SACRAMENTO — The Pacific Challenge Series presented by PenneyLawyers.com will have one of its most coveted races of the year with Saturday’s Ron Strmiska Memorial/Firecracker 100 at Stockton 99 Speedway. The $4,000 to win race will also serve as the second round of the Tri-Holiday Series and is paired with a $2,000 to win, 60-lap Stockton Late Model race along with Grand American Modifieds, Bombers, and Mini Cups.
It all makes up for a big night at the 68 year-old quarter-mile bullring with fireworks capping off the festivities.
Ron Strmiska, Sr. was known as the “Manteca Missile” and for his distinctive pink No. 90 race cars. He won both the 1978 and 1979 Late Model Sportsman track championships and the success transferred to his son Ron, Jr. and grandson Ross as well. Ross Strmiska will be one of many Valley drivers competing against the touring stars of the PCS.
2014 PCS champion Mike Beeler of Modesto is one of those local drivers aiming for success at Stockton. Beeler is winless in 2016 through the first six races of the PCS but has plenty of history at 99.
“Stockton’s a special place,” Beeler said. “A lot of racers have come through that track. It was really neat for me to start racing there 15 years ago. As a youngster I used to go up and watch Ron Sr. Really enjoyed hanging out with them and their family.”
Valley Springs’ Tracy Bolin earned his first career PCS win at Shasta and would enjoy nothing more than to get his second win at Stockton.
“It’s my home track and you always get a lot of action there, so it’s always a fun race,” Bolin. “It would mean a lot to get one there.”
“We’re going to have a lot of fans. The Firecracker 100 is always a popular race,” Beeler said. “The stands will be full...excitement will be high. It will be hot, tempers will fly, and it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Tracy’s Jeff Bischofberger won his first career Super Late Model race when he won the SRL Southwest Tour race at Stockton last year. He hopes to add a PCS victory to the mantle on Saturday.
“I like Stockton a lot. It’s kinda my hometown since I went to high school in Stockton,” Bischofberger said. “I like the concept of the track and the way its laid out. It’s a lot of good fun racing!”
Manteca’s Jacob Gomes has four career PCS starts at Stockton including a win last season. He won the 2015 SRL championship and the 2016 PCS event at Madera in a busy 18 months for the young driver. Roseville’s Eric Schmidt, himself a former Stockton track champ, topped Gomes for the win on Memorial Day weekend at Stockton.
Upperlake’s Jeremy Doss leads the PCS points standings with a win at Ukiah, three runner-up finishes, and a third place effort in the May race at Stockton. Beeler ranks second in the standings ahead of Doss’ teammate Bischofberger with Bolin in fourth. 2015 PCS Rookie of the Year Cole Moore of Granite Bay rounds out the top-five.
Manteca’s JR Courage is sixth in the standings followed by Loomis’ Chris Scribner in seventh. Lodi’s Matthew Wendt won 11 of his final 14 Super Stock starts at Stockton before moving onto PCS. The Super Late Model rookie is up to eighth and ran sixth at Roseville last weekend.
Hayward’s Danny Malfatti and 2015 PCS and Stockton Tri-Holiday Champion John Moore round out the top-10 in the points. Elk Grove’s Mike Hite, Eagle, ID’s Travis Milburn, Modesto’s Kyle Gottula, Stockton’s Colby Potts, and Roseville’s Shannon Mansch are among other drivers expected on Saturday night.
Racing activities get underway Friday night with practice from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Pit gates open at 3. On Saturday pit gates open at 1. with first practices at 3:30. Grandstands open at 5 with racing scheduled for 6. General admission tickets are $20 for Adults, $15 for juniors age 11-15.Seniors 60 and over, and Kids 10 and under are free.
For more information on the Pacific Challenge Series, visit www.PacificChallengeSeries.com or on Facebook and YouTube. More information on Stockton 99 Speedway is available at www.Stockton99.com