By DALE BOSOWSKI
Special to the Bulletin
STOCKTON — The Strmiska family did not elect to compete in Saturday’s Stockton Late Model race until late Wednesday, but their late week decision paid off as Manteca veteran Guy Guibor cruised to his second win of the season.
Guibor started from the second row in the 13-car field and grabbed the lead from pole sitter Larry Tankersley, of Gridley, after a yellow-caution restart on the fourth lap of the 35-lap main.
He never looked back after that finishing well ahead of Tankersley and third generation driver Justin Philpott, of Tracy, in the caution free race.
“That was about as smooth a race as you can have,” said Guibor. “After I got the lead on the restart, I got clear and just paced myself.”
Philpott, a former two-time track champion, who entered the night with a 16 point lead over Stockton’s Gary Shafer Jr. in the battle for the 2019 track championship, was satisfied with the result.
“It was a clean race and we didn’t tear anything up so it was a good night,” reasoned Philpott. ”And we gained a couple of points on Shafer.”
Philpott, whose father David is also a two-time 99 Speedway track champion, admitted he is thinking about winning a third track championship.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t. It would mean a lot to win a third championship. It shows the dedication and love my whole family has for the sport and this track,” explained Philpott. “And it would be really cool to have a leg up on my dad with three!”
Sebastopol’s Cody Winchell and Upper Lake’s Jeremy Doss started the 15 car Legends of the Pacific feature in the third row, but the pair quickly made their way to the front where they fought it out for the win over the remainder of the 35-lap event.
Winchell took the lead on lap 13, holding off Doss while navigating through lapped traffic for his second win of the season.
“That may have been the hardest race I have ever had,” said Winchell. “It was hot in the car and I was worried about Doss the whole time. Every time I looked in my mirror he was right there.”
A season high 20 cars lined up to take the green flag for the 30-lap B-4 main, but the night belonged to Manteca’s Josh Cross, who started on the pole and led the race wire-to-wire for his 4th win of the season.
Manteca’s Dave Kong chased Cross the entire distance, but he could never get close enough to make an attempt for the lead as Cross deftly maneuvered through several back markers in the closing laps.
“It was a great battle tonight. He (Kong) caught me in lapped traffic so I went into defense mode and took it to the finish line,” said Cross, “I had a couple of real close calls with lapped traffic in the final laps.”
Only three cars showed up for the Grand American Modified race.Unfortunately, the trio tangled up in their Trophy Dash forcing the feature to be cancelled when they were unable to complete repairs.
The Stockton 99 Speedway will next be hosting a big six division program featuring the Gun Slingers Wing Sprint Car Series, Grand American Modifieds, B-4s, NCMA Modifieds, Bombers and Legends of Kearney Bowl on Saturday, Aug.31.
The Stockton Dirt Track, located at the San Joaquin Fairgrounds, will be hosting one of the biggest event of the year as the Champions Classic presented by Katerra, Sunny Valley Meats and Chase Chevrolet, next Friday and Saturday nights, Aug. 23-24.
The event, which honors 60 years of King of the West-NARC 410 Sprint Car Series Championships Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Series, will feature a very special guest, NASCAR Monster Cup Superstar and former Sprint Car Champion Kyle Larson.
Larson, an Elk Grove native, has notched 17 wins over the last six seasons in the NASCAR Monster Cup and Xfinity Series driving primarily for Chip Ganassi Racing. Larson currently sits 11th in the 2019 Monster Cup standings.
There are several ticket options available for race fans next weekend including camping, pit passes, a meet & greet with Kyle Larson and a $10 breakfast special on Saturday.
See the Stockton 99 Speedway website at www.stocktondirttrack.com or call 916-370-9417 for additional details and reservations.
Also the 33rd Annual Goodguys West Coast Nationals Car Show returns to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton on Aug, 23-25.