NASCAR & Auto Racing

Strandwold back in Victory Lane

It's been 13 years since Modesto's Bob Strandwold won a stock car title.

He's just as proud of the one he claimed last week as a car owner as the one more than a decade ago as a driver.

Strandwold teamed up with former rival Dave Byrd to win the StockCar Racing League Wild West Shootout Series, finishing seven points ahead of Modesto's Steve Belletto after the Oct. 13 finale at Altamont Motorsports Park.

Behind the wheel, Strandwold won the old Tri-Holiday Classic at Stockton 99 Speedway in 1995. Both he and Byrd ran in the initial SRL season in 1998. Strandwold stopped driving in 2002.

"It was no different than when I won my title," Strandwold said. "I'm Dave's spotter so I talk to him throughout the whole race. If he feels something in the car I can give my input on what to try. That way I still feel like I have some control."

Byrd, a two-time Stockton 99 champion, won the May 26 race at Madera Speedway. Byrd also won two Western Late Model races at Altamont in a Strandwold car. They hope to repeat the feat next season.

"It's really going to be a good thing," Byrd said. "Bob brings a lot to me, like different ways to qualify I never thought about, how to get extra speed. He knows exactly what I'm doing. It's a really big advantage to have a driver on the other side of the radio."

TOYOTA SHOWDOWN -- Regardless of the Grand National Division championships won by Modesto's Mike David (West) and 17-year-old phenom Joey Logano (East), neither is favored in Saturday's Toyota Showdown at Irwindale Speedway.

Now in its fifth year, the NASCAR regional late model season event has never been won by a division champion. Escalon's Eric Holmes won the Showdown's Elite event in 2004, two years before he won the Grand National West championship.

Holmes secured a spot in this year's festival by winning the final Grand National West race of the season at Altamont Motorsports Park.

An all-star event featuring the top finishers in regional standings, this year drivers can qualify through an open race tonight.

The Grand National race, set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on the Speed Channel, has been increased to 250 laps.

MADERA FINALE -- Fireworks and some wacky events on the track close out the Madera Speedway schedule on Saturday.

First up is the Pumpkin Smash 400, with enduro speedsters dodging or plunging directly into pumpkins on a track coated with soapy water.

There there's the boat drags. Race cars with old boats tied to the back, sans trailers, banging along the ª-mile track. The object is to knock other boats out of the race. Finally the destruction derby, featuring junkers and more pumpkins, precedes the fireworks show. Visit

ALTAMONT EVENTS -- Altamont Motorsports Park outside Tracy is sending the 2007 season out in style. The 24 Hours of Le-Mons begins today at 2:30 p.m., with the gates opening at noon. Old cars, otherwise known as "lemons," endure the weather -- rain or shine -- and each other in the enduro format.

Last week, Elk Grove's Jason Fensler won the 125-lap Big Dog Open stock car race, coming from the back of the field. West Sacramento native Burney Lamar was second and Modesto's Mike Beeler third. Visit

INFINEON PROMOTION -- John Cardinale, who has managed media relations at Infineon Raceway since 1998, has been promoted to the position of Vice President, Communications and Marketing. Cardinale, 42, will assume responsibility for all of the raceway's event marketing and promotions. Visit