STOCKTON — Parlaying the pole position with a dominant car Ty Carlson, age 21 of Manteca, roared to a career first win in the Stockton Late Model feature at the Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday night.
Carlson only qualified sixth, but the invert draw put him at the front of the quality 12-car field. He used the pole to maximum advantage by grabbing the lead on the opening lap over Dennis Byers of Stockton.
While Carlson held down the top spot a variety of calamities befell many of the contenders behind him causing eight yellow-caution periods during the ragged 35-lap race.
Chad Holman, of Salida, started things off by going for a spin on lap 8. Three laps later Byers and Stockton’s Pete Anderson tangled up which sent them to the back of the pack while Gary Shafer Jr., the winner of the two previous late model races, was forced to the pits with a flat tire. One lap later Shafer, of Stockton, would hit the turn No. 1 wall putting an abrupt end to end his bid for a three-peat.
Adam Coonfield, of Modesto, was briefly able to wrestle the lead away from Carlson after a lap 13 caution restart, but Carlson would return the favor five laps later following yet another caution.
Carlson, who was almost untouchable when the race was under green, would survive a couple more restarts to take a hard-earned victory. Season points leader Larry Tankersley, of Stockton, padded his lead by finishing second while Coonfield, Holman and Roseville’s Justin Lovelace completed the top five.
“This is surreal to finally get my first win,” exclaimed Carlson. “We had to thrash all week just to get the car ready and it was great tonight. It just rolled through the corners.”
The seven-car Grand American Modified feature was also a messy race.
On lap 25, pole sitter Aaron Coonfield, of Modesto, and John Arrington, of Tracy, collided which put an end to Coonfield’s night. Two laps later Arrington was again involved in an incident, this time with Rio Linda’s Eric Price, which left them both parked in the infield.
Robbie Knittel, of Lodi, assumed the top spot on the lap 26 restart as Sam Solari, of Salida, gave chase.
Solari would get under Knittel going into turn No. 3 on the following lap in a bid to take the lead. Solari pushed up coming out of the turn forcing Knittel hard into the wall.
The race went red for an extended period as Knittel was extracted from his car and taken to the hospital with a sore neck.
“I slid into him and then another car got into me. It was just hard racing,” said Solari, who was disqualified for causing the accident. ”I expected to get sent to the back, but not sent off for the night.“
With only two cars left on the track, the race was shortened to a five-lap shootout in which Rio Linda’s Kris Price easily outpaced Placerville’s Scott Alves for the win.
“We had a good car, but we needed to get track position to take advantage of it,” explained Price. “We have been knocking on the door so it felt good to finally get one.”
The 25-lap Bomber main was tame by comparison as John Medina, of Galt, would grab the lead on lap 7 and cruise to his third win of the year well ahead of Stockton’s Rick Roberts and Manteca’s Robert Dueck.
“That wasn’t as easy as it looked,” Medina said with a laugh. ‘We worked on the car all week literally from 10 in the morning until ten at night after we blew our motor last race.”
Stockton’s Dave Kong had an even easier time in the B-4s. He passed Billy, Rodriguez, also of Stockton, on lap 3 and never looked back to take their 20-lap main.
The Stockton 99 returns to action on Saturday, Aug. 6, with a special open-wheel program featuring the King of the Wing Sprint Car Series, BCRA Midgets & Vintage Midgets, Legends of Kearney Bowl and San Jose Super Modifieds.
To contact Dale Bosowski email email@example.com.