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Father and son current point leaders
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Following the always big 4th of July events, the normal holiday racing hangover kicked in with a much lighter weekend on July 11 and 12.
Last Saturday, Stockton 99 ran an open wheel program featuring the NCMA Sprints in a 30-lap feature, won by Manteca High School teacher Pat Ariaz, while Madera did not run at all.
As a result, a couple of local late model competitors headed up to Roseville’s All American Speedway, which featured twin mains for the stockers, with mixed results. Manteca rookie Jacob Gomes continued to impress, putting up second and sixth place finishes in the 22-car field while Stockton’s Vito Ranuio recorded a fifth and 17th place showing.
Both drivers are expected to be back in Stockton today when the late models return to the 99 Speedway in a NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series card that will also include the Grand American Modifieds, Street Stocks, Mini-Stocks/Mini-Trucks and the Enduros.
Justin Philpott,19, of Tracy, continues to lead the way at Stockton with a solid 81 point lead over Ranuio in the season standings while Justin’s father, the former two-time track champion David Philpott, sits in third.
Ranuio’s treks up to Roseville have vaulted him into third place in the latest NASCAR California rankings. Justin Philpott checks in just one spot behind Ranuio and Gomes sits seventh. All three are also ranked among the top 35 drivers in the NASCAR national rankings.
Of special interest last Saturday at Stockton was the debut of the track’s brand new Figure 8 layout. The six-car field produced several close calls, but no major carnage as Riverbank’s Aaron Coonfield earned the honor of being the inaugural winner.
The Pombo Classic returns to Madera Speedway tonight with round No. 4 of the Super Saturday Series. The open-wheel program will feature fire breathing, 750 horsepower SMRA 410 Supermodifieds in a combined feature with Madera’s 360 Modifieds, plus the Bay Area Racing Association and United States Auto Club Midgets, Legends of the Pacific, USAC Ford Focus Series and NCMA Sprint Cars.
The event honors racing legend Al Pombo of Fresno. During his amazing racing career, which began in the 1940s and stretched into 1970s, Pombo earned more than 500 main event victories, seven NASCAR super-modified titles, and numerous championships at tracks throughout California including the San Jose Speedway, Kearney Bowl and Clovis Speedway.
When the NASCAR Camping World Series West Series heads to 1.98-mile road course at Portland International Raceway for the BI-MART Salute to the Troops 125 on Sunday, defending series champion Eric Holmes will find himself in a very unfamiliar position.
After leading in the series standings since June of 2008, the Escalon driver lost the top spot to Ontario’s Jason Bowles following Bowles third victory of the season at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale on July 4. Holmes now trails Bowles by a 1,364 to 1,340 margin and is determined to regain his perch at the top this weekend. Always strong on road courses, Holmes has placed in the top five in three of his last four opportunities at turning both right and left.
“Ty Joiner (crew chief) and the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota team did a great job preparing the car,” said Holmes. “We’re going to race to win like every other race event and see what happens with the points. It should be a great race.”
Sunday’s West Series race will be televised by SPEED on July 30 beginning at noon.
After a very promising start, Manteca native Scott Speed’s first visit to Chicagoland Raceway turned into another disappointing weekend.             
A strong opening practice and second-place qualifying run put Speed on the front row for last Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup 400 along side of his Red Bull Racing teammate Brian Vickers. It matched his career-best starting position (Homestead in 2008) and was the fourth top-10 qualifying lap of his rookie season.
After staying in the top five early in the race, Speed began to quickly lose positions following his first pit stop as he reported the car “undriveable” because of a loose condition. By lap 60, he had dropped all the way back to 30th after reporting that he had no grip in his tires.
Following an adjustment in his next pit stop, Speed began to work his way back up through the field and was on the verge of moving back in the top 20 when he was collected by Jeff Burton in an accident precipitated after Paul Menard blew a tire entering turn one and lost control of his car.
The Sprint Cup series will have the weekend off before returning to Indianapolis for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 26.