After several years of seemingly constant upheaval, the local racing landscape is relatively unchanged from last season.
The New Stockton 99 Speedway returns to action for its fourth season since being resurrected by Tony and Carol Noceti.
The regular Saturday night programs will again stretch from the end of March through mid-October with the Grand American Modified class as the new Premier Division for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series programs.
Stockton and All-American Speedway in Roseville have teamed up to make this a two-track Series without conflicting race dates which should produce large fields and quality racing.
As always, there will be a diverse list of racing divisions that should satisfy any racing pallet. Leading the way will be the popular Western Late Models, which will once again run “twin” races at several events and be the main attraction in the Tri-Holiday Classic Shows. Other classes appearing regularly will be the Legends of the Pacific, Pro-4 Modifieds, NCMA Sprints, Ford Focus Midgets, Vintage Hardtops, Super Stocks, Bombers, Basically-4-Cylinders, Mini Cups and Enduros.
One date to circle on your calendar will be Saturday, May 5 when the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will make its long awaited return to the Speedway. The series features drivers and teams from the western half of the United States including three-time series champion Eric Holmes of Escalon.
The popular SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series Late Models will be returning in 2012 for three very special dates including the season opener on March 31 plus June 9 and August 18. The SRL series competes across California, Nevada and Utah and features several drivers very familiar with the high banked Stockton oval including defending champion Jim Pettit II of Seaside, San Jose’s Dave Byrd and young Manteca natives Ross Strmiska, Michael Sandoval and Jacob Gomes.
The New Stockton 99 Speedway is located at 4105 N. Wilson Way, ¼-mile west of Highway 99. For more information on tickets and times, please contact the Speedway Office at (209)466-9999 or visit their website at www.stockton99.com.
The 2012 racing season at the Madera Speedway is set to start this Saturday evening with the Spring Fling 250 Lap Enduro and Open Show. The annual Smokey Hanoian Classic will kick off the regular season the following Saturday, March 24, with the LunkerDaddy Late Models along with the Super Toyotas, Toyota Sedans, Hobby Stocks and 4-Bangers.
Madera will once again be hosting two rounds of the SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series Late Models, April 21 and June 30, and six Super Saturday nights featuring the fire breathing 410/360 Modifieds and a variety of other open-wheel classes.
The Madera regular season closes with Championship Night on September 29 and concludes with the 5th Annual Pumpkin Smash Halloween Bash and Blow Up on October 5. You can check out www.racemadera.com for more track information.
Ocean Speedway Inc and John Prentice have taken over the promotion duties at Chowchilla Speedway. The 1/3 dirt oval will run on Saturday nights beginning April 7 and run well into November. There will be a plethora of divisions including Modifieds, American Stocks, Sport Mods, 4-Bangers Dwarfs, Super Stocks, Late Models, 360 Sprints and Wingless Sprints.
To get to the Chowchilla Speedway, from either Hwy 99 or Hwy 152 take Robertson Blvd and proceed into downtown Chowchilla and turn onto 5th Street. The track is located at the entrance into the Chowchilla Fairgrounds. For more info go to www.oceanspeedway.com,
Merced Speedway will open its season on Friday, March 23 and continue its Friday night programs through the beginning of September with programs similar to Chowchilla.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Cars will be returning to Merced on Friday, March 30 to take on California's fastest 1/4 mile big-banked dist oval. Get your tickets early for that one.
The Merced Speedway is located just off Highway 99 at 900 Martin Luther King Way on the Merced County Fairgrounds.
Scott Speed update
Manteca’s Scott Speed, age 28, will be back in NASCAR Sprint Cup for his fifth Cup season in 2012 with Leavine Family Racing for a limited 15-race schedule in the No. 95 Ford.
A veteran of all three of NASCAR's premier national touring series, Speed made 13 Sprint Cup starts with Whitney Motorsports in 2011 driving the No. 46 Ford. Speed has also made 20 starts in the Nationwide Series and 16 starts in the Truck Series over the past four years including a win at Dover in 2008.
Speed began his racing career in Karting at the age of 10. Making his way through the open-wheel racing ranks throughout the West Coast. He was the first American to race in Formula One since Michael Andretti, making his Formula One debut in 2001, making 28 career F1 starts before making the transition to stock-car racing in 2007 with the ARCA Racing Series.
"I am excited to team up with Bob Leavine and his guys at Leavine Family Racing," Speed said. "They have a solid group of guys working on the team and I think it will be a real fun deal. Our goal is to build this race team to become competitive. We know it will be baby steps, but we are all excited to get it rolling."
Speed will make his 2012 Sprint Cup debut at Texas Motor Speedway in the Samsung Mobile 500 on April 14. He is scheduled to be Infineon Raceway for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on June 24th.
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