(7/23/2022 – Alex Nieten) Stockton, CA… There’s just something about D.J. Netto at Stockton Dirt Track.
The 26-year-old is known for having a fearless mindset behind the wheel and a heavy right foot, a combination that suits him perfectly when aboard a sprint car on the lightning fast 3/8ths mile oval that is Stockton.
Saturday night proved as much as Netto led all 30 laps of the NARC Fujitsu General Sprint Cars’ Salute to NARC Champion LeRoy Van Conett, surviving a final lap attack from Shane Golobic to win by just a car length and take home a $6,000 prize.
Netto’s victory adds to his Stockton statistics that highlight how strong the Hanford native is at the track. His fifth overall NARC triumph is his second at Stockton after he claimed last year’s season opener. He now owns nine top-threes in 22 career NARC Stockton starts, a 41-percent podium clip. And he has finished fourth or better in 10 of his last 11 series starts there.
“Our car was good and we were able to maintain,” Netto said in victory lane. “I’ve got to thank my dad and uncle for getting me to this point and allowing me to do this and have fun with each other. Corey Guy and Doug Watts do a great job with this car and motor, and Jason Riley does great on the tires.”
Netto led the field to green courtesy of his Sunnyvalley Bacon Dash win with Golobic alongside. Netto drifted up in front of Golobic who looked to Netto’s inside out of turn two. The duo roared side by side into turn three before Netto prevailed with the lead by using a quicker top line.
The leaders set a fast pace and became slightly stretched out in the early laps. Once lap traffic became a factor just before lap 10, though, the battle at the front tightened.
Slower cars were tricky to navigate, and Golobic quickly closed the gap. Heading into turn one on lap 12 Netto tripped up on the cushion and Golobic pounced. The Fremont native dove to the inside and cruised by Netto, pulling him by five car lengths down the backstretch. Just after the pass the race’s first yellow flag flew when a shredded tire sent Dominic Scelzi’s spinning. Stockton’s official scoring determined that the lap had not been completed, handing the lead back to Netto.
“I made a mistake there in traffic,” Netto said of momentarily losing the top spot. “Traffic was very hard to judge. You’re carrying so much more speed than them, and you’re trying to judge where they’re going to go. I made a mistake there and overdrove getting into (turn) one, and that was enough for Shane to capitalize. Fortunately, I guess the yellow came out and put us back up front.”
Netto darted ahead on the restart, but Golobic again stayed within striking distance as they approached traffic. Another issue on the cushion inside of 10 laps to go nearly cost Netto as Golobic looked low, but another timely caution flew for Angelique Bell stopping in turn four.
“The yellows kept coming out at the right time,” Netto explained. “My car was good in clean air, but if I got behind somebody I got real right, so I was just trying to make smooth laps.”
The green flag brought the field back to life with just six circuits remaining, and Golobic stayed right behind Netto as the laps waned. Golobic used a diamond line in turns one and two to get a run down the backstretch each lap and found himself right on Netto’s tail tank as the white flag flew.
The two screamed down the backstretch for the final time with a slower car ahead. Netto looked low to try and clear the car but nearly drifted into them as Golobic built a run on the top. Netto slid to the top and Golobic ducked under him, but Netto had just enough momentum in his Netto Ag/Penny Newman Grain No. 88N to hold on and win by just one tenth of a second.
“I had to throw a Hail Mary there,” Netto said of his last corner move on the slower car. “So, I knew once I spun my tire getting off (turn) four that Shane had to be close, so I just tried to make the car wide coming off the corner and tried to protect the line that I felt had grip. Shane’s really good here. If you come to Stockton, you know you’re going to be running against Shane. I’m happy we were able to come out on top.”
Golobic’s runner-up marked his best finish of the 2022 NARC campaign and his fourth podium this year aboard the NOS Energy Drink/Elk Grove Ford No. 17W.
“I can’t thank my team enough,” Golobic said of his Matt Wood Racing crew. “They gave me the fastest car here, I think. It’s just a pleasure to drive.”
Completing the podium was another driver notching his best NARC result of the season. Bud Kaeding brought the Al’s Roofing Supply No. 69 home third, his first appearance in the top-three this year as he and BK Racing begin to build some momentum.
“I’m just glad to be up here,” Kaeding said. “I’m glad we’re getting going good with our whole team. We’re kind of gaining some steam here for the end of the season, hopefully, and we’ve got some results to prove it.”
The remainder of the top-10 included Tim Kaeding, Mitchell Faccinto, Dominic Scelzi, Willie Croft, Nick Parker, Dylan Bloomfield, and Max Mittry.
FUJITSU GENERAL USA FEATURE (25 laps): 1. D.J. Netto 88N 2. Shane Golobic 17W 3. Bud Kaeding 69 4. Tim Kaeding 42X 5. Mitchell Faccinto 21 6. Dominic Scelzi 41 7. Willie Croft 29 8. Nick Parker 115 9. Dylan Bloomfield 01 10. Max Mittry 2XM 11. Billy Aton 26 12. Chase Majdic 83V 13. Steven Kent 37 14. Angelique Bell 551 15. Richard Brace Jr. 2R
METTEC TITANIUM LAP LEADERS: Netto 1-25
SWIFT METAL FINISHING HARDCHARGER: Nick Parker
ARP FAST QUALIFIER (16 cars): Dominic Scelzi 12.969
BROWN AND MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS HEAT ONE (8 laps): Mittry, Faccinto, Kaeding, Majdic, Scelzi, Kent, Aton, Brace Jr.
KIMO’s TROPICAL CAR WASH HEAT TWO (8 laps): Kaeding, Netto, Golobic, Bloomfield, Parker, Croft, Bell
SUNNYVALLEY “POWERED BY BACON” TROPHY DASH (6 laps): Netto, Golobic, B. Kaeding, Faccinto, T. Kaeding, Mittry
DIRT.TRAVEL DASH (6 laps): Croft, Scelzi, Majdic, Bloomfield, Kent, Parker