Veteran “Slammin” Sam Solari, of Escalon, proved to be in a class by himself as the former two-time track champion drove to a dominating victory in Saturday night’s 50-lap Stockton Late Model feature at the 99 Speedway.
“My guys work so hard on this car at David Racing Products and they have done a great job fine tuning it for me. I have had such a good car over the last couple of years,” Solari said after the May 20 race, giving full credit to his crew. “These guys never give up or quit. They will load it up and have it back up on the hoist tonight preparing it for the next race.”
Solari made it look easy, taking the green flag alongside of Lodi’s Rodney Tripp and quickly jumping to the front of the 10-car field. However, before they could complete a single lap the race came to a screeching halt when Stockton’s Daniel Devore touched another car going down the backstretch, causing his steering to fail and sending him hard into the Turn 3 wall in a shower of sparks.
Fortunately, Devore was not hurt, but a lengthy red flag stoppage was required to clean up the mess.
The race was restarted from scratch, but the result was the same as Solari once again immediately charged to the lead with Stockton’s Larry Tankersley in desperate pursuit. Although Tankersley was able to hang with him over the next 20 laps, Solari gradually began to pull away from him over the second half of the race to post his first win of the new season in convincing fashion.
“I was saving my car a bit early on, then I decided it was time to get away because you never know when somebody might get into you and cause some damage,” Solari explained. “I just didn’t want to see any cautions. You never know what can happen on a restart.”
The 20-lap B-4 main got off to a wild start when Joe Flowers tapped the rear bumper of pole sitter Jordan Mast, both of Manteca, on the opening lap. Mast wobbled all the way down the back straight like a sailor coming back from shore leave before he was finally able to regain control, but not before dropping down to sixth in the 10-car field.
Stockton’s Nick Hall inherited the lead and Flowers stalked him for the next couple of laps looking for a way to get by for the lead. Flowers eventually tried to dive under Hall going into Turn 3, but the pair collided sending Flowers hard into the wall and Hall to the infield with fatal suspension damage.
As his car was being towed away, Flowers attempted to confront Hall over the accident, but they were kept apart, avoiding any further escalation.
Gladly taking full advantage of their misfortune, Stockton’s Jordan Devore grabbed the lead when the race resumed and cruised to the first win of her career over Mast and Stockton’s Jeff Harris.
“This is absolutely amazing. I have worked my butt off for this,” exclaimed Devore, who spent years racing go carts before moving to the B-4 division two seasons ago. “My spotter told me to be patient, they are going to take each other out and sure enough they did.”
Brian Miller, of Railroad Flats, also picked up his first career victory when he used the outside lane to slingshot by Linden’s Alan Rider for the lead on the second lap of the 20-lap Street Stock feature. With Rider having his hands full fending off Stockton’s Barrett Sugden, Miller was able capture the checkered flag without ever being seriously challenged over the remainder of the race.
“We worked hard on the car all day and it was fast.” Miller said. “I never looked back in my mirror. I just wanted to stay out front and go.”
Stockton’s Natalie Harper went wire-to-wire in the 10-lap B-4 Junior main to post her second win of the 2023 season.
The 99 Speedway returns to action on Saturday, June 3 with a Summer Kick Off program featuring the Stockton Late Models, Street Stocks, B4’s, Jr. B4’s and Legends of Kearney Bowl.