The North State Challenge Series Late Models Debuted At The Speedway And Gained Many Fans
7/12/12 - By David Holman / Stockton 99 Media Relations
On Saturday, July 7th, the North State Challenge Series Late Models rolled onto the racing surface for their debut at the Speedway. Also on the schedule for the Event were the Legends of the Pacific, USAC Ford Focus Midget in Twins, Stockton 99 Mini Cups and 199 Lap Enduro (Enduro Series Race #2). If you’ve never seen the NSCS Late Models, then you absolutely chose the wrong night to miss the races. The weather was a bit on the warm side, but, so too was the racing in every Division.
The IEMRS Ford Focus rolled onto the quick racing surface to get this Event up to speed. On this night, once again, racing sensation from West Sacramento, Garrett Peterson (31), would start on pole in Twin #1 by virtue of fast time earlier in the day and take it to the house in dominating fashion. In Twin #2, a full invert would place Peterson shotgun on the field, which didn’t seem to faze the young driver as he made quick work of the pack and found himself sitting at P1 on lap 9 where he would simply walk away from his nearest competitor for the sweep of the Twins. Peterson is undefeated thus far on the year.
In the Mini Cups, Stockton’s own Andrew Vanderpool (1) stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park for his second win of the year.
Third generation driver from Manteca, Seth “IceChip” Holman (75) nabbed pole honors and Sacramento’s Austin Herzog (11) nabbed the lane high and tight to the right. With the green flag wrinkled against the summer breeze, and unfortunately for the front two, Points Leader from Scotts Valley, Bryce Napier (03), performed an astonishingly brilliant move when he dove low and hard into three and came out on the other side with the first-lap lead. Once out in the breathable air, Napier began to pickem up and puttem down, but not without the heavy bites at his rear bumper by Vanderpool. So much so, on lap 10, the #1 car squirted by for the lead. Not to be outdone, Napier would steal it back over the next two laps until lap 13, when Vanderpool decided this would be his night to rejoice, and rejoice he did as he high-stepped it away from the rest of the field, despite a few cautions and restarts, until there was simply and most-assuredly, nothing left to race for but that not-so precious territory behind P1 at the checkers. Napier, on this night, would have to settle(if second-place can ever be consider “settling”)for a second place finish. Fremont’s Cameron Winninger (88), after some hit and misses early on, brought her home on the podium in a strong and impressive third. Holman, after being swept up in someone else’s wake, salvaged a wonderful fourth place run while A. Herzog hung around the top five all race long and finished fifth.
The Legends of the Pacific were in town to do what they do best, and the fans in the stands couldn’t have been happier. On this night, a first-timer all the way from San Diego who came to display his wares, Eric Gunderson (97), did just that by starting mid-pack on a twenty-car field and working his way beneath the checkers for the surprise Victory.
Due to a complete restart, Keith Clement (8) of Stockton’s infamous “Clement Clan” and the #55 of Caity Miller started up front to get this one underway. Unfortunately, for both drivers, going off into turn three on the first lap, Benecia’s Tony Mangini (7) made a beautifully wicked move which sent him low coming off turn four and into the lead. Mangini didn’t get much time to enjoy the fresh air, because soon enough, Eric Gunderson (97) was gnawing and biting at the entire tail-end of the #7 until, on lap 13, Mangini had no choice but to relent to the massive and incessant pressure that was being applied by Gunderson when the #97 used a slower car for a pick and drove it off turn four into the lead. Once out in the rarified air, Gunderson would establish himself as one that would have to be reckoned with as he took it the rest of the way, mostly unencumbered, for his first-ever win in his first-ever outing at the Speedway. Mangini, after leading the first half of the race, settled into second where he rode it out to the finish. Lincoln’s Danny Allen (24), starting very deep on the grid, maneuvered his way through traffic and onto the podium in an impressive third. James Bickford (25B) of Napa, yet another deep starter, ran a wonderful race of his own by finishing fourth, while Legend Super Star from Rocklin, Robby Czub (37), rounded out the top five.
The NSCS Late Models displayed much talent all day long. But when the books closed on their first chapter at the historic Speedway, 15 year old Jeremy Doss (75) of Upper Lake stamped his name deeply into the hot asphalt surface by coming from the back all the way through to the checkers for the extremely popular Victory.
Allen Gibney (44) of Fort Bragg grabbed P1 due to a total invert while John Dalerio (14) of Ukiah flanked him to the right to get this one under green. And, with the green flag flying high about the racing surface, Dalerio got to the gas an eighth-inch sooner than did Gibney which garnered #14 the holeshot and the early lead. Once out on that much-coveted real estate up front, Dalerio appeared sure and steady until lap 9, when Cloverdale’s Todd Land (5) looped it low off turn two, which brought with it the first yellow of the race. On the restart, Dalerio assumed the point, but this time he had major company who came in the form of one Forrest Kuecker (79) of Upper Lake. And, on lap 18, Kuecker showed the superior car as he drove by Dalerio for the lead where, once there, he would enjoy the spotlight at vista point over the next thirty circuits until lap 48, when Cloverdale’s Clay Caturegli (55) came sliding, backwards, out of turn two and the third yellow followed close behind. On the ensuing restart, Kuecker got a sniff at that pristine beauty out front, however brief, because on lap 49, the kid from Upper Lake, Jeremy Doss (75), simply proved too much as he motored off to the lead. With the Racing God of Victory-Without-Question smiling down brightly, Doss began to chew away at the asphalt, in rather large increments, until second place wasn’t even a hint in his rear-view mirror as he slid beneath the checkers to the Promise Land and the winner’s share of the spoils in a battle well-fought. Junior Roddy (41) of Gualala, after starting deep on the grid and enduring four caution periods, pretty mush held steady at second for most of the race, which landed the #41 on the second step of the podium. Kuecker, after showing his strength mid-way through, slipped back ever-so-slightly, but still kept pace as he drove it onto the podium in third. Another young gun from Eureka, 15 ½ year old Brandon White (99X), had a very solid run finishing her up in fourth, while the transient from Boise, ID, Trevor Christiani (90), in a strong run of his own, rounded out the top five.
In the Enduro, as always, it get real crazy, real quick, but that particular scenario certainly doesn’t sway these drivers from their appointed goals. And on this night, Manteca’s Ryan Strmiska (98) would not be denied. At the drop of the green, Strmiska sat P10 on the starting grid, but on lap 6, the #98 slipped into the lead where he would hold serve the remainder of the race and slide beneath the checkers the only car left on the lead lap.
Next Saturday, July 14th, NASCAR Whelen All American Series Western Late Model in Twins, Pure Stocks, Pro-4 Modifieds, Vintage Hard Tops and Basically-4-Cylinders.
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.