On Saturday, August 11th, the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Western Late Model were back in action in Twin 50’s. Plus: NCMA Sprint Cars, Grand American Modified Twins and Star Racing Supply Modifieds, Pro-4 Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Basically-4-Cylinders. The daytime temperature was unearthly as was the racing action on the tricky quarter-mile in each and every Division on this hot Summer night. With the 2012 Season coming down the backstretch before the final checkered flags wrinkle against an Autumn sky, the Points Races seem to be shaping up to some profound finishes. This night would continue on in that much-anticipated direction, undoubtedly with the approval of the nearly 600 fans in the stands. And, why not? This is the time of year when each race begins to count in the overall outcome and any mulligans must have hopefully already been spent.
"Saturday, August 18th, the SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series rolls back onto the Toughest Test in the West for their final appearance of 2012 at the storied venue on Johnny Brazil/Jackson Rancheria/Teamsters Night at the Speedway."
As most often happens, the B-4’s got the ball rolling. Division Points Leader and Stockton’s own Dave Kong (9) drove a masterful race from the back row on the starting grid to the top shelf of the podium, safe and secure, into the promise land of Victory Lane.
Two Stockton drivers, Shannon Rumsey (59) and Justin Terry (11X) shared front row honors to get the show underway. Unfortunately for both drivers, their joy on the front row would be cut devastatingly short when, coming around to lap 1, Modesto’s Chris Corder (23) reared his gears and beat the field to the stripe to be credited with the first lap lead. Corder fell into a comfortable pace over the next six laps or so he thought, because on lap 7, after starting last on the grid, Stockton’s Dave Kong (9), miraculously bolted on by the #23 and onto that much-coveted real estate out front. Once there, Kong began to chew away at the asphalt in huge chunks, leaving nothing in his wake but the rest of the pack, until there was absolutely nothing left to race for but the next Event as the #9 machine crossed beneath the checkers light-years ahead of his nearest competitor for his second win on the year, which extended his points lead in the Division. Brad Mast (69), also from Stockton, ran a beautiful race of his own, finishing second and hanging close to Kong in the Points Battle. Terry, after being surprised on the first lap, managed to keep himself composed enough to hold onto a hard-fought podium finish in third. Corder, after leading early, seemed to have a scrap with the Racing God of Ill-Handling, but still held on to a strong fourth while Rumsey fell off the pace, if only slightly, and settled into a fifth place run.
The Modifieds Twin #1 came down to six cars and, on this night, in this race, the best car did capture the spoils of war. Points Leader from Tracy, Scott Winters (24), was the happy recipient of those spoils when he crossed the stripe to his fourth win of the year.
Nick Romano (21) of Menlo Park nabbed P1 to get this one up to speed while William Camera (20) of Fremont was alongside with an itchy trigger toe, ready to go. Unfortunately for the #20, Romano had the heavier foot as he got to the gas a half in sooner than did Camera. With the green flag scraping high against the backdrop of a summer sky, Romano jetted out to the lead where he would enjoy the bounty and the breathable air that accompanies P1 over the next sixteen circuits until lap 17 when, after starting shotgun on the field and working his way mathematically through the field, Winters applied so much pressure to the rear bumper of the leader, Romano had no choice but to relent to the fact that too much air was being removed from his spoiler. Once out in the rarified air, Winters simply tiptoed away from P2 and left no doubt about his racing agenda by capturing his fourth win of the year. Romano held on strong and finished on the podium in a solid second, while Stockton’s Andy Vanderveer (49) had a solid run of his own, finishing on the podium in third. Nick Lyons (43) of Loomis, quiet all night, settled into a fourth place run with Camera falling off the pace just a bit, but still managed a top five in fifth.
In the Western Late Model Twin #1, a very familiar face landed in Victory Circle, and that face belonged to 2009 Track Champion and second generation driver from Tracy, Justin Philpott (05). In a rare appearance this year, Philpott led every lap for his second win on the year.
Ladera Ranch’s Cole Custer (55C) and Tracy’s Justin Philpott (05) were strapped in tight to the front to get this one out of the blocks with Philpott grabbing a huge hunk of forward bite coming off turn four to the green, which vaulted the #05 into the holeshot and the immediate lead. And so it went, Philpott soared out front, unencumbered by competitors over the next forty-five laps until lap 46 when, several cars made contact going off into turn three, which wiped out half the field and the yellow quickly turned into a lengthy read to clear the carnage left behind. On the ensuing restart, Philpott jumped out immediately to reclaim control over the field where he drove it on through to the checkers for the extremely popular Victory. On that same restart, Modesto’s third generation driver, Nic Belletto (15), after starting deep on the grid, jumped, quickly, into second and that’s exactly where he finished. Of course, Custer lost the spot to Belletto, but still had a wonderfully impressive run, finishing on the podium in third. Luis Tyrrell (21) of Cupertino, seemingly getting better each week, finished her up in fourth while Denair’s Bobby Runyan Jr. (21X) had a great race of his own, finishing in the number five spot.
The speedy Pro-4 Modifieds were back in action, and, besides putting on a great show, an excellent driver from Cobb, Chris Straka (34), took home top honors in this fantastic thirty lap romp.
Anderson’s Marty Plumb (97) took up residence at P1 with Windsor’s Stan Bushman (10) already encroaching on that precious property out front when the green flag struck the warm summer breeze. And, as luck, and skill, would have it, the encroachment paid dividends going off into turn one with Bushman heading the pack of extremely hungry warriors. unfortunately, the race was slowed almost immediately when, on lap 3, Vince Sanchez (18) and Kevin Barba (90), both Windsor drivers, came sliding off turn four in a tandem spin and brought with them the one and only yellow of the race. On the restart, Santa Rosa’s Marty Lewis (07) wasted no time in establishing a stronghold on that pristine territory out front until lap 10 when, after starting in the last row on the grid, Pro-4 Modified Sensation from Cobb, Chris Straka (34) decided it was his turn to shine on this night, and shine he did as he wrestled the lead away from Lewis and set sail for the glory land(a feat well within the grasp of his ample foot as has been proven on many occasions in the past)and took it all the way through to the checkers for that aforementioned romp to the land of milk and honey. Santa Rosa’s Greg Vancleave (13), also starting deep on the grid, came on strong during the last half of the race and gave Straka a run for the spoils, simply ran out of time and laps and had to settle for a very close second place run. Curt Lewis (87) of Forestville, after starting mid-pack on the grid, finished her up on the podium in third with Lewis falling off the pace just a bit, but still managed fourth. Plumb ran in the top five all race long and he finished at exactly fifth.
In the Wild and Wily Pure Stocks, anything can happen because these teams believe in serious fun. On this night, Stockton’s Ben Lewis II (22) seemed to have the most fun by grabbing the lead early on and motoring on to his third win of the Season.
Manteca’s Rick Irwin (210) and Stockton’s Roy Luft (021) paced the field around to get this one underway with Irwin getting the nod at the stripe. Unfortunately for Irwin, the likes of Ben Lewis was in the field on this particular night and, on lap 3, Lewis grabbed the quicker gear and drove right by the #210 and into the lead. Once out in the breathable atmosphere, Lewis put it on auto-pilot as he began to step away from the field in reasonable increments to the point there was nothing left for him to do but the obligations that come with Victory Lane. The win would be Lewis’ third of the year. Stockton’s Rodney Tripp (008), after starting shotgun on the grid, worked his way beautifully through traffic into third, but on the last lap, he managed to squeak by Lodi’s Brandon Jones (005) and onto the podium in an astonishing second place run. And, of course, Jones, after a fierce battle with Tripp over the last half of the race, simply ran out of car on the last lap and had to settle for what was most likely a disappointing third. The young, second generation driver from Ceres, Tyler Guzman (93X), after hanging around the number two slot all race long, slipped back slightly to finish fourth while Stockton’s Guido Bindi (016), seeming to suffer from an ill-handling car for the second week in a row, still pulled off a fifth place finish.
The NCMA Sprints, as usual, are a crowd-pleasing pleasure. And, as usual, they certainly didn’t disappoint on this night with a photo-finish and Napa’s Gentleman Driver, Dr. David Goodwill (3) pulling off the Victory by a nose.
Concord’s Burt Silverling (77) got the call to P1 with Sacramento’s David Dias (24) flanking him high and tight to the right. With the green flag flying high above the still-hot asphalt surface, Silverling got to the throttle slightly sooner than Dias, which vaulted the #77 into the immediate and early lead until lap 4 when Legendary Driver from Modesto, Ed Amador (76), performed a brilliant move through three and four and drove hard into the lead. Amador held a comfortable lead for most of the rest of the race, holding off all challenges until lap 29 when David Goodwill drove his #3 machine deep into turn three and hard off turn four to the checkers where he managed to sneak by Amador for the extremely close and extremely impressive win at the stripe. Amador, after leading most of the race, must surely have been disappointed with the second place finish. Ripon’s Denny Burrell (88), in his usual solid manner, brought her home on the podium in third with Dias and Silverling falling off, ever so slightly, to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.
Modified Twin #2 found Points Leader and 2009 Division Champion from Tracy, Scott Winters (24), back on the Top Tier of the podium for yet another sweep of the Twins on this night after taking the lead on lap 15, then taking it to the field for his fifth win on the Season.
In the Western Late Model Twin #2, Modesto’s young gun and third generation driver, Nic Belletto (15), continued to impress this Season with his third win in four races.
Second generation driver and 2011 Division Champ from Modesto, Jeff Belletto (12X), inherited the front row due to the invert off Twin #1 with Bobby Runyan Jr. (21X) inheriting the outside groove for the same reasons. And so the story went, with the green waving against the warm breeze, Belletto jumped out quick, as he often does, and even after enduring three restarts, one late in the race, the #12X did what he does best out front until a yellow fell on lap 46, which would be J. Belletto’s downfall on this night. On the ensuing restart, Jeff’s nephew, Nic Belletto (15), after working his way up from deep on the starting grid, maneuvered his way brilliantly by his uncle and onto that prestigious property out front where he would drive it on through to a well-earned Victory. Of course, with the win, that pushed the elder Belletto back to finish, still on the podium, but in second place. Justin Philpott (05), after the “W” in Twin #1, drove this one onto the podium in third to cap off a marvelous night for the young Champion from Tracy. Cupertino’s Lewis Tyrrell (21), had an absolutely great night of his own with two fourth place finishes. Modesto’s Mike Beeler (6), after starting shotgun on the field, and after being swept up in someone else’s mess, managed to rebound to round out the top five.
Next Saturday, August 18th, the SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series rolls back onto the Toughest Test in the West for their final appearance of 2012 at the storied venue on Johnny Brazil/Jackson Rancheria/Teamsters Night at the Speedway. Also on this loaded ticket, the Budweiser Clydesdales make a special appearance along with the Teamsters Rig. And, if the hard-core racing action on the tricky asphalt surface isn’t enough, then one need only look to the heavens for a Fireworks Spectacular that will, undoubtedly, highlight the Evening. This Special Event is all being brought to fruition by Performance Electrical Company!
Also on the Ticket will be the Vintage Super Modifieds, Legends of the Pacific, Stockton 99 Mini Cups and the USAC Ignite Midgets. A full card that will quench the thirst of every racing enthusiast, and one you certainly will not want to miss. Come early, the grandstands should be full on this one. VIP Seating is available in the New VIP Section, and it has been said, there is no better place from where to enjoy the racing.