Jeff Streeter Ends Long Drought

Jeff Streeter - back in victory lane with IMCA Modified win. (Mark Brooks Photo)

Jeff Streeter – back in victory lane with IMCA Modified win. (Mark Brooks Photo)

By Mike Adaskaveg

Merced Sun-Star

Chowchilla racer Jeff Streeter found victory lane at Merced Speedway last Saturday night, ending a drought that seemed as long as the one affecting his crop dusting business. He dueled with Winton’s Paul Stone and emerged victorious in the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) modified stock car main event.

“It was exciting to win again – there’s no better feeling to win at my home track,” Streeter said. “It was also a thrill to experience the last two laps from the driver’s seat.”

Streeter’s car seemed to slow down after he led Stone through the early circuits of the 20-lap feature. Stone passed him on the outside near the race’s midway point.. Then, a lapped car driven by Jerry Corn of Oakhurst, closed off Stone’s lane with two laps to go.

“I stuck to the inside of the track,” Streeter explained. “I saw the slow car moving higher on the track, and getting into Paul (Stone’s) lane. I knew I would soon have an opportunity to pass them.”

Streeter charged into the lead with one lap to go.

“I hung on as I hit a small bump and moved up a groove,” he explained. “Stone was right there – alongside me. He’s a great driver and I knew we wouldn’t wreck. He put the pressure on right to the checkered flag.”

IMG_8377_Lores

Streeter (1J) held the inside groove as Stone (66P), dinged from a skirmish, made a valiant attempt to reclaim the lead on the last lap of the IMCA feature event. (Mark Brooks Photo)

Stone thought he had the race won prior to encountering Corn.

“I came back to get along side Jeff (Streeter) on the white flag lap, but it was too late – I couldn’t get by him in just one lap. The track was great – there were two fast lanes and either car could pass on the inside or outside.”

Streeter won two features at Merced Speedway in 2013. That year and in previous years, he had traveled as far as Iowa to race in IMCA modified stock car competition.

“The drought nearly killed my business,” Streeter lamented. Some Valley farmers cut back on vegetable acreage and others switched to crops such as almonds and pistachios – resulting in less aerial spraying.

“I had to cut back on my racing and concentrate on keeping the business going,” he explained.

Streeter, 36, has been racing for 20 years. This season, he is hoping to race at Merced Speedway on most weekends, and head to the IMCA Supernationals in September.

The science of setting up a new car has Streeter and his crew busy all week long in preparation for Saturday night racing. His new car has five races on it.

“I totally missed the set-up (of the chassis) the first week of the season, and we faded halfway through the feature,” he explained. “This week we were a little off – but I have a base set-up for the track now.”

Saturday night will be a rematch between Stone and Streeter. Streeter will have a slight disadvantage due to the IMCA’s handicapping rules.

“I’ll be starting further back in the pack,” he added. “The challenge is to make the car work and stay out of trouble.”

 Jeff Streeter (1J) and Paul Stone dueled for the lead of the IMCA Modified Stock car feature event at Merced Speedway. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

Jeff Streeter (1J) and Paul Stone dueled for the lead of the IMCA Modified Stock car feature event at Merced Speedway on opening night. The battle continues this weekend (April 23).

HOBBY STOCKS ADDED TO SATURDAY’S PROGRAM

            A lot will be on the line for Hobby Stock drivers Saturday night at Merced Speedway. Their division was added to the program to make up for a rainout two weeks ago. The top 10 finishers in this week’s main event will be qualified for the April 30 Ted Stofle Classic.

Saturday’s program will be the largest of the young season, with all five of the speedway’s divisions on the card. The IMCA Modified, IMCA SportMod, Valley Sportsman and Mini-Stock divisions will compliment the Hobby Stock division.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for Senior Citizens 65 and older, $10 for students with a valid student identification card, $5 for children 6-12 and $30 for a family four-pack of two adult and two child tickets. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.

The grandstand opens at 5 p.m., with racing beginning at 7 p.m. Merced Speedway is located within the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Merced.

 

4-15-16 Photo Highlights by Photographer Mark Brooks:

IMG_5481_Lores

Mini Stock feature winner Chris Corder (28) passes Kevin Lockerby (54). Lockerby finished fifth.

Chris Corder in Victory Lane.

Chris Corder in the Mini-Stock victory lane.

IMG_7425_Lores

Steve Stone in the IMCA SportMod winner’s circle.

Steve Stone (73) passes Mark Squadrito in route to victory in the IMCA SportMod feature.

Steve Stone (73) passes Mark Squadrito in route to victory in the IMCA SportMod feature.

 

IMG_6786_Lores

Flames burst under Dwayne Short (27)’s SportMod as Rick Diaz spins and Chase Thomas ducks low.

IMG_8322_Lores

Jeff Streeter (1J) duels with Paul Stone on the last lap of the IMCA modified feature – Streeter emerged victorious.

Jeff Streeter ends a long drought as he won the IMCA Modified feature.

Jeff Streeter was all smiles in victory lane as he ended a long drought by winning the IMCA Modified feature. He had not won at Merced Speedway since 2013. 

Rolling Stones Reunion

 

(040216) Merced Speedway - Three racing members of the five original "Rolling Stone" family - brothers Steve, left, and Paul, right, with cousin Ramie, center, are racing at Merced Speedway. Fourth family member, Troy, will soon join them. (Photo by Mike Adaskaveg)

Three racing members of the five original “Rolling Stone” family – brothers Steve, left, and Paul, right, with cousin Ramie, center, are racing at Merced Speedway. Fourth family member, Troy, will soon join them.

By Mike Adaskaveg

Merced Sun-Star

There’s a Rolling Stones reunion this season at Merced Speedway.

No, the famous rock band won’t be at the speedway.

Yes, the famous racing family from Winton will be getting satisfaction as they race together like they did nearly two decades ago.

For cousins Steve and Ramie Stone, time was on their side as they returned to racing after they raised families and conducted business in the Valley. Paul Stone, younger brother of Steve, stuck with racing and travels the country to compete in International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) “modified” stock car competition.

The five original members of Merced Speedway’s “Rolling Stones” raced in the now defunct California Mini-Truck division. This season, they will spend the night together in the IMCA Modified and SportMod divisions. Original group members Steve Stone II and Troy Stone are in the pits helping with the family endeavor.

“When we started racing, everyone knew everyone at the speedway,” Ramie Stone reflected. “Now, there’s a different climate. A new generation is racing. But, the Stone name is still well respected.”

Steve Stone (73) races Rick Diaz in the IMCA SportMod division.

Steve Stone (73) races Rick Diaz in the IMCA SportMod division.

STEVE STONE

“We roughed each other up on Saturday night and we watched videos of it on Sunday afternoons,” Steve Stone says of the family’s early days in racing.

Racer Jack McAda got Paul Stone hooked on racing the mini trucks. He inspired the rest of the family members to build trucks.

“If you are a true racer, the urge to race doesn’t ever leave your body,” says Steve Stone.

As time waits for no one, Steve Stone, 56, retired and un-retired from racing.

“I got a good deal on a SportMod ace car, and I couldn’t pass it up,” he laughs. “I’ll retire again some other time.”

Brother Troy Stone bought Steve’s old car and is preparing it to re-enter comeptition at the Speedway.

When Paul Stone traveled to race in an IMCA series in North Dakota and Saskatchewan last summer, Steve Stone and his wife hopped on their motorcycles and showed up unexpected to help him in the pits.

“He’s top notch,” Steve Stone said of his youngest brother. “When it comes to racing, I look up to my little brother.”

(040216) Merced Speedway - Rolling Stones - Paul Stone (66P) races cousin Ramie Stone (06) during IMCA Modified stock car competition at Merced Speedway. Paul Stone went on to win the feature event. Ramie Stone finished seventh. (Photo by Mike Adaskaveg)

Rolling Stones: Paul Stone (66P) races cousin Ramie Stone (06) during IMCA Modified stock car competition at Merced Speedway. Paul Stone went on to win the feature event. Ramie Stone finished seventh.

RAMIE STONE

The season opening modified race saw things get dicey between Paul and Ramie Stone.

“Paul ran me up into the mud (at the edge of the track). I told that dirty dog I won’t let that happen again,” Ramie Stone says. “Hell yeah, we have discrepancies and we aren’t afraid to let each other know how we feel. We are family, but we are competitive in nature.”

Ramie Stone’s children have grown, so he returned to the racing by budgeting his racing money to the penny in order to compete in the IMCA modified division. He’ll have to keep from crashing to race the entire season. It’s cousin Paul’s old car that Ramie purchased.

“Those four cylinder trucks taught us a lot back then,” Ramie Stone says. “We figured out the track and won a lot of races.”

As time waits for no one, Ramie Stone wants to win another championship.

“My personal goal is a top five in the points or a championship,” he says. “I’m 50 this year. I still have a lot of racing in me.”

“Over the years the family has driven each individual to succeed.” Paul Stone explains.

As Paul Stone travels far to race, he comes home to Merced Speedway to be with family.

“It is a big weekly family reunion – parents, aunts, uncles and cousins in the grandstand,” he says. “I have many fans throughout the country, but nothing beats having blood relatives at the races. I enjoy that most of all.”

Stone is known to help all racers who come to him – he shares his knowledge – which is rare in racing. He draws upon his experiences visiting 20 or more different racetracks a season.

“New experiences and new challenges make you a better driver,” Paul Stone says. “I don’t hide anything.”

Paul Stone can’t always get what he wants, but if he could, it would be a unique race.

“”The perfect race would be starting with an equal playing field,” he says. “Then seeing which driver could out-drive the others. Winning a lot may seem great, but I’d rather to see 20 different drivers win at a track in one season.”

(040216 Modesto, CA) Creevan EFI - . Saturday, April 02, 2016. Staff photo by Mike Adaskaveg.

Paul Stone (66P) takes the inside lane with Randy Brown in the middle and Bubba Nelson on the outside in IMCA Modified feature competition. 

PAUL STONE

“Over the years the family has driven each individual to succeed.” Paul Stone explains.

As Paul Stone travels far to race, he comes home to Merced Speedway to be with family.

“It is a big weekly family reunion – parents, aunts, uncles and cousins in the grandstand,” he says. “I have many fans throughout the country, but nothing beats having blood relatives at the races. I enjoy that most of all.”

Stone is known to help all racers who come to him – he shares his knowledge – which is rare in racing. He draws upon his experiences visiting 20 or more different racetracks a season.

“New experiences and new challenges make you a better driver,” Paul Stone says. “I don’t hide anything.”

Paul Stone can’t always get what he wants, but if he could, it would be a unique race.

“”The perfect race would be starting with an equal playing field,” he says. “Then seeing which driver could out-drive the others. Winning a lot may seem great, but I’d rather to see 20 different drivers win at a track in one season.”

SATURDAY NIGHT AT MERCED SPEEDWAY

IMCA Modifieds and SportMods headline the four-division show at Merced Speedway on Saturday night. Hobby Stocks and Mini-Stocks will also race in the full program that includes qualifying races and feature events for each division.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for Senior Citizens 65 and older, $10 for students with a valid student identification card, $5 for children 6-12 and $30 for a family four-pack of two adult and two child tickets. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.

The grandstands open at 5 p.m., with racing beginning at 7 p.m. Merced Speedway is located within the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Merced.