STOCKTON, Calif. — Troy Foulger and Philip Shelby won the IMCA modified events during Friday’s Stockton Dirt Track New Year’s Day 2021 kickoff.
Foulger won the 25-lap modified headliner while Shelby survived a 20-lap grind in the SportMods.
Foulger’s familiar orange and red No. 49 took the lead from Robby Sawyer right after a mid-race single file restart. The two veteran modified drivers had a drag race down the backstretch with Foulger showing a lot of power and ducking low going into the third turn to block a cross over move attempt by Sawyer. Sawyer passed polesitter and early leader Jeffrey Hudson on the third lap.
Foulger soon moved into the third position after starting ninth. By the fifth lap, it was forming up to be an often seen Sawyer-Foulger duel. With a 20-car starting field, the three-eighths mile fairgrounds track was evenly filled with the high-powered modifeds. The leaders would soon have to contend with lapped traffic.
While Hudson would slowly fade, Ryan McDaniel would become a contender, passing the third-place runner who was reluctant to give up the spot. Hudson’s race would soon end when he pulled high off the second turn and exited the track.
Meanwhile, Foulger had a comfortable lead and cruised to a 15-car-length advantage over Sawyer at the checkered flag. Sawyer finished six car lengths over McDaniel as eight cars completed the 25-lap distance.
Thirteen Sport Mods took the green lap to start their 20-lap feature, however, the field didn’t make it past the first turn before the race had to be red flagged for a major crash which saw Scott Foster flip after three cars including Shawn Smith tangled.
The race would restart less the two cars which were towed off. The field would only make it to the third turn before Brian Lewis tagged a spinning Theo Fandersandi. The red flag would once again wave as the blocked track and carnage had to be cleared.
Ten cars would now take the green with no official laps scored. Hudson would show a lot of strength and powered to the front leaving a group of cars including Mike Ficklin and Darrin Thomas to battle it out.
The Ficklin-Thomas battle would soon include Bobby Hogge and Phil Marino. A caution would group the field back up and negate Shelby’s advantage. Hogge, running fourth, would spin the fourth turn bringing out a caution and sending him to the tail. Jeremy Hoff would take over the second spot and the restarts put him right on Shelby’s rear bumper.
Hogge quickly moved back into contention, however, he would tag Thomas in the third turn, sending him around. Thomas, who was running third, would have to restart at the rear while Hogge inherited his spot. The restart would give Hoff another shot at Shelby but all he could do could do was get close.
Shelby would take the win in the marathon race over Hoff and Hogge. After the checkered flag, Hogge and Thomas came together as a result of their earlier incident. After some fender rubbing, both cars ended up stalled next to each other in the third turn. After a few minutes, they each restarted and headed to their pits.