Second-generation driver Cole Moore, age 18 of Granite Bay, survived a crash-marred feature to pick up his second win of the season in the Pacific Challenge Series at the Stockton 99 Speedway on Saturday night.
Jason Romero, of Cameron Park, who came into Stockton with a narrow four-point lead over John Moore in the PCS standings, set fast time in qualifying, but a bad run in the trophy dash pushed him back to eighth on the starting grid in the 11-car field for the main.
Pole sitter Matt Wendt, of Galt, grabbed the early lead, but was soon overtaken by John Moore on lap 9. Two laps later Cole Moore was sent to the back of the pack after he got into the rear of Wendt as he attempted a pass.
Wendt got off slowly on the ensuing restart which caused several cars to accordion into him causing a mass exodus of cars to the pits for repairs.
The next restart went smoothly, but on lap 14 John Moore’s rear end broke causing a pile up with Dave Byrd, of Seaside and Matt Scott, of Pine Grove, who had nowhere to go.
With only six cars left race officials elected to reduce the race to 60 laps.
Romero was the new leader, but he was soon passed by the resilient Cole Moore. Romero stayed right on Moore’s tail for the remainder of the race, getting along side of him on more than one occasion, but Romero could never make the pass and was forced to settle for a hard earned second place ahead of Atwater’s Carlos Vieira as Moore took the checkered flag.
“It was a weird race. I spun Wendt out at the beginning and was sent to the back and then my dad looked like he was going to run away with it until he blew up. So to end up winning it is pretty awesome,” said Moore. “I have only finished two races this year and I won them both.”
Despite failing to win Romero was satisfied with the result.
“That battle with Cole over the last 20 laps was awesome. We are friends and I am glad to see him win it if I couldn’t,” said the gracious Romero. “I had opportunities to move him, but I like to drive clean.”
Making his first start of the 2018 season in the familiar Strmiska family #90, Manteca’s Guy Guibor showed no signs of rust as he dominated the 35-lap feature for the Stockton Late Models.
Starting alongside of pole sitter Gary Shaffer, of Stockton, in the 14-car field, Guibor jumped into the lead on the second lap and never looked back.
“It is kinda like a bicycle, you don’t forget how to do it” said Guibor.
As Guibor cruised to the checkers, a late race tussle between Escalon’s Christian Roche and Shaffer allowed Sam Solari, also of Escalon, to steal second place and pad his season point’s lead while Shaffer, Roche and Salida’s Seth Holman completed the top five.
Afterward, Guibor was quick to give credit to Ron Strmiska Jr. and the crew for preparing the car.
“It is pretty easy to step in because they already have all the bugs worked out of it,” explained Guibor, who took over the ride following Ross Strmiska’s emotional victory in the Strmiska Memorial 4th of July race.
“I have some big shoes to fill since the car has won two of the last three races here.”
The 30-lap Legends of the Pacific race got off to a rough start after three yellow-cautions and one red flag stoppage occurred before the first official lap of the race was recorded.
Michael Ray, of Farmington, controlled the first half of the 35-lap main until he tangled up with a hard-charging Codi Winchel, of Sevastopol, on lap 16.
A grateful Sheldon Crouse, of Groveland, took over the lead and cruised to the victory ahead of Bakersfield’s Brandon Rodgers.
Kimberley Rouse, of Stockton, held down the top spot of the 18-car Bomber main until Rick Roberts, of Stockton, was able to squeak by her with just two laps to go in the 25-lap race.
Rouse almost lost control of her car as she made one final attempt to retake the lead coming out of the final corner on the last lap and just managed to hold off Manteca’s Robert Dueck for second despite swaying down the front straightaway like a freshman leaving his first frat party.
Joe Flowers, of Manteca, led the eight-car field to the green flag for the B-4’s feature and grabbed the early lead only to see Barrett Sugden, of Stockton, charge past him five laps into the 20-lap main.
Flowers would cruise to the checkered flag while Flowers hung on for second just ahead of Stockton’s Andy Rumsey.
Next up at the 99 Speedway will be the Night of Champions Reunion when the Stockton Late Models will head a three-division program with a 100-lap feature on Aug. 4. The program will also include fireworks.
There will be plenty of thunder in the hills of the North Bay as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series roars into ¼ mile dragstrip at Sonoma Raceway for the 31st Annual Toyota Sonoma Nationals July 27-29. For more information visit www.sonomaraceway.com or call (800) 870-7223.