STOCKTON — The New Stockton 99 Speedway closed the books on both the 2015 Tri-Holiday Classic and regular racing season under perfect weather conditions on Saturday night.
Upperlake’s Jeremy Doss gained the upper hand in the 100-lap Pacific Challenge Series (PCS) late model feature as he used his front row starting spot to grab the early lead on the 20 car field.
Hot in pursuit of Doss in the early going were a pair of Manteca drivers -Jacob Gomes and Ross Strmiska.
Strmiska’s challenge was short circuited when Granite Bay’s John Moore tried unsuccessfully to get underneath him in turn #2 of lap 10. Both cars spun and were forced to restart the race from the rear of the pack when the race resumed.
“I put a classic crossover move on Strmiska, but I think his spotter was eating a hotdog or something because the spotter didn’t let him know I was there,” joked Moore following the race. “But it did give me the opportunity to hone my passing skills from the back of the pack once again.”
While Strmiska retired 20 laps later with a mechanical issue, Gomes continued to chase Doss past the midpoint in the race when the leaders came up on several back markers on lap 52. Gomes tied to take advantage by nosing under Doss in turn #3, but the two touched causing both cars to pirouette in unison.
Gomes admitted to being at fault over his in-car radio and as a result race control allowed Doss to keep his lead position while banishing Gomes to the rear of the pack when the race went back to green.
“I just overdrove it trying to get around him and hit him,” said Gomes after the race. “I was at fault so I asked control to give him the spot back.”
Mike Beeler, of Salida, became the next hound trying to run down Doss. He was never able to make a serious run at Doss, but he unexpectedly inherited the top spot when Doss pulled into the pits with a terminal front end suspension problem while the track was under a yellow-caution on lap #82.
Beeler made the most of his good fortune by holding the lead to the checkered flag .877 seconds ahead of Reno’s Randy Hedrick, who was making his PCS debut. It was Beeler’s first win of the season and it moved him to within just two points of John Moore in the 2015 PCL points.
“We ran hard all night. The car was not that good in the beginning, but it came around near the end,” said Beeler, the defending PCL champion. “I think we had something for Doss, but I thought it was great when he pulled off.”
Both Moore and Gomes made nice recoveries from their early race woes to salvage third and fourth, respectively, while Folsom rookie Hunter Corbitt rounded out the top five.
“If I had a few more laps I think I might have been able to challenge Beeler,” said Moore, who did clinch the Tri-Holiday crown with his win in the Firecracker 100 and second place finish in the Memorial Day leg. “I have never won this before so it is quite the honor.”
Even though Gomes was disappointed with a fourth place finish, he was pleased with the direction his team is heading of late.
“The last three races have been great. We went to Madera and got second, then won the SRL Tour race here a couple of weeks ago and we had at least a top two car here tonight,” said Gomes. “Darn it. It really sucks though that I hit Doss tonight because we had a great car and he ended up dropping out anyway.”
Legends of the Pacific
The Legends of the Pacific turned into a wild and crash filled event. Scheduled for 35 laps, the race concluded on a checkered-yellow two laps prematurely after the caution flag came out for the eighth time.
Rocklin’s Robby Czub, starting well back in 13th on the 22-car Legends starting grid, spent the first half of the race maneuvering up through the field. He would get to second place on lap 15 and was able to finally get past Sheldon Crause, of Groveland, 10 laps later to take his fifth straight win in the series over Escalon’s Geoff Shaw and Manteca’s Rob “Nasty” Nascimento.
“The car really came in near the end. It started out ok but I kept making adjustments as the race went along and it got rocket fast,” said Czub, who is on a roll, notching his fifth straight Legends win.
Ben Lewis II, of Stockton, battled Manteca’s Chad Holman throughout the second half of the 30-lap, 13-car Super Stock race to earn his second win of the season and the track championship in the competitive division.
“It was really nerve racking racing Holman like that. I honestly didn’t think I would get him,” said Lewis. ”I think that is the closest race I have had in 15 years of racing.”
Kannai Scantlen, of Valley Springs, took the lead with just two laps remaining in the 25-lap Pure Stock main when Stockton’s John Medina slid up the track in turn #2 for his third victory of the season.
“This feels great. We unloaded and we had troubles all day. We didn’t even make the early practice,” explained Scantlen. “I rubbed doors with Medina, he lost control a bit and I was able to get by him.”
Pure stock race,
20-lap Mini Cup
Stockton’s Kimberly Rouse recovered from an early race spin to take third in the Pure Stock race and become just the second female track champion, along with 2004 Pro 4 Truck champion Carrie Miller of Saratoga, in the 66-year history of the 99 Speedway.
“This feels great. It is my first championship,” said Rouse, age 27. “We started the season not really expecting to be racing for points, but at mid-season we realized we had a chance at the championship and it got a lot more exciting.”
Justin Scantlen, Kannai’s son, won the battle in the 20-lap Mini Cup main by going wire-to-wire for the victory, but Andrew Payne, of Fair Oaks, won the war by finishing second to take the 2015 track championship for the class.
Although the 2915 regular season has ended, the 99 will be back in use for a fall swap meet on Sunday, Oct. 25, and the King of the Wings Super Series featuring the Northern Cal Modified Association, Legends of Kearney Bowl Super Modifieds, BCRA Midgets and BCRA Vintage Midgets on Saturday, Nov. 14.
The Stockton Dirt Track, located at the San Joaquin Fairgrounds, will be hosting Monster Truck Madness on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 9-10, and a huge open wheel show, featuring the King of the West Sprint Car Series and Joe Hunt Magneto Wingless Sprint Car Series, on Friday and Saturday, Nov.6-7.