On Saturday, August 21st, the NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series returned to action in the Race For Autism with the Western Late Models in their 100 Lap Feature. Also on the race card for the event: the Bombers, Mini Trucks/Mini Stocks, Vintage Hard Tops and the Mini Cups.
This Event was huge for the Western Late Models with $300 to start and $3000 to win. Some big names in the sport were on hand the likes of Mike David, Joey Stearns and Jacob Gomes, combined with Speedway Regulars Chad Holman, Michael Sandoval and Zach Huffman, produced some absolutely great racing. This was one night you did not want to miss and the nearly 1500 in attendance proved that simple fact as they were on their collective feet in a massive display of appreciation.
The Western Late Models looked intimidating as they sat twenty-two deep on the grid. But, intimidation is an abstraction to some drivers, as was the case for Modesto’s veteran Super Star Mike David
(51x) on this night as he took it to the house in an unbelievable, yet popular victory.
Modesto’s Todd Corral (16) got this much-anticipated fracas up to speed from the point with Race for Autism’s Carlos Vieira (51) of Livingston connected to his right-side numbers as they roared beneath the flagstand, green flag waving. Vieira took quick advantage of his great starting spot as he grabbed the holeshot going off into turn one where he held command until lap 16 when Points Leader Chad Holman (9) of Stockton made contact with the #05 of Tracy’s Two-Time Track Champion David Philpott who got the worst end of the deal as he spun low between three and four bringing with him the first yellow of the night. For his involvement, Holman was relegated to the tail-end of the longest line. On the lap 19 restart, Vieira resumed his position out front and looked strong until lap 31 when Orangevale’s Gary Glenn
(50) powered by to notch his name in that number one slot where he began to slip away from his nearest competitors. However, on lap 44, the action stalled once again as Cody Hodgson (55x) of Escalon and the
#57 of Manteca’s David Hulsey made contact coming out of turn two which caught the attention of the flagman who immediately sent the yellow flag flying. Glenn got a great jump on the lap 47 restart where he appeared extremely strong until lap 53 when the almost-lapped car of Milpitas’s Ron Robeck (3) and the leader made contact down the back-stretch sending Glenn careening to the inside wall and bringing out the third caution of the race. Unfortunately for Glenn, his night and dominance was short-lived as the collision brought it all to an early end. On the restart, Lodi’s Michael Wendt (2) inherited the lead and took full advantage as he held service over the next twenty circuits until lap 73 when Ripon’s young, up and coming star, Michael Sandoval (17) and Hulsey, after making contact off four, turned right, into the outside wall down the front-stretch with Sandoval hitting the wall head-on while Hulsey got airborne, landed on his lid and went sliding down the front-stretch attracting an immediate red flag and some very intense moments that followed. Both drivers would climb out
of their cars unscathed, but most likely a little shaken.
Unfortunately for both drivers, their cars didn’t bode so well. On the lap 76 restart, Wendt continued to control out front, but was instantly slowed as Tracy’s Ryan Philpott (52) lost it out of four and the fourth yellow went flying. On the lap 85 restart, Mike David had had enough and decided it was his time to shine. And shine he did as he held off all challenges, including the final fourteen laps with Jacob Gomes (16x) of Manteca not only gnawing, but chewing and swallowing David’s back bumper in one of the greatest pieces of driving witnessed in many years at the Speedway as David schooled the young Gomes in how experience out-duels fearlessness in every instance. It was .202 at the line, but it was absolutely great racing by the wily vet as he crossed beneath the checkers for the impressive victory. “Jake Gomes, Mike Wendt, a couple of the young guys gave us a good run,” said the gracious David, “It feels good to donate the $3000 to win to Carlos’s cause, the Autism cause.” Of course, Gomes finished a very close second after showcasing some great racing talent. Vieira and Wendt would come across the finish line literally welded to each other in a hard fought battle with Vieira just edging Wendt for third. Mark Holeman (21) of Los Altos, always impressive at Stockton, finished in fifth. After working his way back up to fifth from his early infraction, Points Leader Chad Holman lost a transmission on lap 80 and ended his night in the pits with a disappointing seventeenth place finish. Due to Sandoval’s misfortune on this night, Holman was able to retain the Points Lead by 53.
The Bombers Division is a horse-of-a-different-color, and tonight, Stockton’s Tom Dahl (004) would be holding the reins as he crossed beneath the checkers for his fourth win on the year.
While Stockton driver Jeremy Tucker (051) started on pole with George Connor (370) sharing the front row to the right, it wouldn’t take long for Dahl to establish himself as the power to be reckoned with on this night as he took the lead down the back-stretch on lap 5 where he held station until lap 16 when Connor spun low coming off turn two, which brought with it the only caution of the night. Unfortunately for Dahl, the restart brought Lodi’s Matt Wendt (002) to the forefront and with the green flag waving overhead, Wendt got a great jump a he dove down into turn one with the lead, which he never relinquished, bringing her home well in front of the field. Dahl would finish, with his usual consistency, in second while Lodi’s Robbie Knittel finished on the podium in third. Points Leader Travis Tucker (350) of Stockton did exactly what he needed to do by finishing fourth, while Lodi’s Brandon Jones (33) rounded out the top five. Upon further review during post-race tech, Wendt received the bitter news that deemed his rear-end illegal and was disqualified, moving the entire field up a spot and for the second week in a row, handing the hard-fought victory to Dahl.
The Mini Trucks/Mini Stocks took to the speedy surface for the fourth time this year. Points Leader Ron Robeck (3) of Milpitas holds service over JP Morgan by seventeen points. This event would fall in Robeck’s favor once again as he continued his dominance of this Division.
The #6 of Randy Akers Jr. and the #68 of Jesse Ruckman paced the field to green to get this one underway. Ruckman moved out early, but was stopped almost immediately when Akers and the #21 of Chris Parker made contact coming out of turn four with Akers’ car climbing over the top of Parker which brought out the one and only yellow of the race. On the restart, Ruckman was edged at the line by Robeck and from that point forward, Robeck went unchallenged to the checkers for his fourth win of the year in this Division. After Parker’s earlier mishap, he managed to get it back together in time to finish in a not-so-far-back second. Ruckman, on the other hand, fell off his early pace, but still finished on the podium in third. The #4 truck of Andrew Rutta brought her home to finish up in fourth.
After a great week of Vintage Winged Modifieds, the theme continued this week with the Vintage Hard Tops. Conrad Cavallero (2) of Santa Rosa would be the victor on this evening, which wasn’t much of a surprise considering how good he’s looked all year. James Friesen
(77m) of Oakdale and Charles Mart (00) of Salida took the green from the front row with Mart grabbing the early lead until lap 7 when Cavallero decided to take his turn on point. The action went back and forth between Mart and Cavallero for the next several laps until lap
12 when Friesen stuck his nose in between the feud taking place, but he was never able to head Cavallero as the two crossed below the checkers with Friesen chomping away at Cavarello’s back bumper in what was a fantastic finish at the line. Of course, Mart would have to settle on that number three spot.
The Mini Cups found their way back to the Speedway and Jackson Ezell
(15) of Lodi found his way back to Victory Lane once again. Ezell started on pole and led the entire race despite having to endure four yellows and a red in this accident-riddled event. Manteca’s two young-guns, Travis Affonso (11) and Landon Reynolds, had one of those magnetic nights where the two seemed to find each other at every turn.
The race was finally cut to seventeen laps and had to finish under caution as Affonso and Reynolds could not avoid the forces of nature as they came together for the last time on lap 17. And, as a result, both cars had to be towed off the racing surface handing the win to Ezell, his second on the year. However, with Affonso’s second place finish, and the fact Cody Johnston was absent on the night, Affonso moved up to the top of the Points list yet again. Reynolds would have to settle for a third place finish.
Join us next Saturday, August 28th, when the NASCAR Whelen All American Western Late Models take a break before coming back in September for the final run at the Chase for the Championship with four races in two nights. But, in the meantime, the Speedway will present its Poker Run featuring the Bombers, Basically-4-Cylinders,
199 Lap Enduro, and Figure 8 Racing. Please come out to the Speedway and Support these hard-working Divisions.
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 New Stockton 99 Speedway is sponsored by Jackson Rancheria Casino Hotel, California Welding Supply, Budweiser, Alamo Alarm and Lodi Hampton Inn and Suites.