By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – May 12, 2014…Continuing the action packed early season of events the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo are set to compete in round number four this Friday night May 16 at Watsonville’s Ocean Speedway. Adding to the excitement of the evening will be the first appearance by the traveling USAC West Coast Wingless 360 Sprint Cars to the quarter-mile bullring.
The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo were set to compete in five consecutive Friday nights to begin the season and even with one rain out this week’s event will mark the fourth show in five weeks since opening the campaign on April 18. Following this Friday’s outing the Winged 360 Sprints will have Memorial Day Weekend off, before resuming action on Friday May 30. Winners so far this season have included Brent Kaeding on two occasions, along with Visalia’s Steven Tiner.
Fremont’s Shane Golobic continues to lead the standings going into this weekend aboard the Keith Day Trucking No. 22 mount. The 2012 Ocean Sprints champion scored a third place finish last Friday for the second week in a row and has been among the top-five in all of the three events held so far this season. Golobic will be gunning for his first victory of the year on Friday night to help extend his 21-marker advantage in the points. In this early season he has certainly been one of most impressive drivers in Northern California and will be looking for some luck to go along with that this weekend.
Looking to cut into Golobic’s advantage on Friday will be Lemoore’s Carson Macedo, who brings the Elite Landscape Construction No. 21x Sprinter into the Ocean Speedway ranking second in the standings. The youngster has finished fourth in all three Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo events run this year and will be shooting for victory on Friday. Fellow Central Valley wheel-man Mitchell Faccinto ranks third in the points and will be searching to improve upon his season best finish of fifth at the helm of the Western Metal Company No. 37 machine. The talented driver is currently in his first full-time season of Winged Sprint Car racing and has a bright future ahead.
Watsonville’s Justin Sanders has captured three straight Winged 360 Sprint Car wins at Placerville Speedway and will be looking for his first of the season at Ocean Speedway on Friday. The always exciting driver of the North County Plastering No. 17 earned a season best Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo finish of second on April 19 and sits fourth in the points heading into this weekend. Defending Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo champ Brad Furr has moved his way back into the top-five of the standings. The Stockton competitor scored a sixth place finish in the feature last week and is gunning to get his first victory of the season on Friday aboard the Price Rite Restaurant Equipment No. 2 Sprinter.
Completing the top-10 in the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo standings going into round four this Friday includes San Jose’s Nick Green, Laton’s Heath Duinkerken, Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson, Salinas’ Jason Chisum and round two winner Steven Tiner of Visalia. More drivers expected Friday will be Campbell’s Bud Kaeding, Salinas’ Jeremy Chisum, Tulare’s Dylan Black, Fresno’s Koen Shaw, Mike Stallings & Anthony Simone, San Francisco’s Nick Rescino Jr., Hanford’s Collin Markle, Los Banos’ Jeff Bothelo, Fremont’s Dustin Golobic, Corralitos’ Jerry Bonnema, San Jose’s Wayne Katen and more.
Friday will also be fourth opportunity for drivers to take advantage of the “Nobel Construction Back Row Challenge,” which returns for the second straight year. The challenge features an extra $1500 on the line each night if the driver eligible accepts the challenge & can win the main event from the tail. The extra cash is courtesy of former San Jose Speedway racer & owner of Nobel Construction Earle Stanton, who is putting up $1000, as well as Ocean Speedway promoter John Prentice, who is putting up $500. If the driver eligible chooses to take the challenge and can win the feature from the last starting spot they’ll go home with $3,000.
The first change up in the proceedings for 2014 is that if a driver accepts the Back Row Challenge & chooses to start in the last position of the main event, they will be awarded with one championship point per position gained during the feature from their official starting spot (which would be last place). As an example, if at the end of the main event they advance 10 spots from their official starting position, they will receive 10 bonus points, in addition to their regular finishing position points. With the championship battle expected to be a tight one this would be a way to maximize points to either get ahead or make up ground in the title fight.
The eligibility for the “Nobel Construction Back Row Challenge” this season has also been shaken up a little. Like last year the driver that sets fast time during the night & transfers through their heat will draw for their A-main starting spot. After drawing their spot the fast time qualifier that transfers out of the heats will have the option to forfeit that starting spot & take the challenge to start from the rear. If that driver refuses then the second fastest qualifier that transfers out of the heats will be given the option to take the challenge. If that driver refuses, the option will not be offered to anyone else.
The front gate at the Ocean Speedway will open at 4:30pm this Friday night with hot laps at 5:15pm, qualifying around 6pm and racing to follow. All seating will be general admission with adult tickets costing $20, seniors 65 & older $19, children 6-12 $15 and kids five and under free. A family pack featuring two adults and two kids is available for $60. 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.