Now that the dirt has settled after the Outlaws race at the new Stockton 99 Dirt Track at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, here’s a few observations:
*10,572. That’s a lot of people, and Tony and Carol Noceti should be proud of the event they brought to Stockton.
* Much has been said about the traffic situation, and it certainly wasn’t good. The parking pesonnel were overwhelmed by the sheer number of cars. The important thing with the promoters and fair officials know it, and are already making plans to address it for next year’s event.
* The race ended after midnight, but NASCAR star Tony Stewart stood around for 25 minutes and signed autographs despite having practice in Southern California about eight hours later. I didn’t see anyone walk away without one. This is a guy who takes care of his fans.
* Another thing about Stewart and other racers I’ve met — they don’t let other people drive. Stewart qualified in Fontana and flew to Stockton to qualify and race in his heat and the main event. You would think the guy would let someone else drive back to his plane, but he quickly jumped behind the wheel of the SUV and took off to Stockton Airport. He probably figured he could get there faster if he drove, which makes sense.
* The track itself look great and got excellent reviews, but there were 14 turnovers, most in Turns No. 1-2. It made for an exciting night for the fans, and an expensive night for some drives.