This year, they have a new Western Late Model car. Family patriarch John Philpott built the Chevrolet Impala from scratch in his south Tracy shop, where he keeps the cars that his son, David, and grandsons Justin and Matt race.
The new No. 50 car is the one David Philpott plans to drive when NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series opens at Stockton 99’s quarter-mile track April 9 for two races. Justin will be back in his No. 5 Monte Carlo in those events.
They’re also bringing back their Toyota Camry for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West when it returns to Roseville’s All-American Speedway on April 16 for the Toyota/NAPA AutoCare 150. They will take the other cars to compete in a Western Late Model race the night before, April 15, at All-American Speedway’s one-third-mile track
The cars are all named for familiar models but are built to NASCAR specifications. The only resemblance to the cars they’re named for is the stickers that resemble grills, headlights and taillights. Justin Philpott explained that the newest car ended up being classified as a Western Late Model after his grandfather nearly had it finished.
“He started working on a street stock for me and my brother,” Justin Philpott said. “It was more of a late model that he was going to put a street stock body on, and my dad told him you couldn’t do that. He was building a car that was too modern to be a street stock.”
They put in a new $5,500 GM motor, a standard 425-horsepower engine that all Western Late Model cars use.
“We just do a little at a time and do what we can afford, and it turned out to be a pretty nice late model,” Justin Philpott said. “It’s one of the nicest cars we’ve ever had.”
The Philpotts haven’t mapped out their entire season, but they will have to do well at Stockton 99 and the K&N races to make enough money to keep running.
This year, they don’t have a sponsor as they did before, when the local software company Tax Brain supported their cars. They’ve had no luck finding sponsors this year, so the cars are supported by David Philpott’s 11th Street auto repair business.
“It’s so tough with the economy, trying to find anything,” Justin said. “We’ve made 30 or 40 phone calls to companies, trying to talk to the right person. It’s tough everywhere.”
He added that the Camry will be the car to race if they want to get part of the larger purses.
“This class is a lot more money than a late model. You get more exposure in a K&N car than you would in a late model in Stockton or Roseville. They travel all over.”