By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – April 18, 2014…With the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo kicking off the season Friday night it was a familiar face popping into victory lane, as National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Brent Kaeding made an early pass of Jonathan Allard to scoop up yet another triumph at the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville.
When it comes to winning Sprint Car races in the Golden State there has been nobody more lucrative over the years than Kaeding, although the victories haven’t come with quite as much regularity as in past seasons, making Friday night a big moment for the two-time Ocean Sprints champ.
“This is pretty awesome to come out here early in the season and get a win right out of the box,” said Kaeding. “Hopefully this will be a sign of things to come for this team. My guys put together a great car this year and I can’t thank them enough for all their support. I was able to get around Jonathan (Allard) after he got into a hole and then I just focused on hitting my line. Our thoughts tonight though are with the Tarlton family and hoping for a speedy recovery with Melissa Tarlton.”
The main event began with Allard and Kaeding on the front row and when the Ed Entz green flag waved on the field it was Allard shooting into the lead. The Ocean Speedway surface was uncharacteristically very slick during the 30-lapper, which made hitting your marks extremely important. Allard was in search of his first win since joining the Tri-C Machine team and looked solid during the opening laps, but as the leaders raced around turns one & two with about a third of the distance down, Kaeding got the opening he needed to get by for the lead.
After that it was clear sailing for Kaeding out front as he survived a couple of double-file restarts and then held off a closing Allard over the final few circuits to take the checkered flag by 0.668 seconds for victory aboard the Al’s Roofing Supply/ High Five Pizza No. 69 Sprinter.
Allard kicked off his bid at the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo title with a runner up finish in the Tri-C Manufacturing/ Red Line Oil No. 3c mount. “We would have liked to end up in victory lane tonight, but I want to congratulate Brent Kaeding on the win,” Allard commented. “I just got into a hole there early on and slipped up enough for Brent to get by. It was a tough track tonight so we’ll take a second and try to come back here next week and get a win.”
Coming home in third and having one of the finest runs of his Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo career was veteran Jerry Bonnema of Corralitos. The long time Sprint Car competitor qualified third fastest to begin the night and looked very strong in the main event, pressuring Allard at times for the runner up spot. “We had a really good night and I couldn’t be happier to be standing up here on the podium,” said the driver of the Corralitos Electric Service/ Airtech No. 58 Sprinter. “I want to thank all of my supporters and everyone that helps us out.”
Lemoore’s Carson Macedo finished fourth in the main event aboard the Elite Landscape Construction No. 21x, while former Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo champion Shane Golobic rounded out the top-five at the helm of the Keith Day Trucking No. 22 machine. Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto came home in sixth, San Jose’s Nick Green finished seventh after starting 18th, which gave him the High Five Pizza Hard Charger Award in the feature. Completing the top-10 in the 30-lap contest were Salinas’ Jeremy Chisum, Tulare’s Dillan Black and Salinas’ Jason Chisum.
Chowchilla’s Eric Humphries scored the win in the 12-lap Last Chance Showdown, while the three eight-lap heat races were picked off by Mitchell Faccinto, Visalia’s Steven Tiner and Brent Kaeding. Stockton’s Brad Furr toured the quarter-mile in 11.899 seconds during qualifying to earn the Ray Scheidts Electric Fast Time Award. Furr then accepted the Nobel Construction Back Row Challenge in the main event and was able to make his way up to 11th, which earned him an additional 11 championship points on top of his finishing points for the feature. The night’s Beer Optics Hard Luck Award went to Jeff Bothelo, who got upside down in the Last Chance Showdown and was done for the night.
A-main finish: 1. 69 Brent Kaeding, 2. 3c Jonathan Allard, 3. 58 Jerry Bonnema, 4. 21x Carson Macedo, 5. 22 Shane Golobic, 6. 37 Mitchell Faccinto, 7. 14 Nick Green, 8. 8 Jeremy Chisum, 9. 21b Dillon Black, 10. 25z Jason Chisum, 11. 2 Brad Furr, 12. 17 Justin Sanders, 13. 72w Kurt Nelson, 14. 88 Koen Shaw, 15. 79 Heath Duinkerken, 16. 39n Nathan Washam, 17. 83m Mike Stallings, 18. 94 Steven Tiner, 19. 99 Wayne Katen, 20. 11 Nick Rescino, 21. 5 Collin Markle, 22. 33h Eric Humphries
The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo will return to the Ocean Speedway next Friday night April 25 for Round 2 of the season. Full results will be available at www.oceanspeedway.com and www.oceansprints.com
Photos by Fred Adams and Fast 4 Media