Speed­way Hosts Winged Sprint Car Se­ries Opener

Riverbank News - - NEWS - By DALE BOSOWSKI

The Gun Slingers Winged Sprint Car Se­ries was fi­nally able to make its weather de­layed sea­son de­but on Satur­day night, May 12 at the Stockton 99 Speed­way.

The thun­der­ing cars, which are pow­ered by 360 or 410 cubic inch en­gines and race through­out the western US, did not dis­ap­point the fans in their 40lap main.

Au­dra Sas­selli, of Selma, earned the pole po­si­tion for the 11-car field by tak­ing the dash ear­lier in the evening. She would main­tain the top spot through the first half of the race while Eric Humphries, of Chowchilla, pa­tiently worked his way up to sec­ond place af­ter start­ing the race in sixth.

Sas­selli, how­ever, had no de­fense for Humphries when he swooped un­der her and into the lead go­ing into turn num­ber one on lap 21.

“The car took a lit­tle time to come in, but that is how we tried to set it up,” Humphries ex­plained fol­low­ing the race. “The car was just spot on tonight.”

AJ Rus­sell, of Clo­vis, would also get past Sas­selli two laps later, but de­spite a cou­ple of late race yel­low-cau­tion restarts, he could never mount a se­ri­ous chal­lenge to Humphries.

“He was just so good on the restarts. I was try­ing ev­ery trick in my book, but he was just so spot on that I could not make any­thing hap­pen.” said Rus­sell.

Win­ton’s Gor­don Rodgers would fin­ish in third as Sas­selli faded to fourth and Jerry Kobza, of Fol­som, rounded out the top five.

Humphries was thrilled to win the in­au­gu­ral Gun Slingers race at the 99 Speed­way.

“When I was a lit­tle guy I spent a lot of time here watch­ing Harry Bel­letto, Ron Str­miska, Johnny Brazil and all the greats race here,” Humphries said. “I have also put in a lot of laps in the late mod­els so run­ning back here is so fun. This is my home.”

The Gun Slingers Sprint Car Se­ries will re­turn later this sea­son to head­line three Satur­day night pro­grams on June 16, July 14 and Aug. 11.

Joshua Cross of Man­teca started from the pole of the 25-lap B-4s fea­ture, but he was quickly over­taken by Allen Flow­ers, also of Man­teca.Flow­ers would eas­ily main­tain the lead for the re­main­der of the event, which went cau­tion free, to post his first ca­reer vic­tory over Stockton’s Bar­rett Sug­den and Cross.

“This is only my sec­ond race so it is ex­cel­lent. What a great feel­ing,” said the happy Flow­ers. “I knew I had the lead so I was try­ing to fig­ure how far I was ahead, stay calm and not over drive the car.”

The Grand Amer­i­can Mod­i­fieds also made their 99 Speed­way sea­son de­but on Satur­day. Nick Lyons of Loomis set fast time, won his heat, the dash and led all 15 laps of the Mod­i­fied main in a flaw­less per­for­mance.

The 99 will be back in ac­tion on Satur­day, May 19 with the Stockton Late Mod­els fea­tured on a four divi­sion card which also will in­clude the Bombers, B-4s and Mini Cups.

PHOTO BY JES­SICA MCANELLY/JESSIE’S FAST PHO­TOS

Chowchilla driver Eric Humphries cel­e­brates his win at the Stockton Speed­way on Satur­day night, May 12.

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