Showing talent and skill way beyond his years, 14-year old Dennis Allen of Lincoln deftly held off three former track champions en route to a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday’s 100-lap Tri-Holiday race for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Western Late Models at Stockton 99 Speedway.
Allen was fast right off the trailer. He used front row starting spot to vault to the lead of the 12-car field on the opening lap of race.
The first 90 laps of the race were relatively tame as Modesto’s Jeff Belletto the 2012 late model champion, Tracy’s Justin Philpott (2009 champion) and Pine Grove’s Matt Scott (2013 champion) continuously jostled for position behind Allen, but there were plenty fireworks over the final ten.
With the race quickly heading towards its conclusion Tim Spurgeon and Stanislov Osterland, of Los Gatos, tangled up with each other to bring out only the second yellow caution of the night on lap 90. The pair took turns spinning each other out causing two more cautions on laps 95 and 97 before race officials warned them to “cool it” or else.
Despite the opportunities afforded by the restarts no one was able to get by Allen as he successfully fended off his challengers through the final ten nerve-racking laps.
“It was a long and really strenuous race,” said the exhausted but happy victor. “They came coming after me hard on those restarts but luck was on our side tonight and I was able to hold them off.”
Scott secured second place when Philpott slipped high in turn 2 on the final restart while Belletto settled for third, hilpott recovered to salvage fourth and Osterland, who finally got the better of his battle with Spurgeon, rounded out the top five.
“Our car was just off a little tonight and we survived the late race mayhem so I am pretty happy to get second,” said Scott, who dove into the pits during a mid race caution to make some adjustments on his car. “I think we went too far the other way when we made those changes but at least we were able to get low and pass some people.”
Philpott, a third generation driver, was also pleased with his night despite his late race setback.
“You can’t win them all and he (Allen) had us from the beginning, “ said Philpott. “He doesn’t have a lot of experience on restarts and he moved us up a bit on the last one causing me to brush the wall, but at least the car is in one piece so it could be worse.”
Youth was also served as second generation driver Colby Potts, age 20 of Manteca, picked up his first win of the season with a very strong drive in the 40-lap Grand American Modified feature.
Starting in the front row along side of Ripon’s Mike Regelman, the pair drag raced side-by-side for three laps before Potts was able to nose into the lead. Potts held on for the remainder of the caution free event to finish just ahead of Citrus Heights veteran Jay Linstroth who was able to slip by Regelman on a late race pass.
“Those guys behind me are fast so I knew I had to be fast but we were well prepared tonight and did exactly what we needed to do,” said Potts. “We were able to get an early lead and string it out enough to get away from them a bit.”
Making Potts drive even more impressive was the fact he was breaking in a brand new race car that had only been completed earlier in the week and tested for the first and only time in Friday night’s practice.
In the night’s other events Lodi’s Mike Wendt lead from start to finish in the Super Stock feature, Tracy’s Mark Borges triumphed in a rough and tumble Pure Stock main and Stockton’s Dave Kong cruised home well ahead of Manteca’s Brad Mast in the B-4 feature.
The 99 Speedway will return to action on Saturday, June 7, with a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program featuring the Pacific Challenge Series Modifieds, Legends of the Pacific, Pro-4 Modifieds, and Pure Stocks.
Scott Speed update
Scott Speed and the brand new Andretti Autosport Global Rallycross team proved to be a formidable combination right out of the gate as the Manteca native cruised to victory in the season opener at Bushy Park Circuit on the Caribbean island of Barbados last weekend.
Speed was quick all weekend. He won two of his three heat races only losing in the third when he was forced to retire early due to a mechanical failure.
Running in third on the first lap of the 10-car final, Speed avoided a spectacular crash between Ken Block and Joni Wiman that brought out a brief red flag stoppage. When the race resumed Speed jumped into the lead and was never challenged as he sailed to the victory over Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan.
“I am really stoked. What a great race,” said Speed. “The very first race for Andretti and Volkswagen and we did it!”
The Global Rallycross season resumes on June 7th in Austin, Texas.