STOCKTON — Lodi’s Aaron Shankel managed to survive a myriad of crashes and yellow-caution periods before outdueling rival Ty Carlson in the closing laps to win the 30-lap feature for the Late Models at the Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday night.
Carlson, age 22 of Stockton, and Dennis Byers, the defending track champion who also hails from Stockton, led the strong 15-car field to start the main.
The pair would spar for the lead throughout the first 20 laps, often swapping the top spot following the numerous restarts due to a variety of spins and crashes.
Shankel, who had started in the second row, was finally able to claw his way past Byers for second following a restart on lap 20.
As Byers slowly began to fade the race became a two car shootout between Carlson and Shankel. Shankel was able to power past Carlson after a prolonged battle following the eighth and final yellow-caution of the race on lap 26.
Carlson would spin out on the final lap, spoiling his fine effort, allowing Stockton’s Jeremy Tucker and Modesto’s Chris Lyons to fill out the top three.
“We were fighting a push all night and the car finally came in near the end,” Shankel said. “I think Ty had it if it was not for the cautions, but we were in the same boat a couple races back so I guess it evens out.”
The hard earned victory was sweet revenge for Shankel after Carlson had nipped him for the win in the closing laps of the previous race three weeks ago.
Afterward Shankel had nothing but praise for his young rival.
“I have total respect for Ty. He always races clean and is such a class act. He got into me in the late going and he checked up a bit until I could gather the car back in. Most drivers would not do that.”
Ben Lewis, of Stockton, has been the dominant force in the Bomber division this season and it looked as though he was on his way to his third straight win when he grabbed the lead of the 30-lap main after starting from the pole in the 17-car field.
However, by lap 7 he found himself in a dogfight with Stockton’s Kimberly Rouse, who had worked her way up to the front after starting in the second row. The two drivers would joust for the lead throughout the remainder of the race.
Rouse was able to get inside of Lewis as the two battled side by side in the final laps. They were dead even coming out of the final corner before Rouse was able to inch ahead to take the green flag by less than half a car length.
“This feels great. My car was a little loose and I was doing everything I could to hold it down and I was just able to hold him off at the end,” explained Rouse, who picked up her first victory of the year.
Roseville’s Dustin Lovelace finished third and Joey Sarafin, Kimberly’s hubby, finished in fourth despite spinning on the final straight and coming across the line backwards.
Brothers Kris and Eric Price, both of Rio Linda, once again fought it out for the win in the 6-car Grand American Modified 20-lap feature.
Kris seemed to have the upper hand by holding the inside lane until he made a slight bobble coming out turn #4 of lap 17. Eric seized on the opportunity by diving under him to snare the lead which he held on to over the final laps to take his first win of the season
“All day he was bad fast and I really had my hands full,” said Eric. “I used a lot of the car up trying to chase him down and when he pushed up I was able to throw a move on him and it stuck.”
Alden Phillips, age 11 of Atwater, got the opening lap jump on Napa’s Aaron Thomas and held him at bay for the entire 15-lap Mini Cup feature to capture his first victory of the season.
Racing returns to the 99 Speedway on Saturday, May 20, with the first round of the annual Tri-Holiday Classic featuring the Pacific Challenge Series Late Models. The Stockton Late Models, Bombers and Legends of the Pacific will also be on the program.
Manteca native Scott Speed
wins at Memphis International
Two-time defending Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) Scott Speed claimed his first win of the new year in the Saturday, April 29, season opener at Memphis International Raceway.
The Manteca native, driving his No. 41 Oberto Circle K Volkswagen Beetle GRC for Andretti Autosport, started from the pole in the SuperCar class and led the race wire to wire, beating out teammate Tanner Foust and Steve Arpin.
It was the 12th career victory for Speed, making him the all-time leader in GRC. Competing in his fourth season Speed has also recorded 51 heat race wins, 28 podiums, three X Games gold medals and two back-to-back championships in GRC competition, in addition to his wins.
“Being the winningest GRC driver in history is a great stat, but those wins are all part of having a great team,” said Speed, age 34. “The whole Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team just worked this offseason and when we wanted to stop we worked some more. When you show up to the first race and you put this kind of performance down, it just makes all that work worthwhile.”