In a unique ‘father-son’ on track success story, Oakdale’s Mike Graham (owner of the Exhaust Pros of Oakdale) and his son, Tyler Guzman, both won their category heat races with ease and made easy work of the competition in their respective “Trophy Dash” events on Saturday, April 9 at the Stockton 99 Speedway.
The wins came in the Whelen All American Series Opening Night 2011 show in Stockton and featured four main categories of competition (Western Late Model Stock Cars, Grand American Modified, Super Stocks, and Bomber).
The event features practice time to allow the racers competing in each category to test and adjust the setups in their race cars for the track and weather conditions. Qualifying is utilized to place racers in their respective starting positions in the preliminary racing heats. The racers are divided between two heats and the quickest drivers transfer to the trophy dash. In addition, the results of the two heat races will determine each driver starting position in the ‘Main.’ The Main determines the overall winner for that category.
Both of the Oakdale race cars are numbered 93, the birth year of Guzman. Graham races in the Super Stock category and his son races in the “Bomber” category. They both were qualified at the top in their respective category 30-lap “Main Events” and both had the cars to beat.
A flat tire left Guzman with a 10th place finish in his main event, while Graham also suffered unexpected problems (fuel leak) in his category’s 30-lap main event to finish eighth. But honors still went their way after fast times during qualifying and in the trophy dash, which they both won.
The Late Model Stock Cars are similar in appearance to their ‘big brother’ NASCAR Sprint Cup Cars. In this category, Todd Corral (Oakdale), Jeff and Nic Belletto (Modesto), Guy Guibor (Manteca) and Brock Monroe (Escalon) all contested in this top level division.
Monroe (in the #42) finished 13th in the first 50-lap main and had a real rough go of it in the 2nd 50-lap main, as he got caught up in a collision on the first lap, relegating him to a 20th position finish. Coral (in the #16 West Lane Towing Monte Carlo) had a rough go of it, finishing 20th in the first 50-lap main and 18th in the second event.
In the Grand American Modified class, Ryan Stepps of Oakdale (driving the #98 Ferrarese’s Deli late model modified) had to put in extra effort to get his race car running. He and his crew had to thrash long hours to get their ‘back up’ car running. This prevented them from getting in any practice and test sessions prior to the racing action. This forced them to start from the back of the field, putting them in a serious hole, as the track can be difficult to make up spots during the race. He ended up finishing 14th as he was collected in an on track incident prior to the event conclusion. He was able to collect the valuable points needed toward the season category championship. Stepps is known as one of the better racers in the category, as he won the 2010 “Rookie of the Year” award in the Modified class.
The tight 1/4–mile asphalt race track in Stockton provides for plenty of exciting racing, with plenty of spinouts and tight passing. Depending on the category contested, average lap speeds range from 48 to 65 plus mph and lap times of 13 to 18 seconds.