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Tracy racing family earn top spots in Stockton
Danica Patrick sits at fifth place in the points in the open wheel series. - photo by Photo courtesy of DALE BOSOWSKI
The Philpott’s, Tracy’s leading racing family, continued their season long domination of the Western Late Model ranks at the New Stockton 99 Speedway with a clean sweep of last Saturday night’s twin 50-lap features.
David Philpott, a former two-time track champion, held the lead through most of the first race before encountering mechanical woes on lap 32 which forced him to the pits for repairs and handed over the lead to his 19 year old son Justin Philpott. Justin used his early inheritance to full advantage by cruising to his fourth race of the season.
“A couple laps before my dad pitted, I could smell his motor was letting go. I was just hoping he would get out of the way and didn’t put too much oil down where it would spin me out,” said Justin afterward. “It is tough for him, but it’s pretty good for me in points. I love him, I appreciate everything he does.”
The front row of Modesto’s Jeff Belletto and David Philpott in the second feature brought back memories of these two legendary racing families competing for supremacy on the 1⁄4 mile oval as far back as the 1970s. Although Belletto held the early advantage he was soon befallen by mechanical problems that ironically enough allowed David Philpott to grab the lead and ultimately the win.
The younger Philpott finished fourth in the nightcap to extend his lead in the season championship to a near insurmountable 1078 to 977 advantage over his dad.
“In the first race, the rear-seal in the extension housing let go, or Justin, you wouldn’t have won that one,” joked the elder Philpott to his son, “I don’t believe I’ll be able to catch him in points, but I just want him to keep running like he has been running all year.”
Today, the Stockton 99 will again feature the NASCAR Whelen All-American Western Late Models, Grand American Modifieds, Street Stocks and the Bombers. It will also be Kid’s Night with Big Wheel races on the front straight for anyone ages 2 thru 10 with no cost to participate. Contact Kid’s Night Coordinator, Brenda Mays at 649-2727 for additional information.
Rookie Paulie Harraka, 19, from Fairlawn, NJ, held off a fierce charge by Jim Warn in the closing laps of the Toyota/NAPA 150 at Colorado National Speedway last Saturday to capture his first career win in the NASCAR Camping World Series West.
Defending series champion Eric Holmes, of Escalon, finished two laps down in ninth place after experiencing battery problems, but still managed to gain a few points on series leader Jason Bowles of Ontario, who came home in the 13th position.
Bowles now holds a 37 point lead over Holmes with just two races to go.
It is hard to believe that summer is already nearing its end, but Infineon Raceway will close the books on its 2009 schedule of major events with this weekend’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
New Zealand native Scott Dixon, of Team Target/Ganassi, leads the current standings, but his lead is tenuous to say the least.
Dixon squeezed ahead of Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe in the IndyCar Series standings by a mere three points after posting the series record 20th win of his career at Mid Ohio two weeks ago. Incredibly, it was the 12th lead change in just 13 races thus far this season.
With four events to go the battle for the 2009 championship has settled down to Dixon (460 points), Briscoe (457) and Dixon’s teammate Dario Franchitti (440), who returns to the series following last year’s ill fated venture into NASCAR Sprint Cup.
“With the championship, nobody wants to lead it. It's going to come down to the wire,” Dixon said recently. “Penske definitely isn't going to let up. Dario isn't going to let up either.”
Although the championship has boiled down to three drivers they will have plenty of competition at Infineon, which has seen four different winners since the open wheel series returned to the wine country in 2005 including three time Indy 500 and “Dancing With the Stars” champion Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Will Power, second generation driver Graham Rahal, 2006 race winner Marco Andretti, Justin Wilson and fan favorite Danica Patrick.
It could be the final Northern California appearance for Patrick in open wheel racing as rumors continue to swirl that she may be headed for NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2010. Although her future is uncertain, there is no doubt that she has put together a solid, consistent record in 2009 which has earned her a solid fifth in the points with 321.
This weekend’s full schedule at Infineon also includes the Firestone Indy Lights, Formula D Drifting and a Historic Grand Prix. Sunday’s 75-lap Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma main event is scheduled to take the green flag beginning at 2:45 p.m. The race will be televised on Versus.
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