The brand new dirt oval at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds drew a packed house of 10,572 ecstatic race fans to the inaugural STP World of Outlaws event on March 23.
Although three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart was the featured attraction, it was Elk Grove sensation Kyle Larson that stole the show.
Larson, who races fulltime on the NASCAR Nationwide Series, made the trek up to Stockton from the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana courtesy of Stewart and his private jet.
Larson got the jump on the field in the main event’s final restart and move through traffic in turns three and four to take the checkered flag ahead of Tim Kaeding.
Although Stewart was only able to muster a ninth-place finish, he had nothing but praise for the new facility built by Stockton 99 promoter Tony and Carol Noceti.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people were here for their first race, and it was a fun event,” Stewart said. “I’ve never been to a place running its first race in which the track ran as smooth as this one. I’ve got a lot of people interested in dirt racing in Fontana who said they wanted to know how this track was, and I’m going to have good things to say.”
The local racing scene shifts to the Stockton 99 Speedway season opener this Saturday, when the popular SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series rolls into town for the Strandwold Brothers “125.”
Defending series champion Derek Thorn, of Bakersfield, took the victory in the SRL season opener three weeks ago at Madera Speedway while Manteca young guns Jacob Gomes and Ross Strmiska finished eighth and 19th, respectively.
Also on this Saturday’s bill will be the Modified Twin Features in which track and state champion Scott Winters of Tracy will be returning with hopes of adding to his eight track championships and 102 main event wins.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, featuring Western Late Model Twin Features, Super Stocks, BCRA Midgets, Basically-4-Cylinders and Mini Cups will kick off the 2013 regular season schedule at the 99 Speedway on April13.