Another day at the Stockton 99 Speedway saw another run of sharp performances from Oakdale racers on April 16.
Mike Graham, driving his #93 Monte Carlo Super Stock, qualified third and finished fourth in his category. Graham and his crew had the car set up for a strong performance, and it rapidly became one of the cars to beat. Unfortunately, a mechanical problem with the brakes came up to put a bite on his racing efforts.
“I like to drive into the turns hard, but during the final trophy heat we had a brake system failure,” Graham said. “This caused the car to ‘over brake,’ which would then cause the rear of the car to get loose.
“I had to ease up going into the turns to keep the car on course. Because I couldn’t drive the car as hard as I preferred, it required me to take a more conservative approach, negating much of our setup performance set up gains.”
Going into the category main event, Graham and the team thrashed on the braking system and felt comfortable that it was repaired. For the first several laps the car was running very strong and Graham was about to overtake the two cars in front of him to gain the lead, when the braking system failed again, taking the braking system set-up out of whack.
“I was able to drive hard into the turns early on,” Graham said, “then the system went sour again. In order to save the car and my race, I had to ‘roll through the turns’ instead of aggressively attacking the turns. Finishing fourth was definitely better than wrecking.”
He wasn’t the only Oakdale racer at Stockton 99 Speedway, as Mike Fiesen also competed in the Vintage Hard Tops category. These are essentially racecars built and set up like they were in the old days of racing.
Friesen drove his #77M 1941 Plymouth hard top to a third place finish in the category. He took the lead early, but fell back to fourth place, as his car struggled slightly. Then he gathered it up, changing his line approaches into the turns just enough to get back the performance he needed. This allowed him to garner a third place overall finish in the Vintage Hard Top category, finishing only about three seconds behind the winner, Conrad Cavallero of Santa Rosa.