By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – July 27, 2014…Campbell, California’s Bud Kaeding became the second driver to lock his way into the 54th running of the prestigious Johnny Key Classic, following his first victory of the season with the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo on Friday night at Ocean Speedway.
Kaeding, the 1996 Johnny Key Classic champion joins Princeton’s Mason Moore as one of two drivers guaranteed a starting spot in the August 23 event so far, which will be co-sanctioned this year between the Civil War Sprint Car Series and the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo.
Friday’s event continued a string of tremendous races at the quarter-mile clay oval on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.
Kaeding had a back and forth battle with Watsonville’s Justin Sanders, which kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. Neither driver gave an inch and threw slide job after slide job, but Kaeding was able to hit his marks and cross the checkered flag by half a second to claim the victory in the Williams Motorsports/ Alviso Rock No. 0 mount.
“That was a heckuva race tonight and I have to give props to the track prep guys for giving us another amazing track this week,” said Kaeding. “I want to give a big thanks to Morrie & Katie Williams and this whole Williams Motorsports team for giving me the opportunity to drive this car. I’m happy we’re locked into the Key Classic and we’ll be trying hard to win that race. We’re getting ready to head back to Knoxville soon so I am really looking forward to that.”
Sanders had his best finish of the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo season by running second in the North County Plastering/ Lancaster Locksmith No. 17 machine. In addition to racing with Kaeding for the lead he was also locked in an entertaining fight with Lemoore’s Carson Macedo over the first half of the race. Sanders officially led lap 23, before Kaeding got back by on a restart.
“That was a real fun race tonight and it’s good to be back up here on the podium at Ocean Speedway,” Sanders commented. “We had another awesome race track and I think I could have won this deal if it weren’t for the last double file restart. I want to thank my whole team for supporting me all year and all of our sponsors that stick by our side. We’ll be back here next month looking for a win.”
Macedo crossed the stripe in third to record yet another consistent finish at the helm of the WFO Apparel/ Tarlton & Son Inc. No. 21x Sprinter. The 18-year-old has finished outside of the top-five just once all year with the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo.
“We’ve had a really good season so far and love coming to the Ocean Speedway to race with the Taco Bravo Sprints,” Macedo said. “I want to thank the Tarlton’s, all my sponsors and my dad for helping me to get up here on the podium again. Pretty exciting race again tonight and I hope all the fans enjoyed it. We’re closing in on a win and can’t wait for the next race here.”
Hanford’s DJ Netto came home fourth, with Fremont’s Shane Golobic rounding out the top-five. The top-10 was completed by 13th starter Steven Tiner, who actually had to go to the rear near the start of the race, Salinas’ Jeremy Chisum, Fresno’s Kyler Shaw, 17th starter Brad Furr of Stockton and Laton’s Heath Duinkerken. Jerry Bonnema earned the Beer Optics Hard Luck Award after a part failure sent him way off turn four into the fence, ultimately ending his night. Jason Chisum unofficially will win the High Five Pizza Hard Charger Award by racing from 21st to 12th.
The three heat races held during the evening were captured by Heath Duinkerken, Bud Kaeding and DJ Netto. Mitchell Faccinto began the night by setting the Ray Scheidts Electric Fast Time Award with a clocking of 11.759 around the Ocean Speedway quarter-mile. Full results are available by clicking on the results tab of www.oceanspeedway.com
Due to a mistake in the schedule the Taco Bravo Sprints will not be running on Friday August 8. All the other scheduled classes will still be running that night. The next event for the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo will be on Friday August 15, which will be the final Johnny Key Classic Qualifying Race. The next Johnny Key Qualifier will occur on Saturday night August 9 at the Placerville Speedway during the annual Mark Forni Classic.
Photos by Steve Lafond Tear Off Heaven Fotos & Fast 4 Media