Tony Noceti knows it will be hard to top the 2013 debut of Stockton 99’s dirt track, where the World of Outlaws christened the 3/8ths-mile oval in front of a capacity crowd of 10,572.
But he is certainly trying. Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson won that race in a thriller over San Jose’s Tim Kaeding.
For this weekend’s event, Noceti is putting the spotlight on World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser. He was to be presented with a key to the city of Stockton and scheduled to attend a dinner Thursday night with five couples who won seats at Kinser’s table in a promotion.
Noceti expects another sellout Saturday.
“We have a few thousand general-admission seats left, and those will go with walkups by the time we open up Saturday,” Noceti said. “We were the only track on the entire World of Outlaws circuit to sell out last season, and we probably turned away 4,000 people at the gates.”
Paul McMahan, an Elk Grove native who now drives out of Nashville, Tenn., is off to a blistering start. McMahan, who started his career as a teenager racing at Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway and Placerville Speedway, leads five-time Outlaws champ Donny Schatz by 21 points after eight races.
Kinser, in his farewell season and driving for three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, is fourth in points, 35 behind McMahan. Kinser is the winningest sprint car driver of all-time. He has claimed the World of Outlaws title a record 20 times and has 577 career victories, including 12 titles at the prestigious Knoxville Nationals in Iowa and 12 victories at California’s biggest race – the Gold Cup Race of Champions in Chico.
Other drivers competing Saturday are defending World of Outlaws champion Daryn Pittman, 84-time World of Outlaws winner Joey Saldana and Grass Valley’s Brad Sweet, who is fifth in points.
Last year’s event included four heats, a dash and B and C main events. For more information, go to www.stocktondirttrack.com.
Racing community remembers two drivers
Local motor sports fans are mourning the loss of two popular drivers who passed away last month, E.J. Dolner and Donnie Tilford.
Dolner, 88, was a pioneer at West Capital Raceway in West Sacramento and raced in the USAC Silver Crown series. Tilford, 58, was a multiple super stock division champion at Placerville Speedway.
“E.J. and Donnie were legends in Placerville,” said Walt Carmichael, who won multiple street stock championships at Placerville Speedway. “Both were awesome drivers and incredible guys. They were two of the greats.”
Tilford came from a family of racers. His father, Don, raced for years, and Donnie Tilford’s sons and nephews have raced in Placerville over the years. Tilford’s nephew, Jon Tilford, raced for him in 2006 and won the Placerville championship.
A “Tribute to Donnie Tilford Night” is scheduled for Aug. 30 at Placerville Speedway, officials said. Jon Tilford said the family will field four cars – two Late Models and two Street Stocks –in the season opener April 5. Donnie Tilford’s son, Nathan Tilford, will drive a Street Stock.
Services for Tilford are pending. A celebration of Dolner’s life is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Bill McAnally’s NAPA Auto Care Center, 900 Riverside Ave., Roseville.
24 Hours of LeMons this Saturday in Sonoma
The Sears Pointless is the fourth event in the 24 Hours of LeMons Series and will be run Saturday and Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.
Several area drivers will compete in the endurance road-racing series, which will host 20 events across the country in 2014. All cars must be bought and prepared for no more than $500. Of course, requisite costs for driver safety don’t count against the $500 cap, but the creativity in creating a LeMons car is fun to see. And, the drivers and race teams certainly don’t take themselves too seriously.
Area teams competing this weekend include How are Those Guys Winning of Folsom, Sacramento’s Panting Polar Bear Racing and Communists R Not Us, and Rocklin’s Subpar Motorsports.
For more information, go to www.racesonoma.com.
Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at email@example.com.