By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – July 21, 2014…One of the biggest events of the season so far for the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo will fire off this Friday night July 25, with the second Johnny Key Classic Qualifying Race taking place at the always exciting Ocean Speedway in Watsonville. It will also mark round number nine of 15 in the battle for the Taco Bravo championship at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds based quarter-mile.
Adding even more excitement to the 54th Johnny Key Classic this year is the fact it will be a Civil War 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster vs. Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo event for the first time.
The Key Classic is utilizing the same format it has in past years; however, there are two Qualifying Nights held at Ocean Speedway with the Ocean Sprints, as well as two Qualifying Nights held outside of the track with Civil War. The two Qualifying Shows at Ocean Speedway will be this Friday July 25 & then Friday August 15. The first Qualifying Night was held on July 5 at Petaluma Speedway & the other event outside of Ocean Speedway occurs with Civil War on August 9 during the annual Mark Forni Classic at Placerville Speedway.
The A-main winners during each of those four events will be locked into the 54th Johnny Key Classic on Saturday August 23. This year the highest point earner not locked into the race in both the Civil War Series presented by Flowmaster and the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo will also be locked into the Dash, which pits all of the locked-in drivers against each other to set the first three rows of the 50-lap main event.
Princeton’s Mason Moore picked up the Civil War Series victory on July 5 in Petaluma and by doing so, became the first driver to lock his way into the Johnny Key Classic.
A stout field of Winged 360 Sprint Cars is expected to invade the Ocean Speedway this Friday and they’ll all be chasing current Ocean Sprints point leader Shane Golobic, who scored his first Taco Bravo win of the season last Friday. The Fremont, CA driver started in the third row last week and held off a relentless Bud Kaeding late in the race to earn his first victory at the track in over a year. Golobic will look to duplicate that performance this Friday night aboard the Keith Day Trucking No. 22 mount.
Defending Ocean Sprints champ Brad Furr goes into the weekend ranking second in the standings, 52-markers behind Golobic. The driver of the Price Rite Restaurant Equipment No. 2 Sprinter set his fourth Ray Scheidts Electric Fast Time of the season last Friday and finished fifth in the main event. Furr will be gunning for his third Taco Bravo Sprints win of the season Friday to try and lock into the 54th running of the Johnny Key Classic.
Mr. Consistency Carson Macedo comes into Friday’s Key Qualifier sitting third in the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo standings and is just 17-digits back of Furr for second. The 18-year-old from Lemoore finished third last week at Ocean Speedway, which marked his seventh top-five finish in the eight Ocean Sprints events held this season. Macedo will bring the WFO Apparel No. 21x machine into the track Friday looking for his first career win.
Watsonville’s Justin Sanders maintains the fourth spot in the Ocean Sprints standings and is coming off one of his best runs of the season at Ocean Speedway last Friday, having carved his way from 11th to fourth in the 30-lapper. The always hard charging wheel-man of the North County Plastering No. 17 will be another driver looking to bring home his first Taco Bravo victory of the year on Friday evening.
Looking for redemption this week after a tough ending last Friday will certainly be Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto, who rounds out the top-five in the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo points. The 22-year-old is only 15-markers behind Sanders for the fourth spot in the standings, as he continues his first full-time campaign in the Western Metal No. 37. Faccinto last week led the first 14-laps in the feature, but would spin around while racing with Shane Golobic for the lead in lapped traffic.
Completing the top-10 in the Taco Bravo standings going into Friday’s round number nine for the Ocean Sprints are Fresno’s Koen Shaw, Salinas’ Jason Chisum, Salinas’ Jeremy Chisum, Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson and Laton’s Heath Duinkerken.
Two-time Johnny Key Classic champion Tommy Tarlton of Easton is expected to be back in action with the Ocean Sprints on Friday. The two-time Taco Bravo titlist will be gunning for his first win of the year at the track to try and lock into the 54th Key Classic. Tarlton’s last start at Ocean Speedway saw him charge from 19th to third with the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series aboard the always potent Elite Landscape Construction No. 21 machine.
Howard Kaeding Classic winner Bud Kaeding of Campbell will bring the Williams Motorsports No. 0 Sprinter into Friday coming off a runner up last week with the Ocean Sprints. The three-time USAC Silver Crown champ captured the Johnny Key Classic in his rookie year way back in 1996 and will be gunning to earn a locked-in spot come Friday. Chico’s Jonathan Allard is also a possibility for Friday night in the Tri-C Manufacturing No. 3c mount. The three-time KWS titlist claimed an Ocean Sprints win on May 30 and also scored a King of the West victory at Ocean Speedway on June 20.
More drivers expected for Friday’s Johnny Key Classic Qualifying Race will include Hanford’s DJ Netto & Collin Markle, Corralitos’ Jerry Bonnema, Fremont’s Dustin Golobic, Tulare’s Dylan Black, Fresno’s Anthony Simone & Kyler Shaw, San Jose’s Nick Ringo Jr., San Francisco’s Nick Rescino Jr., Hollister’s Tomas Bray Scully and others.
The front gate at the Ocean Speedway will open at 4:30pm this Friday night July 25 with hot laps at 5:15pm, qualifying around 6pm and racing to follow. All seating will be general admission with adult tickets costing $17, seniors 65 & older $16, children 6-12 $13 and kids five and under free. A family pack featuring two adults and two kids is available for $55. The Ocean Speedway is located on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, California with the physical address being 2601 East Lake Ave, Watsonville, CA 95076.
Ocean Speedway & the Ocean Sprints would like to thank Taco Bravo, High Five Pizza, Nobel Construction, Ray Scheidt’s Electric, Beer Optics, B Scadden Designs, Hoosier Tires West and Kaeding Performance for their support.
Upcoming Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo events at Ocean Speedway
Friday July 25 (Johnny Key Qualifying Race Number Two)
Friday August 8
Friday August 15 (Johnny Key Qualifying Race Number Four)
Saturday August 23 (54th Johnny Key Classic Ocean Sprints vs Civil War)
Fast 4 Media Pic of Mitchell Faccinto in the Western Metal Company No. 37 Sprint Car