By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – April 28, 2014…Following a rainout this past weekend the Ocean Sprint Cars presented by Taco Bravo will be eagerly awaiting this Friday night’s second round of competition at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds based Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, California.
The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo opened the season on April 18, prior to last week’s scheduled event getting washed out by rain like much of Northern California did. The event this Friday will continue a busy early season for the Winged 360 Sprint Cars, which will see them return to Ocean Speedway the next two Friday’s, before getting Memorial Day weekend off. The 2014 season is the eighth campaign for the Ocean Sprints and is celebrating its fifth anniversary of partnership with Dennis Wuolett and local San Jose area business Taco Bravo.
Opening night winner on April 18 Brent Kaeding will be gunning to make it back-to-back this Friday night aboard the famed Al’s Roofing Supply No. 69 machine. The National Sprint Car Hall of Famer made an early pass for the lead and never looked back to scoop up yet another Ocean Speedway victory. The two-time Ocean Sprints champion also went on to finish fourth on Saturday with the King of the West 410’s in Placerville that Saturday. Chico’s Jonathan Allard led early on in the feature at the opener and eventually brought home a runner up finish in the Tri-C Manufacturing No. 3c mount. The three-time KWS champ sits two-markers back of Kaeding for the lead going into Friday.
Veteran Jerry Bonnema had one of the strongest nights of his Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo career last Friday, by earning a third place finish in the main event. The driver of the Corralitos Electric Service No. 58 also qualified third quick to begin the evening and ranks third in the standings. Defending Ocean Sprints champ Brad Furr is currently tied with Lemoore’s Carson Macedo for fourth after night one.
Furr set the Ray Scheidts Electric fast time and accepted the Nobel Construction Back Row Challenge on April 18, eventually making his way up to 11th by the checkered aboard the Price Rite Restaurant Equipment No. 2 Sprinter. Macedo made his season debut at the opener and scored a solid fourth in the feature at the helm of the Elite Landscape Construction No. 21x mount.
Former Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo champ Shane Golobic of Fremont finished fifth in the season-opener and stands sixth in the standings, with Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto seventh, last week’s High Five Pizza Hard Charger Award winner Nick Green in eighth, Salinas’ Jeremy Chisum in ninth and brother Jason Chisum, along with Watsonville’s Justin Sanders tied for 10th. Green carved his way from 18th to seventh during the opener to earn the High Five Pizza Hard Charger Award.
More drivers expected Friday night will include Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson, Hanford’s DJ Netto & Collin Markle, Fresno’s Koen & Kyler Shaw, Laton’s Heath Duinkerken, Visalia’s Steven Tiner, San Jose’s Wayne Katen, San Francisco’s Nick Rescino Jr., Tulare’s Dylan Black, Hollister’s Tomas Bray Scully and others.
Friday will also be second 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 $17, seniors 65 & older $16, children 6-12 $15 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.