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Defending champion Tankersley wins Stockton 99 season opener
In the Late Model event at Stockton 99 Speedway on April 20, Larry Tankersley, in the No. 9 car, gets under Sam Solari, driving the No. 22 car. Photo By Jessica McAnelly/Jessie’s Fast Photos

After Stockton’s Larry Tankersley and Salida’s Sam Solari slugged it out for the Stockton Late Model track championship throughout the 2023 season, which was ultimately won by Tankersley, the pair quickly renewed their fierce rivalry in the 2024 season opener at the 99 Speedway on Saturday night.

Sharing the front row of the 14-car field to start the 50-lap main on April 20, Solari was able to nudge his way ahead of Tankersley on the opening lap. Ty Carlson and JoJo Stearns, both of Stockton, quickly joined in the fray and the four of them played cat and mouse for the lead throughout the race.

A mid race restart allowed Tankersley to bang his way by Solari to retake the lead. Following a late race restart, Solari tried to return the favor as the pair went door to door, but Tankersley was able to stave him off to secure the win.

Joe Flowers, of Manteca, grabbed the lead to start the 25-lap Mini Stock main (formerly the B-4s), but an engine failure on the third lap put an abrupt end to his evening. Rocklin’s John Sproule inherited the top spot and never looked back as he cruised to the win over Manteca’s Josh Cross.

The new Legends of 99 division put on a great show in their premiere as brothers Wyatt and Zach Sansom traded the top spot on multiple occasions throughout the 35-lap feature. Wyatt stormed into the lead on lap 27 and held off his brother’s repeated challenges over the final laps to earn a hard-fought victory.

Brandon Jones, the 2023 class champion out of Lodi, went wire-to-wire in the 20-lap Pure Stock main, stretching his lead to over eight seconds on runner-up Jeremy Tucker of Stockton at the checkered flag.

The Stockton 99 Speedway will next be back in action on Saturday, May 4, with the Spears Pro Late Models, Mini Stocks, Legends of 99 and Bandoleros.

A happy Larry Tankersley celebrates his season opening victory in the Late Model race on Saturday night, April 20 at the Stockton 99 Speedway. Photo By Jessica McAnelly/Jessie’s Fast Photos