The Stockton 99 Speedway closed out the regular season for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series last Saturday night.
Fan favorite Dave Byrd, the veteran driver out of Seaside, led the first half of the 150-lap Western Late Model feature before succumbing to Roseville’s Eric Schmidt following a caution. Byrd refused to give up without a fight as he nipped at Schmidt’s bumper until finally pulling along side of him on lap 138.
Unfortunately, the two touched and although they were both able to regain control of their cars, their bobble allowed Tracy’s Justin Philpott just enough room to slip by and pick up his second win of the season. Byrd was able to hang on to second while Modesto’s Jeff Belletto moved up to third at the checkers to clinch the 2011 track championship
The title was well deserved as Belletto posted eight wins and 16 top-fives in 17 starts this year.
Turlock’s Wes Miller took the Grand American Modified championship in style by grabbing his fifth win and eighth top five finish in eight starts this season; Stockton’s Rompin’ Rich Harper picked up a wire-to-wire win in the Super Stock race while Hughson’s Mike Graham locked down the season title with a sixth place finish and Stockton’s Jeremy Tucker nabbed in sixth win of the season and the 2001 crown in the Bomber division.
While the regular season at the 99 may be in the books, the season is far from over. The Watermelon Bash Enduro is up next on Saturday, Oct. 1, and the two-day Fall Classic returns on Oct. 8 and 9.
The Saturday portion of the Fall Classic will feature the Vintage Hard Tops, NCMA Sprints, Pro-4 Modifieds, Mini Trucks and Mini Cups while the Sunday racing will include Western Late Models, Grand Ams, Super Stocks, Bombers and Basically-4s.
Gomes to race in Madera
Madera Speedway will be hosting the popular Spears SRL Southwest Tour this Saturday, Sept. 24 for 140 blistering laps around the tricky 1/3-mile race track in the Mike Roos Memorial. The program will also include a fireworks display, nitro lawn mower races, and championship night for the local stars with triple points being awarded.
With only three races remaining on the 2011 SRL schedule, veteran MK Kanke of Frazier Park holds a narrow 1,170 to 1,129 lead over 18-year-old Manteca sensation Jacob Gomes. Veteran Jim Pettit II of Seaside sits just behind them with 1122 points while Derek Thorn and Manteca third generation driver Ross Strmiska round out the top five.
Madera will conclude the 2011 season with the 5th Annual Pumpkin Smash Halloween Bash and Blow up featuring the Late Model Open, Hobby Stock Open, 4-Banger Open, 150 lap Enduro, Destruction Derby and Boat Drags on Oct. 22.
Season finale in Merced
Merced Speedway will host its final points race of the season on Sunday September 25th. The double point’s event will include the UMP Dirt Modifieds, Wingless Sprints, Super Stocks, Hobby, Valley Sportsman and 4-Bangers.
Merced will draw the curtains on the season the following Sunday October 2nd by hosting the final leg of the Western All Star Late Models and Dirt Modifieds. The first leg will take place the night before in Antioch.
Scott Speed update
Manteca’s Scott Speed continues to struggle in his return to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in the No. 46 Ford for the Whitney Motorsports team. After seven races his best finish was in 32nd at the AdvoCare 500 in Atlanta earlier this month.
The Sprint Cup series will be making one more western appearance this season when it returns to Phoenix International Raceway on November 11-13 for the Subway Fresh Fit 500.
To contact Dale Bosowski, email email@example.com.