The Firecracker 150 Exploded Onto The Hot Asphalt Surface And The Hot Night
Sky Was Filled With A Beauty Of Its Own
6/30/12 - By David Holman / Stockton 99 Media Relations
On Saturday, June 30th, the NASCAR Whelen All American Series/Tri-Holiday Classic Series, Presented by Financial Center Credit Union, featured Race #2 and the Western Late Model Firecracker 150. Also on the Docket for this Historical Event was: NWAAS Modified 60, Super Stock 60 and Pure Stock 50. With the weather beginning to reach maximum temperature, so too, was the racing on the scorched asphalt surface on this hot, summer night. The nearly 2700 fans in the stands were privy to all the pomp and circumstance leading up to the Main Events. And when the time came, each Division rolled off to assume its appointed course on the grid, proudly displaying the sum of its collective parts in all their grandeur. Great show! Great night! Happy Fourth of July to all, and to all a good night!
The Pure Stocks brought the Evening’s Events under green with a full-field of drivers ready to rumble. And, when the rumbling seceded, Stockton’s own Guido Bindi (016) would be the one proudly displaying top honors in this hard-fought battle.
Tyler Guzman (93X) of Ceres grabbed pole honors while Guido Bindi lined up high and tight to the right to get this one underway. Guzman drove it off hard into turn one and came out on the other side with the early lead, despite the incessant pressure from the #016 until finally, on lap 6, Guzman had no choice but to relinquish that optimal spot at P1 as Bindi dug deep and squirted out to the forefront. Once out on the pristine beauty of point, and despite four cautions and some large teeth biting into his back bumper late in the race, Bindi simply would not be denied on this night as he crossed beneath the checkers for the extremely exciting, last lap Victory. His first on the year. By the way, Bindi crossed the finishline wearing only three tires in a brilliant display of car-control and deep desire. Stockton’s Darin Adler (360), driving patiently from deep on the starting grid and having to endure some unbelievable three-wide racing, held strong as he drove it onto the podium in second. Guzman, after dodging much carnage on his way to the stripe, brought her home on the podium in third. Lodi’s Young Gun, Brandon Jones (005), after suffering the wrath from the Racing God of Altercations, pulled it back together just in time to finish fourth while Manteca’s Peggy Sue Jared (313), also suffering early-race problems, rebounded quite beautifully to round out the top five.
The Super Stocks, once again, were bit by the Racing God of Car-Count, but that certainly didn’t deter these boys from collectively putting their foot down. And, when the hot oil and smoke settled, Riverbank’s Aaron Coonfield (25) returned to Victory Lane and the spoils of war.
Coonfield inherited P1 due to the invert off qualifying with Escalon’s Brock Monroe (2) sitting hot and heavy to the outside, already nibbling pieces of number and paint from the right side door of the #25. With the green flag wrinkled against the summer sky, Coonfield got to the gas an eighth inch sooner than did Monroe as he beat the field down into turn one for the lead. Once out in the breathable air, Coonfield decided this was his night to start his comeback, and the air was so fresh at P1, he would breathe it in all the way through to the checkers for the very convincing win and his heroic return to Victory Lane. Atwater’s Jason Aguirre (45) broke free from the pack on lap 11 where he began to chew away at the asphalt that separated him from the #25 until he simply ran out of laps and had to settle for a relatively close second place. 2011 Track Champion from Hughson, Mike Graham (93), quiet most of the day, showed up on the radar when it counted most and drove her onto the podium in third. Lodi’s Robbie “The Kid” Knittel (03), dealing with handling issues all day, brought her home in fourth while West Modesto’s Garland Tyler (73) rounded out the top five.
The Modifieds were back in action for this Prestigious Event, and on this night, a surprise winner, who came in the form of one Cody Thompson of Sacramento (68A), would nab bragging rights in front of a large field and add his name to the history books.
Two drivers from Sacramento, Cody Thompson and Jason Philpot (15A) occupied the front row to get this one up to speed with Thompson getting the nod on lap 1 as he jetted out to the lead. The #68A would hold strong to P1 through the first seventeen laps until lap 18, when Points Leader and Modified Sensation from Tracy, Scott Winters (24), after losing a driveline, came to rest against the wall up in turn four, which brought with it the second yellow of the race and the end of the night for the #24 Team. On the lap 18 restart, Jay Lindstroth (25) of Citrus Heights, grabbed a huge hunk of forward bite coming off turn four to the green and beat the field off into turn one for the lead. Once out on that much-coveted real estate, Lindstroth found his rhythm and began to nibble, if only slightly, at the asphalt as he tip-toed away from second until lap 50 when Rick Anderson (83A) of Rio Linda came to rest high between turns three and four, after being snagged by the Racing God of Mechanical Woes, and brought the yellow along for the ride. On the ensuing restart, Thompson decided this would be his night to shine, and shine he did as he drove it on through to the checkers for his first-ever win at Stockton. Lindstroth, after appearing so strong during the middle of the race, simply ran out of laps and had to settle for a second place run. The “Ripon Rocket” Mike Regelman (63), seemed to struggle a bit with handling issues, but the car came to him in time to drive it onto the podium in third. Philpot, after being involved earlier in a multi-car incident, rebounded beautifully to finish fourth while Rich Lindgren of Rio Linda (45), himself involved in an earlier fracas, came back to round out the top five.
The Western Late Model Firecracker 150 was an intense race, to say the least, but long before the carnage took its toll, 2011 Division Champion and second generation driver from Modesto, Jeff Belletto (12X), would hold the trophy high and proud.
With Todd Corral of Modesto (16) and Matt Scott of Pine Grove (35) strapped in tight to the front row and the crowd on their feet, the green flag dropped on this one and Scott would prove to have the heavier foot on the outside going off into turn one for the holeshot. Once out in that rarified air, which Scott is certainly no stranger to, the #35 would know exactly how to handle the pressure from behind by hitting his marks in cadence, despite having to endure a couple yellow flags, until lap 33 when Lodi’s Michael Wendt (2) fought his way by Scott and into the lead where he appeared to have the car to beat at this point of the race. Unfortunately, the race was slowed once again on lap 45 due to debris all the way around the racing surface. On the lap 47 restart, Season’s Point Leader, Jeff Belletto (12X), got the great jump up top as most often happens, and he motored out to the lead. However, Belletto certainly did not go unattended because over the next seventy laps, Wendt pulled ever trick out of his ample bag as he nibbled and scratched and bit and clawed at the rear bumper of the 12X in one of the most exciting races this year. Unfortunately, on lap 118, Modesto’s Nick Belletto (15), made contact with Wendt up between turns three and four which resulted in a multi-car pile-up and yet another yellow. Both Wendt and Belletto were asked to take up new residence at the tail-end of the longest line. On the lap 122 restart and several thereafter, Belletto would stay the course as he often does, and take it on through to the checkers for his third win of the year. Nick Belletto, after coming from the back twice during the race, astonishingly rebounded to finish behind his uncle on the podium in second. Scott, extremely strong early on, seemed to lose the handle on his car late in the race, but still managed to hold on for a podium finish in third. Chris Scribner of Loomis (5), winner last time out, had another strong showing in finishing fourth while Matt Ericson (42) rounded out the top five.
Prelude To The Firecracker 150
As a precursor to the Firecracker 150, on Friday, June 29th, the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Basically-4-Cylinders, Stockton 99 Mini Cups, NCMA Sprint Cars, and Pro-4 Modifieds hit the high banks to light the fuse on this glorious weekend!
The Mini Cup Division came out of the box first to get the program underway. And with 2011 Division Champ from Scotts Valley, Bryce Napier (03), nabbing his third win of the young year, the gauntlet was pretty much thrown down on the field and boldly shouted: in order to win the Championship this year, you will most certainly have to go through the #03 Team. By no means an easy task. Fast Timer on the day, Andrew Vanderpool of Stockton (1), put together another great show of his own by finishing on the podium in a close second place run. Colin Mullan (27) of Danville took top honors in the Trophy Dash earlier in the day.
In the B-4 Division, these guys and gals were four-wide coming off turn four to the green flag because fear has no place in their vocabulary. By race’s end, French Camp’s Mark Jacke (5-0), after negotiating the field from the last row on the starting grid, made his way beneath the checkers for his third win on the year. Mr. B-4, Manteca’s Joseph Reichmuth (6), would have to settle for a second place finish on this night. However, Reichmuth did have fast time earlier on. Stockton’s Dave Kong (9) won the Trophy Dash.
The Pro-4 Modifieds were back in town, and if you haven’t seen this Division yet, you need to make it a point this year. When the dust finally settled on this one, Chris Straka (34) of Cobb, as he quite often does, relished in the splendor of the lion’s share of the spoils by crossing beneath the checkers nearly 6 full seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. And that competitor came in the form of Trophy Dash winner, Greg Vancleave (13) of Santa Rosa. Of course, Straka also set fast time on the day.
It’s always a pleasure to have the NCMA on the tricky asphalt surface at 99. And, of course, this night would not disappoint. When the books closed on the one, Eric Humphries (15) of Chowchilla, after starting shotgun on the field, cautiously worked his way to that breathable air out front, and took it on through to the checkers for the very popular and very impressive win. Napa’s Gentleman Driver, Dr. David Goodwill (3), would have to finally settle on a strong second place run. Humphries was fast time on the day, while Ripon’s Denny Burrell (88) stood atop the podium in the Trophy Dash.
Next Saturday, July 7th, the North State Challenge Series Late Models, Legends of the Pacific, USAC Ford Focus Midget Twins, Stockton 99 Mini Cups and 199 Lap Enduro (Enduro Series Race #2).
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, Budweiser, Alamo Alarm and Stockton Hampton Inn and Suites and Lodi Holiday Express.