway for the breakthrough win.