Gui­bor Grabs Checked Flag At Late Model Event

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

For most of the top con­tenders, Satur­day’s Stock­ton Late Model fea­ture was an act in frus­tra­tion and fu­til­ity, but for Man­teca’s Guy Gui­bor it was Christ­mas comes early as the vet­eran driver was handed a much un­ex­pected win on the fi­nal lap.

With only three races re­main­ing in the 2018 sea­son and dou­ble points on the line, Satur­day’s 50-lap race was cru­cial to the driv­ers still in the hunt for the 2018 99 Speed­way track cham­pi­onship.

En­ter­ing the night, ‘Slam­min’ Sam So­lari, of Escalon, held a com­fort­able though hardly in­sur­mount­able lead in the sea­son stand­ings of be­tween 42 to 78 points over the four driv­ers still in se­ri­ous con­tention for the ti­tle – Gary Shafer Jr., of Stock­ton, Seth Hol­man of Sal­ida, Justin Philpott of Tracy and Gree­ley Hills’ Chris Lyons.

Philpott and So­lari sat on the front row as the 16-car field took the green flag to start the 50-lap main.

After out­du­el­ing So­lari in a side by side bat­tle on the open­ing laps Philpott looked vir­tu­ally un­touch­able for the first third of the race un­til he sud­denly slowed to a stop in turn #2 of lap 20 when his power steer­ing in­ex­pli­ca­bly went out.

With Philpott parked in the in­field, So­lari gladly in­her­ited the lead un­til a back marker spun out on lap 29 col­lect­ing Hol­man, who had charged up to fifth place, as the un­for­tu­nate third gen­er­a­tion driver had nowhere to go.

When the race re­sumed, So­lari again pow­ered to the lead while Gui­bor used ev­ery trick in his ar­se­nal to catch him, but So­lari was up to the task hold­ing him at bay as the race wound down to its con­clu­sion.

After tak­ing the white flag, So­lari seemed in to­tal control when he sud­denly be­gan to slide around as if he hit a patch of black ice com­ing out of turn #2. He was able to catch it and re­gain trac­tion but not be­fore a sur­prised Gui­bor was able to slip past him and snatch the check­ered flag for the vic­tory.

“I was keep­ing the pres­sure on him and I just got lucky tonight. I gave it all I had and I couldn’t touch him,” said Gui­bor. “I couldn’t get off the cor­ners like I wanted. I could get up to him, but that was it. I needed him to make a mis­take and luck­ily for me he did.”

Fol­low­ing Gui­bor and So­lari across the fin­ish line were Gui­bor’s team­mate Chris­tian Roche, of Escalon, Aron Shankel, the de­fend­ing 2017 track cham­pion out of Lodi and Lyons.

De­spite the dis­ap­point­ing fin­ish it was a good night for So­lari. With Philpott and Hol­man both get­ting DNFs and Shafer com­ing home well back in the pack, So­lari now has a vise grip on the cham­pi­onship with just two events left on the sched­ule.

“There was oil all over the place and I hit it. It was hor­ri­ble,” ex­plained a very dis­gusted So­lari. “The points are fine, but I would rather win though.”

Philpott was a bit more philo­soph­i­cal as he looked over his car after the race.

“It was a lot of fun tonight. I thought maybe I had a tire go­ing down and sud­denly I couldn’t steer it at all,” said the for­mer twotime track cham­pion. “We have a cou­ple more races, but we are not run­ning for points now. We are out of it, but there is al­ways next year I guess.”

Stock­ton’s Ben Lewis cruised to an easy win in the 25-lap Bomber main to pick up his sec­ond vic­tory of the sea­son.

Lewis took the lead for good on a lap 6 restart and stayed com­fort­ably ahead of the 16-car field for the re­main­der of the event while Joey Sarafin, of Stock­ton and Man­teca’s Robert Dueck sparred with each other for the sec­ond place spot over the last half of the race.

Sarafin was able to make a dar­ing do or die pass on the in­side of Dueck com­ing out of the fi­nal cor­ner to snare run­ner up hon­ors by a bumper over Dueck.

“Once I got out in front I just kind of cruised and clipped the laps off,” said Lewis, who also won his heat and the tro­phy dash. “I kept wait­ing for those guys to come up, but they never did.”

The 16-car Leg­ends of the Pa­cific fea­ture got off to ragged start with four yel­low-cau­tions and two red flag stop­pages in the open­ing four laps. Track of­fi­cials fi­nally re­stored some or­der to the chaos by man­dat­ing sin­gle file restarts for the re­main­der of the race.

Cody Winchel of Se­bastopol would go on to take the win over Santa Rosa’s Cameron Austin and Man­teca’s Chad Nasci­mento.

Stock­ton’s Bar­rett Sug­den held off a de­ter­mined late race charge by An­drew Rum­sey of Stock­ton and Joe Flow­ers of Man­teca for the win in the B-4s fea­ture.

The 99 Speed­way will be back in ac­tion on Satur­day, Sept. 15, with a four divi­sion pro­gram head­lined by the Stock­ton Late Mod­els and Bombers.

PHOTO BY JES­SICA MCANELLY/JESSIE’S FAST PHO­TOS

Man­teca’s Guy Gui­bor, in the Nut Up #90 car, bat­tles Sam So­lari (3) and Aron Shankel (47) in the Stock­ton 99 Late Model com­pe­ti­tion on Satur­day night, Sept. 1.

PHOTO BY JES­SICA MCANELLY/JESSIE’S FAST PHO­TOS

Shown with the tro­phy on Satur­day night, a smil­ing Guy Gui­bor of Man­teca took the check­ered flag.

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