By Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – May 23, 2010…When it comes to thrilling races at the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway San Jose, California’s Tim Kaeding is routinely in the thick of things each time and on Saturday night the former King of California once again put his name towards the front of the field and claimed victory in the 30-lap feature with the Ocean 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo.
The most recent 360 sprint car event at the Tulare, California based track had seen Kaeding score the win at the annual Trophy Cup, coming from 24th to first during the final night’s main event and his victory this past Saturday marked his third career triumph with the Ocean Sprints.
“That was some of the most fun I’ve had racing there and trading the lead with Kyle Larson and Tommy Tarlton through traffic because you can’t get much better than that,” said Kaeding, who also captured the final two events of the 2009 Ocean Sprints season last October. “We had a real great track tonight so that made for some great racing again here and I have to thank Dennis & Teresa Roth, my whole team and all you fans for coming out tonight.”
With the number zero pill being drawn it put fast-qualifier Tommy Tarlton on the pole with T. Kaeding on the outside and when the green flag waved the San Jose driver jumped into the lead aboard his Roth Motorsports, DTR Transport No. 83. Early on it was apparent that great racing was going to be seen as drivers used every inch of the expertly prepared Thunderbowl Raceway 1/3 mile clay oval. Following a couple of caution periods Tarlton started to hound the rear of Kaeding and with a handful of laps down the current Ocean Sprint Car Series point leader and defending champ made the move by to claim the lead.
The final caution of the event would come out on lap-six for Grass Valley’s Jason Statler and Vancouver, Washington’s Zach Zimmerly, who had both come to a stop in turn four. When flagman Willie Williams waved the green once again the final 24-circuits were clicked off caution free and featured some tremendous racing as side-by-side action was seen all throughout the pack. Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson made his presence known on the lap-six restart by carving his way into fourth after starting from the sixth row aboard the Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino No. 99 mount. The fight for the lead remained a torrid one as T. Kaeding closed back in and around lap-12 would make his way back by Tarlton for the top-spot.
Tarlton showed that he wasn’t done just yet however, and returned the favor shortly after to re-claim the lead as the pair put on a thrilling show for the crowd on hand. As the midway point was reached Larson continued his charge to the front and dispatched of Salinas, CA’s Ronnie Day to claim third, before quickly closing in and making it a three-way fight for the lead. The trio proceeded to put on some of the best wheel-to-wheel racing you could ever see as they went three-wide multiple times with lapped cars in the mix every step of the way.
With about 10-laps remaining Larson then got the bite needed to slip under both Tarlton and T. Kaeding to make it three-abreast down the front stretch and push his way to the front of the field as the crowd got on their feet. “TK” stuck his machine at the tip-top of the raceway though and charged back around Larson to move to the front of the field off turn two heading down the back straightaway. The 17-year-old youngster stayed with it and got side-by-side with the Roth No. 83 sprinter multiple times over the next few laps, until T. Kaeding got into a groove and put some distance between he and the rest of the field.
With T. Kaeding stretching the lead out Larson now had to deal with Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, who had come out of nowhere and sliced his way under the youngster with just six-laps remaining to steal the runner-up spot aboard his Al’s Roofing Supply, High Five Pizza No. 69. As “TK” had the race in hand out front the battle to watch was the fight for second between the BK Motorsports teammates with B. Kaeding and Larson having a tremendous duel over the closing laps.
When flagman Willie Williams waved the checkered T. Kaeding crossed under it in first with B. Kaeding winning the fight for second and Larson finishing in third. Both Brent Kaeding and Larson started in row six and had great runs in the feature to round out the podium. Completing the top-10 in the exciting Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo main event were the Corporate America Lending No. 21 of Tarlton, the Keith Day Trucking No. 22 of Ronnie Day, the Buster & Ziggy Enterprise No. 11 of Clovis’ Peter Murphy, the KRC Saftey No. 3 of Fresno’s Craig Stidham, the BR Motorsports No. 94t of Visalia’s Steven Tiner, the Ray Scheidts Electric No. 2 of Pleasanton’s Brad Furr and the DF Rios Construction No. 00 of Jason Statler.
The evening’s b-main was captured by Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson with the three eight-lap heat races being won by Prunedale’s Justin Sanders, Statler and Zach Zimmerly. Tarlton set fast-time to begin the evening with a clocking of 13.816 around the 1/3 mile clay oval. Full results will be available at http://www.oceansprints.com
Also winning main events during the night at the Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway were Alex Stanford, who won his fourth consecutive dirt modified feature at the track and Chris Smith, who scored victory in the inaugural Tulare appearance for the west coast street stocks.
The Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo will take this coming week off before resuming action at the Ocean Speedway on Friday evening June 4. The Groppetti Automotive Thunderbowl Raceway will be back in action this coming Sunday night with the annual Salute to Indy featuring the USAC/CRA Wingless 410 Sprint Cars.