With only two dates remaining on the 2012 schedule for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Weekly Racing Series at the Stockton 99 Speedway, the action in last Saturday’s program took on an added intensity. Not only were weekly bragging rights on the line, but teams in five divisions were battling for both the Tri-Holiday Classic Series and 2012 season championships.
The Basically-4s kicked off the evening’s action with a 10-car field. Manteca’s Joseph Reichmuth was the top qualifier and started out in the race in the seventh spot with the invert. Reichmuth quickly moved to the number two spot and set his sights on leader David Kong.
Although he was able to press Kong over the remaining 25 laps, Reichmuth was never able to get into position for a pass on the leader and was forced to settle for a hard-earned second-place finish as Kong picked up his second win of the season.
With seven wins in 12 starts, Reichmuth still holds a solid 633 to 607 point lead over Kong as he looks to lock up his second consecutive B-4 title in the season finale on Saturday September 15. “It was good race and I gave it my best, but Kong just had a better car tonight. You can’t win them all,” said Reichmuth, who did lock up the Tri Holiday crown for his class. “We are in pretty good shape. I just need to stay within a couple places of Kong.”
There was not a lot of suspense in the Super Stock main as Lake Don Pedro’s Matt Erickson darted past early leader Mike Graham on the sixth lap and never looked back as he cruised to an easy win. Graham was able to get some consolation from his runner up finish by locking up the Tri Holiday title.
The Super Stock season championship is down to three drivers as Jason Aguirre holds a slim 472 to 460 lead over Robbie Knittel and Richard Harper who now trails by just 20 points with 452.
A crowded field of 19 cars took the green flag in the 50 lap Pure Stock feature. Ben Lewis II inherited the lead on lap 15 when leader Brandon Jones of Lodi had to exit into the pits with a mechanical problem. Lewis stayed in front for the remainder of the event while Jones was able to battle back for an amazing fifth place finish to maintain the division points lead by a 520 to 493 margin over Tyler Guzman.
Tracy ace Scott Winters nabbed his ninth win in 16 starts with another impressive run in the caution filled 60 lap Modified feature. Rio Linda pilot Rich Lindgren’s fourth place finish behind runner up Jason Philpot of Sacramento and Rich Potts was good enough to earn him the Tri Holiday crown.
Although he has dominated the season, the 2012 Modified championship is up for grabs after Winters skipped the Modified twin feature event on August 25. As a result, Winters is now clinging to a slim 734 to 726 lead over Nic Romano in the updated standings.
Another large field of 18 cars took the green flag in the 100 lap Western Late Model feature. Defending division champion Jeff Belletto, of Salida, seemed to have everything well in hand when slipped by Pine Grove’s Matt Scott on a lap 15 restart, but as the race wore on Belletto’s tires wore down and Scott was able to retake the top spot. Scott would lose the top spot again on a lap 82 restart when Travis Milburn shot by him and cruised to his first win of the season.
Luis Tyrell also got by Scott to take second while 2010 Late Model champion Justin Philpott, of Tracy, came home in fourth just ahead of the fading Belletto.
Despite his disappointing finish, Belletto holds a solid though hardly insurmountable lead over Scott (676 to 650) with one big race to go.
Although he has four victories this season, Belletto is thinking more about the championship than wins heading in to the final race.
The 99 Speedway will be back in action this Saturday with the 199-lap Watermelon Bash Enduro where there will be more produced destroyed than at a Gallagher show. Also on this Saturday’s card will be Legends of the Pacific Vintage Hard Tops, Pro-4 Mods and USAC Midgets.
The final Whelen All-American Series event of the season will take place the following Saturday, September 15th when five season titles will be on the line including the Modifieds and Western Late Models which will both be going at it in no holds barred twin features.
Andretti Motorsports driver Ryan Hunter-Reay picked up his fourth win of the season in last Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar Grand Prix of Baltimore to keep his championship hopes alive heading into the Saturday, September 15 season finale MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Reay now trails team Penske’s Will Power 453 to 436 in the point standings.
Manteca native Scott Speed finished in 37th in last Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Speedway.
Speed, who recently re upped with the Leavine family racing team for 2013, will make his next start in the Geico 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 16.
To contact Dale Bosowski, email email@example.com.