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Stockton tracks rev up for season
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The Stockton 99 Speedway will celebrate its 68th season of racing action with an 11 event schedule in 2016. The new schedule will highlight the return of the popular Late Model and Grand American Modified divisions and an increased emphasis on local drivers and teams.
The high-banked, quarter-mile paved oval, located at North Wilson Way just west of Highway 99, will again be under the promotional control of the Noceti Group, headed by Tony and Carol Noceti, which has operated the historic facility since it reopened in 2009.
“What we are trying to do this year is to create new local stars and heroes like Ron Strmiska and the Belletto’s again,” Tony Noceti said. “We decided to bring it down a notch and concentrate on our five local racing divisions rather than expensive touring series like the SRL Southwest Tour or NASCAR K&N.”
The Super Stock division has been re-branded as Stockton Late Models, integrating several different engines under one unified rules package. The new Late Models will compete in 10 of the 11 programs this season.
The Grand American Modifieds, a fan favorite division at Stockton 99 throughout the 1990s and 2000s, will also return after a one-year hiatus for eight points paying races. 
“There are a lot of cars sitting in garages in this area and I hope this will bring them out,” Noceti said. “I think our car count will be healthy and they will put on a good show for the fans.”
The popular rock’em, sock’em Bomber division will return for 10 races while the Basic 4-Cylinders will be part of four programs. The young drivers of the future will again hone their skills at the 99 as the California Mini Cups which will make five appearances this season. Manteca’s Jacob Gomes, the reigning 2015 SRL Southwest Tour champion, cut his teeth in the Mini Cups.
The Pacific Challenge Series Super Late Models will be back to headline the traditional three-race Tri-Holiday Series with 100-lap features on May 28, July 2 (for the Ron Strmiska Firecracker 100) and September 3. Last season the Pacific Challenge series produced solid 20-car fields and green flag to checkers action headlining the Tri-Holiday races.
There will be one open-wheel event on the schedule and it is a big one as the powerful King of the Wing Sprint Cars return on August 6th along with mighty BCRA Midgets and Vintage Midgets, Legends of Kearney Bowl and San Jose Super Modifieds. 
“I would like to add a couple of more dates next year, but the days of 26 or so dates are gone,” said Noceti. “Less is more the way the economy is now.”
Racing gets underway at the 99 Speedway on May 14 and concludes with the championship points night set for Sept. 17. A pair of Swap Meets book end the season beginning with the 9th Annual Swap Meet on March 6 and concluding with the Fall Swap Meet on Sunday, Oct. 23.
The 3/8-mile Stockton Dirt Track, located inside the one-mile horse track at the San Joaquin Fairgrounds, also operated by the Noceti Group, will be also be back in action for its fourth season. The dirt season kicks off with a bang as the “Greatest Show on Dirt” the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars returns on Friday and Saturday nights, March 18-19. This year the Outlaws race will get even bigger as 360 Sprint Cars join the monster 410s for a Sprint Car double header each night.
Rico Abreu, the 2016 Chili Bowl champion who will be racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne are some of the stars expected to be racing in the March event.
“This is going to be a great weekend of racing. We are expecting 80 to 100 cars to be at the fairgrounds,” said Noceti. “Tickets and camping sites are already selling fast.”
A special racing program at the adjacent 1/7th mile Delta Speedway will kick off the WoO weekend on Thursday night. Friday night will also have a post-race fan party with meet and greets and live music.
The King of the Wing 410 Sprint Cars will be in for three programs, each honoring a racing legend including a Tribute to Leroy Van Connett on May 21, the inaugural Jimmy Sills Classic on June 18 and the two day Tribute to Gary Patterson Nov. 4-5.
The popular Monster Truck Madness show returns Sept. 30. and Oct. 1, and the Summer Nationals Tractor Pulls will take place on June 17.  The programs for two additional dirt dates have yet to be finalized.
The Noceti Group will also be promoting the San Joaquin Asparagus Festival for its second annual revival at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds April 15-17.  In addition to some great food and entertainment, this year’s festival will include race car displays and a NASCAR driving simulator.
“Last year we raised $150,000 for charities and helped fund the fairgrounds,” commented Noceti. “We are trying to build a place to go for family fun and entertainment. It is for everyone, a people’s festival.”
Despite their ambitious 2016 plans, the Noceti’s continue to work on future projects as well. Next on their agenda is a quarter-mile drag strip to be located at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds which they hope to open in the spring of 2017.
“We’ve been in the back room working hard to bring drag racing back to the area and give people another place to hang out and have fun in a safe and controlled environment,” Noceti said. “We have been very busy bees.”

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