Harry Belletto of Modesto was hearing the rumblings, and they were confirmed Thursday when he picked up his phone and heard Tony Noceti on the other end.
Noceti and Stockton 99 Speedway co-owner Bob Hunefeld of Stockton were still negotiating a five-year lease, and the French Camp native plans to reopen the track that ran for 60 years before shutting down following the 2006 NASCAR season.
"He just said they ... had all the seats, bleachers, lights and all that stuff back again," said Belletto, who won three track championships at 99 and has raced this year at Madera Speedway. "(Noceti) said, 'Are you happy now, Harry?' I said yes. There could be a possibility of five Bellettos on that racetrack. I'm glad to see it."
The track was supposed to succumb to development, but the crash of the housing market changed all that, and a contract Hunefeld and co-owner Ken Clapp had with a development company expired March 31.
Hunefeld said Thursday he and Noceti began talking last fall with Noceti, a longtime racer who attended East Union High School in Manteca, expressing an interest in purchasing the land.
"We couldn't agree on that, so he said he'd like to rent the place," he said.
Noceti, who didn't return a call from The Bee on Thursday, and wife Carol have begun the clean-up process at the facility, which Hunefeld said is "a complete mess." He said copper wiring has been stolen, the press box and house trailer are "just terrible," and the track has been vandalized.
"He's done a lot of work already," Hunefeld said.