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Stockton 99 Speedway provides weekend of thrills
During the Mini Stocks race on Sunday, it was Josh Cross going wire-to-wire in the opening 20-lap event, starting at the pole of the 12-car field. Jessica McAnelly/Jessie’s Fast Photos

Defying the odds, Manteca’s Josh Cross pulled off the improbable feat of capturing the victory in all three legs of a Mini Stock division tripleheader at Stockton’s 99 Speedway over this past weekend.

Starting from the fifth position in Saturday’s 19-car field, Cross patiently worked his way up to second place just behind Vic Theberge, of Citrus Heights, by lap nine of the 25-lap main. Cross, along with Manteca’s Joe Flowers, were both able to slide under Theberge a few laps later after the leader was boxed in while trying to lap a back-marker.

Although he was for pressed by the hard charging Flowers for the remainder of the race, Cross was able to hold on to earn his first victory of the 2024 season at the May 18 event.

“I picked my move when I saw Vic approach a slow car on the straightaway. I feel bad for passing him that way, but I needed this one,” Cross said with a smile. “This win really feels good because there was a lot of traffic out there and the competition was really tight tonight.”

After a very short turnaround, Cross was back at the quarter-mile oval on Sunday afternoon, May 19 where the Mini Stocks were scheduled to run a double main in support of the INEX US Legends Car national qualifying race.

Starting from the pole in the 12-car field, Cross went wire-to-wire in the opening 20-lap event, once again leading Flowers and Theberge to the checkered flag.

“Yesterday we raced in the shade and today it was in the heat so we used two completely different setups,” explained Cross of the back-to-back racing days. “We were chasing the track all day on Sunday.”

Cross began the second half of Sunday’s Mini Stock doubleheader from the third row, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise when race leaders Jordan Mast of Manteca, John Sproule of Rocklin, Theberge and Flowers all became tangled up in an accident just before the mid-race mark. Cross was able to take advantage of their misfortune by maneuvering through the mess, jumping from fifth to first in the process.

Once in the lead, Cross proved to be untouchable as he cruised home ahead of Mast and the hard-luck Theberge to complete his three-peat.

“On Friday after practice I was hoping just to get one victory because it has been such a rough start this year,” Cross admitted. “What an exciting weekend. Not many people can say they got three wins in two days.”

With nearly 30 entries cramming the pit area on Saturday in the Legends division, a B-Main was required to pare down the field to a manageable 21 cars for the start in the 35-lap feature.

At the drop of the green flag, Eureka’s Brandon White immediately got the jump on pole-sitter Cody Winchel, of Sebastopol, to grab the lead. That early move would prove to be pivotal as White spent the remainder of the caution free race snaking through traffic while fighting off numerous challengers – including Huntington Beach’s Robby Czub, Winchel, Tracy’s Branden Ruzbarsky and Ukiah’s Cole Brown – to capture a very hard-earned victory.

“It seemed like the race had just started and I looked at the scoreboard on the back straight and it was already lap 30,” White said. “This win means a lot to me because my good friend John passed away recently from a racing accident so this one is for him.”

A total of 25 cars returned on Sunday afternoon for the 50-lap INEX Legends national qualifying race where Upper Lake’s Jeremy Doss outdueled Brown over the final 10 laps, trading the lead on multiple occasions, to capture the win.

Defending track champion Larry Tankersley wasted little time as he immediately grabbed the top spot from pole sitter Steve Fraser, both of Stockton, on the opening lap of Saturday’s 50-lap Stockton Late Model feature.

Although Stockton’s Ty Carlson, Tracy’s Justin Philpott and Stockton’s JoJo Stearns all went nose to tail behind Tankersley for the entire race, none of them were ever able to mount a serious challenge for the lead as Tankersley cruised to his second consecutive win of the young season.

“I felt some pressure the whole race so I knew I had to be on top of my game,” Tankersley said. “We have been racing out here for quite a long time and we have had our hard times, but we have something going right now and it has been paying dividends and we want to keep it going.”

Brandon Jones of Lodi survived to take the win in Saturday’s crash-marred Street Stock feature. Scheduled for 20 laps, the race was mercifully called on lap 12 after four of eight starting cars were sidelined during an endless series of incidents that brought out multiple caution flags.

The Stockton 99 Speedway will next be in action on Saturday, May 25, with the zMAX Tour Pro Late Model Series West, Mini Stocks, Legends of 99, Grand American Modifieds and AAA Energy Systems Pro-4 Modifieds.

Saturday night’s 50-lap Stockton Late Model race saw defending track champion Larry Tankersley capture the victory, his second consecutive win at the track. Jessica McAnelly/Jessie’s Fast Photos