Season points leader and second generation driver Jeff Belletto, of Modesto, continued his winning ways in the Western Late Model division at Stockton’s 99 Speedway last Saturday night.
Belletto led the 12-car field in qualifying and used his pole position to full advantage by going wire-to-wire in the first of two mains to post his third victory in five 99 starts this season.
"Well, we're starting to make a little habit of it, it's kind of nice, you know," said Belletto after the race, "setting fast time, starting on the pole and then winning it."
The invert put Sacramento’s Bobby Butler on the pole for the second Late Model feature and he also went wire-to-wire in a caution-free race to post his first win of the season on the treacherous high-banked quarter mile oval. Belletto settled for fifth, but it was good enough to maintain his overall points edge.
"My fans that came out, I hope everybody enjoyed the show," said the excited Butler. “I drove my tail off tonight, flag to flag."
Sacramento’s Jason Philpot held off Turlock’s Wes Miller to earn the win in the Grand American Modified Division feature, but Miller’s fourth straight top five finish was enough to maintain his lead in the season standings.
Manteca’s Joseph Reichmuth continued his early season domination of the Basically-4-Cylinders class as he cruised to his fifth win in a row, leaving him perfect so far on the year.
"This feels great to win five in a row," said Reichmuth. "I want to thank my entire crew for making this all possible, my mom and dad and all the fans who came out tonight."
The 99 will return to action tonight with the SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series Late Models, which was rained out two weeks ago. Also on the card will be the Western Late Models, Mini Cups, Super Stocks and Bombers.
Escalon’s Eric Holmes season-long frustrations continued at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend.
The three-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West was fast right off the trailer, putting his No. 20 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry at the top of the time charts for the 28-car field during both of the practice sessions. Unfortunately, an electrical short in the tachometer caused a delay in getting on track for qualifying, causing NASCAR to penalize him by allowing only one qualifying lap, which landed him on the outside of row three to start the race.
Holmes made a strong run into the top-three by lap 25, then moved into second on lap 52 and was challenging the leader for position when he began to experience an overheating problem which forced him to retire at lap 130 of the 200-lap race.
Newhall’s Greg Pursley went on to post his fourth series win in five races this season to take a commanding lead in the points standing. Holmes is now seventh in the chase for the championship — 267 points behind Pursley.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 from the Bullring at LVMS can be seen on Thursday on SPEED Channel at 3 p.m.
The series will head next to the road course at Infineon Raceway for the Thunder Valley Casino Resort “200” at Infineon Raceway on June 25 as the companion race to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 on June 26. For ticket information, visit the track’s website at www.infineonraceway.com where several special deals are available.
Madera Speedway will be hot tonight with a rain make-up program featuring LunkerDaddy Late Models, Hobby Stocks, MST, Toyota Sedans, 4-Bangers, NCMA Sprints. Also on June 25, Madera will host an early Fourth of July Celebration Fireworks and Stunt show, plus a great racing program with the SRL Southwest Tour, ASA Truck Tour, LunkerDaddy Late Models, MST, Toyota Sedans, Legends, 4-Bangers and Hobby Stocks with double points up for grabs in all classes.
Chowchilla will be hosting the BCRA Midgets, Sport Modifieds, Super Stocks, Hobby Stocks, 4-Bangers and Sportsman tonight, while Merced goes dark due to the county fair.