Speed­way’s Late Model Race Fea­tures Fight To The Fin­ish

The Oakdale Leader - - SPORTS - By DALE BOSOWSKI Rac­ing Cor­re­spon­dent

Gary Shafer Jr. came out on top of a wild three-way shootout to earn his first vic­tory of the sea­son at the Stock­ton 99 Speed­way on Satur­day night.

Shafer, of Stock­ton, started on the pole in the 11-car field for the Aug. 25 com­pe­ti­tion, along­side of Justin Philpott, the for­mer twotime track cham­pion from Tracy, for the 30-lap Stock­ton Late Model fea­ture.

Shafer grabbed the early lead while Philpott set­tled in right be­hind him and im­me­di­ately be­gan prob­ing for a way to pass.

Start­ing from the third row Sam So­lari, the sea­son points leader from Escalon, soon joined the fray, pulling to the in­side of Philpott in an at­tempt to take over the sec­ond spot.

The pair raced in a dead heat for a cou­ple of laps un­til Philpott had a slight bob­ble com­ing out of turn #4 of lap 12 which al­lowed So­lari to inch ahead of him and set his sights on Shafer.

So­lari got his op­por­tu­nity on a lap 17 yel­low-cau­tion restart when he was able to power his way around the out­side of Shafer and into the lead de­spite brush­ing the wall in the process.

But just as the restarts can give, they can also take away as So­lari dis­cov­ered three laps later when Sal­ida’s Seth Hol­man brought out a yel­low af­ter he spun around on lap 20. Shafer was able to take back the top spot when he and Philpott power trained their way by So­lari on the out­side dur­ing the restart.

So­lari was not done, how­ever, as he and Philpott bat­tled for the sec­ond spot for the re­main­der of the race al­low­ing a grate­ful Shafer to grad­u­ally pull away for the vic­tory.

“We had a great car all night,” said Shafer, who also won his heat and the tro­phy dash. “I was thank­ful for that sec­ond cau­tion. We raced hard un­til I was able to pull ahead and from there I never looked back.”

So­lari was able to edge in­side of Philpott on the clos­ing laps and the pair went at it side by side un­til the check­ered flag where So­lari held the edge by about a foot to take a hard earned sec­ond.

“This was a good re­sult con­sid­er­ing we knocked the toe out when I ran out of room and touched the wall trying to get past Shafer,” ex­plained So­lari. “Next week we have dou­ble points and if we can get through that we should be on our way to the cham­pi­onship.”

Some­times you can pay a heavy price for win­ning as Shafer would learn when Justin Philpott and his grandma Va­lerie, who is known for dis­tribut­ing her home baked good­ies to the crews in the pits, came by to of­fer their con­grat­u­la­tions to Shafer on his vic­tory af­ter the race.

As the gra­cious pair left to re­turn to the Philpott team pit Va­lerie turned and added with a smile, “But don’t ex­pect any cook­ies be­fore next week’s race though.”

Stock­ton’s Kim­berly Rouse used her pole po­si­tion in the 11-car Bomber fea­ture to full ad­van­tage by charg­ing into the lead on the open­ing green flag to post a strong wire-to-wire win.

“My crew put in a lot of hours the past cou­ple of days to get it to turn bet­ter and it paid off tonight. I am thank­ful to them,” said Rouse as she cel­e­brated her sec­ond win of the sea­son.

The race was marred by a lengthy red flag stop­page when Stock­ton’s Darin Adler and Kyle Sin­gle­ton, of Clo­vis, tan­gled in a scary in­ci­dent while fight­ing for sec­ond place on lap 20.

Look­ing like some­thing out of the Joie Chit­wood Stunt Show from the old Wide World of Sports pro­gram, Adler climbed onto Sin­gle­ton’s car and was launched air­borne into the tires that guard the outer wall turn #3 pit exit, send­ing sev­eral of the huge trac­tor tires fly­ing in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions.

The tires did their job as no one was hurt.

Stock­ton’s An­drew Rum­sey held off a late race charge by Bar­rett Sug­den, of Stock­ton, to post a wireto-wire vic­tory in the B-4 main.

A pass the hat do­na­tion drive in the grand­stands and pits raised ap­prox­i­mately $2,000 to help track worker Shaun Davis who re­mains in the hospi­tal with mul­ti­ple non-life threat­en­ing in­juries af­ter being struck by a car dur­ing a cau­tion last Satur­day.

The 99 Speed­way will be back in ac­tion on Satur­day, Sept. 1, with dou­ble points on the line for the Stock­ton Late Mod­els, B-4s, Bombers and Le­gends of the Pa­cific.

PHOTO BY JES­SICA MCANELLY/JESSIE’S FAST PHOTOS

Driver Gary Shafer Jr. of Stock­ton smiles af­ter he bat­tled his way to a hard-earned vic­tory in the Late Model Fea­ture on Satur­day night at Stock­ton 99 Speed­way.

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