Harry Belletto of Modesto used his years of experience to record his third straight HOTWOOD Western Late Model feature win and fifth of the year at Stockton 99 Speedway this week in the NASCAR Union 76 Weekly Racing Series presented by DODGE.
Starting 8th on the 17-car grid, Belletto watched a great battle at the front between heat winner Paul Dorritty, Jr., of Modesto and Orangevale?s Harold Rieker. Rieker took the point on lap-10 after a restart for a yellow caused by a flat tire on the car of Tracy Bolin of Valley Springs. Belletto ran 5th on the restart and came to 4th on the next pass. Third was his on lap-19 with a yellow falling on the next circuit as Chris Monez of Lodi got around in the middle of three & four. Another yellow fell on lap-23 as Wes Miller of Delhi got around going into turn-one. Three aborted restart attempts by Dorritty and Rieker proved too much for starter John Moreland as he flipped the front row, allowing Belletto and heat winner Eric Seely of Modesto to lead the charge to the green.
Dash winner Belletto won the battle and lasted through one more caution to record the win ahead of Rieker, fast timer Eddie Laws of Citrus Heights, Bolin, and Anthony Swan of Newark.
Belletto increased his current point lead to 163 over an absent Dave Byrd of San Jose, as he looks to record his third Stockton Speedway track title. Ray Davis of Galt was the other heat winner on the night.
Aaron Young of Stockton paced the early laps of the Grand American Modified feature with the first yellow coming on lap-ten as Stockton drivers Doug Lane and Fred Clement got togeather off turn four in the first shot of a personal war on the night. Another yellow came two laps later as Stockton drivers Steve Stacy and Danny Contessotto came togeather on the front chute with Contessotto going onto the dirt into turn-one. Contessotto?s slide back onto the track caused a check-up move and a spin by several cars.
Two more yellows caused by action between Lane and Clement came on laps 14 & 21 with the last seeing Clement exit his car in turn-four in a rare "heated mood" and discuss seating arrangements for the trophy dinner with Lane through his window net. Both were ejected from the event at that point.
A final yellow fell on the next pass for a spin by Gary Glenn of Orangevale coming off turn-four. Jay Linstroth of Citrus Heights took the lead on the next green and sailed home with his second win of the year, followed by Young, Contessotto, fast timer and dash winner Jason Philpot of Sacramento, and hot rookie runner Kyle Gottula of Modesto.
Contessotto continues to maintain a 26-point lead for the season title over Sam Solari of Salida, with Stacy running third.
Tom Bolin of San Jose picked up his division leading fifth feature win of the season in a race slowed only once for a minor yellow. Bolin, the fast timer on the night was chased to the checkered by dash winner Michael Wendt of Lodi, John Medina of Galt, point leader Danny Guibor of Manteca, and Aimee Sullivan of Lodi. Guibor, Medina, and Jeff Ahl of Lodi each led feature laps during the event.
Michael Morrissey of Kings Beach continued his dominance of the Legend division action for the year with his 5th feature win coupled with the fast time and dash win. Morrissey started 12th and had the lead by lap-ten. Ryan Mosher of Cupertino finished second ahead of heat winner Randy Raduechel of Oakdale, Kelly Martin of Modesto, and Pete Currin of Redwood City. Hank Smedley of Pittsburg and Wayne Estes of Patterson also won heats.
Stockton Speedway now readies itself to welcome the arrival of the NASCAR Winston West contingent as the division competes for the first time since 1984 on the quarter-mile paved oval.
Spectator gates will open and practice will start at noon on Saturday, August 17th, with prices set at $30.00 for adults, $20.00 for students (age 10-17) & seniors (age 65 & up). Children (age 6-10) will be $10.00, with kids (5 & under) admitted free.
The NASCAR Winston West field will be joined with action from the HOTWOOD Western Late Model division,and the Grand American Modifieds, giving area fans a full program of racing to delight young and old alike. The drivers in each of the regular Stockton divisions will continue their battles towards the season ending championships still being highly contested.
Stockton 99 Speedway will be closed on August 24th, but will return to action on August 31st with the final leg of the three-race HOTWOOD Tri Holiday series featuring a 100-lap championship crowning main for the HOTWOOD Western Late Models. They will be joined by the Pure Stocks and the final season appearance of the USAC/BCRA Midgets and the crowning of their Stockton level 2002 season champion.
FAST TIME: Eddie Laws (Citrus Heights) 14.415
HEAT-1: Ray Davis (Galt), Jerry Crawford (Stockton), Verg Beaty (Ceres), Dwight Pilcher (Stockton).
HEAT-2: Eric Seely (Modesto), Wes Miller (Delhi), Tracy Bolin (Valley Springs), Pete Anderson, Jr. (Stockton), Chris Monez (Lodi), Robert Knittel (Lodi).
HEAT-3: Paul Dorritty, Jr. (Modesto), Laws, Jeff Belletto (Modesto), Anthony Swan (Newark), Harold Rieker (Orangevale). Harry Belletto (Modesto).
DASH: H-Belletto, Bolin, Anderson, Laws.
MAIN: H-Belletto, Rieker, Laws, Bolin, Swan, Seely, Beaty, Knittel, Monez, Anderson, Crawford, Davis, J-Belletto, Miller, Dorritty, Johnny Berndt (Clements), Pilcher.
FAST TIME: Jason Philpot (Sacramento) 13.978
DASH: Philpot, Jay Linstroth (Citrus Heights), Sam Solari (Salida), Steve Stacy (Stockton).
MAIN: Linstroth, Aaron Young (Stockton), Danny Contessotto (Stockton), Philpot, Kyle Gottula (Modesto), Solari, Mike Regelman (Ripon), Stacy, John Unger (Stockton), Gary Glenn (Orangevale), John Moore (Granite Bay), Jim Marchino (Modesto), Darrin Halterman (Stockton), Fred Guthmiller (Sierra Village), Ed Cullom (Ripon), Fred Clement (Stockton), Doug Lane (Stockton), Chris Mays (Stockton), Hap Ferree (Nevada City).
FAST TIME: Tom Bolin (San Jose) 17.115
DASH: Michael Wendt (Lodi), Joey Stearns (Stockton), Bolin, Jeff Ahl (Lodi).
B-MAIN: Richard Harper (Stockton), C.W. Davis (Stockton), Chad Holman (Stockton), Larry Moore (Lodi), Greg Tyler (Modesto), Ray Bird (Stockton), Terry Ayers (Sonora), Sheila Wall (Oakdale), Dick Thomas (Stockton).
MAIN: Bolin, Wendt, John Medina (Galt), Danny Guibor (Manteca), Aimee Sullivan (Lodi), Ken Ratcliff (Stockton), Johnny Bird (Stockton), Stearns, Tom Dahl (Stockton), Steven Hall (Manteca), Cindy Freitas (Lodi), Charlie Clawson (Modesto), Harper, Moore, Johnny Cordoza (Stockton), Davis, Ahl, Holman, Kannai Scantlen (Stockton), Dave Ball (Stockton).
FAST TIME: Michael Morrissey (Kings Beach) 15.829
HEAT-1: Hank Smedley (Pittsburg), Jack Humphrey (American Canyon), Rick Zollman (Pleasanton), Jeff Collins (San Diego), Debbie Darnell (Livermore).
HEAT-2: Randy Raduechel (Oakdale), Morrissey, Mike Hoffman (Fremont), Kelly Martin (Modesto), Ryan Mosher (Cupertino), Rick Andrews (Santa Clara).
HEAT-3: Wayne Estes (Patterson), Gary Hockman (San Jose), Pete Currin (Redwood City), Frankie Winchel (Sabastopol), Steve Fensler, Jr. (Elk Grove), Charles Young (Los Banos).
DASH: Morrissey, Winchel, Currin, Mosher.
MAIN: Morrissey, Mosher, Raduechel, Martin, Currin, Fensler, Hoffman, Hockman, Andrews, Collins, Humphrey, Zollman, Smedley, Young, Darnell, Winchel.