By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – August 15, 2014…Tommy Tarlton is always one of the favorites when he signs in at the back gate of the Ocean Speedway, but hasn’t run a full season at the track in 2014 and going into Friday had yet to pick up a win in his four starts with the Ocean Sprints.
If there was ever a night to change that the two-time Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo champion certainly did it last night, by scoring an impressive victory, in what was the final Qualifying Race for the 54th Johnny Key Classic. The Easton, CA driver joins Mason Moore, Bud Kaeding and Greg Decaires as drivers to lock into the Key based on wins in the four Qualifying Races. Tarlton has won the Key twice in his career, the first in 2009 and the second in 2012.
The veteran driver started from the pole in the main event on Friday and other than some pressure from current Ocean Sprints point leader Shane Golobic the first few laps, had his way out front for the duration of the 30-lapper. The victory came aboard the always potent Paul Baines wrenched Elite Landscape Construction/ Tarlton & Son Inc. No. 21 Sprinter out of a solid 29-car field on hand.
“This is a big win for us tonight and I couldn’t be happier to be locked into the Key next weekend,” said an emotional Tarlton on the front stretch. “This is my first win since my wife had her stroke in April and I love her with all my heart and am glad she’s here to enjoy it with me. I want to thank Paul Baines and my whole team that’s behind me. My dad and all of our sponsors that make this possible. We had a great car tonight; hopefully we can come back next Saturday and win another Johnny Key Classic.”
A number of yellows in the feature slowed the pace of things at times, but Tarlton was picture perfect on every double file restart that he had to deal with. Despite not much of a battle for the lead, the racing for second on back was entertaining once again, with slide jobs and side-by-side action prevalent throughout the field. A multitude of position changes were seen among the top-10, with restarts and a racy surface making for some interesting & intense moments.
Hanford’s DJ Netto fought his way forward while making some great moves in the feature to score second at the finish, after dicing it up with Watsonville’s Justin Sanders and Lemoore’s Carson Macedo for much of the final laps. For Netto it was his best finish of the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo season aboard the Netto Agriculture/ Penny Newman Grain No. 88n machine. The 18-year-old led laps at the Key last season and will look to come back for more next weekend.
“We were definitely better on the longer green flag runs so I hated to see those cautions,” Netto commented. “If we could have stayed green I thought I may have had a shot with Tommy in traffic, but he was really fast tonight so I want to congratulate him. The way the last few weeks have gone I’ll take a second tonight though and it gives us some momentum going into the Johnny Key Classic next weekend.”
Sander’s was very fast towards the later stages of the race and brought home his second consecutive podium finish with the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo. The wheel-man of the North County Plastering/ Landcaster Locksmith No. 17 mount was exciting to watch as always. Sander’s goes into next week sitting second in the Civil War Series points and fourth in the Ocean Sprints standings.
“I felt like we had the fastest car there late in the race, so I wished we could have had more laps like we’ll get next week,” said Sanders, who ran second on July 25 with the Ocean Sprints. “The track these past handful of weeks has just been awesome to race on and that’s made it a lot of fun. Hopefully we can have the same at the Johnny Key Classic and be able to put on a great show for the fans next Saturday.”
Macedo crossed the line in fourth to earn yet another top-five finish in the WFO Apparel No. 21x machine. The 18-year-old has finished outside of the top-five just once through the first 10 events of the Ocean Sprints season. Current point leader Shane Golobic of Fremont rounded out the top-five aboard the Keith Day Trucking No. 22 Sprinter.
Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi had a strong run charging from 17th to sixth in the feature. Ocean Sprints winner earlier this season Steven Tiner of Visalia spent time racing with Golobic for second in the feature early on and came home seventh at the finish. Stockton’s Brad Furr was eighth in the rundown, while Laton’s Heath Duinkerken earned the High Five Pizza Hard Charger Award coming from 21st to ninth. Hanford’s Collin Markle rounded out the top-10.
Capturing the 12-lap Last Chance Qualifier was Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox. Picking off eight-lap heat race victories were Steven Tiner, DJ Netto, Justin Sanders and Brad Furr. Birthday boy Shane Golobic blistered the quarter-mile in 11.424 to earn the Ray Scheidts Electric Fast Time Award in the 29-car field. Full results will be available at www.oceanspeedway.com
A-main finish: 1. 21 Tommy Tarlton, 2. 88n DJ Netto, 3. 17 Justin Sanders, 4. 21x Carson Macedo, 5. 22 Shane Golobic, 6. 41 Dominic Scelzi, 7. 94 Steven Tiner, 8. 2 Brad Furr, 9. 79 Heath Duinkerken, 10. 5 Collin Markle, 11. 25z Jason Chisum, 12. 9s Landon Hurst, 13. 88 Koen Shaw, 14. 58 Jerry Bonnema, 15. 3c Jonathan Allard, 16. 31c Justyn Cox, 17. 83sa Jamie Duff, 18. 9j Dustin Golobic, 19. 72w Kurt Nelson, 20. 37 Mitchell Faccinto, 21. 10 Anthony Simone, 22. 92 Kyler Shaw
Ocean Speedway and Taco Bravo will be hosting a Johnny Key Classic Pre-Party at the Taco Bravo location 1950 South Bascom Avenue in Campbell, CA from 5pm to 8:30pm on Friday August 22. All pre-qualified cars and other teams are welcome to come and display their race cars at the event. Help us sell 3000 Taco’s!
Please note an earlier start time is also scheduled for next Saturday August 23rd’s Ocean Sprints vs Civil War Series Johnny Key Classic presented by Al’s Roofing Supply, with the front grandstand gate opening up at 3:30pm. The pit board meeting will be held at 3:45pm with track packing at 4pm and qualifying & racing to follow. This is the same time frame used during all Saturday shows at the Ocean Speedway.
The 50-lap feature pays $7500-to-win, the runner up will receive $3500 and third place will pay $2000. The main event will be a guaranteed $400-to-start, making it the most lucrative Ocean Sprints & Civil War Series race of the season.
There is also a total of $600 up for grabs in the dash at the Key Classic, as well as $300 for the Ray Scheidts Electric Fast Time & $300 for the High Five Pizza Hard Charger. The dash is being sponsored by Thedy Auto Repair in San Jose & Thirty Five Industries in San Jose. Williams Roofing is also sponsoring the lucky number pill draw, where a fan will choose a pill & if the driver starting in that position wins the race, the fan will earn some money and the driver will also receive a bonus.
Lap money is also available for $50 a lap. If interested please email [email protected]
(DJ Netto scored his best Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo finish of the season, by claiming second last night. Fast 4 Media Pic)