By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – July 16, 2010…After blistering the Ocean Speedway quarter-mile for a new 360 sprint car track record on Friday Elk Grove, California’s Kyle Larson proceeded to then win the b-main and carve his way from ninth starting in the A-main to pick up his second consecutive Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo victory.
The night of racing was a bit of déjà vu for Larson, who also set a new track record, won the b-main and A-main during the very same Ocean Sprints vs. California Sprint Car Civil War Series event last July. The victory was also the 17-year-old’s third in the past four Ocean Sprints races at the Ocean Speedway as he continues his very impressive year behind the wheel of the Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino-Reno No. 99x mount.
“This was just a great night for us and to come from ninth in the feature with this kind of field on hand is pretty cool,” commented Larson, who is just two weeks shy of celebrating his 18th birthday. “I have to thank my whole crew, all our sponsors and it was nice to get another win with Rich Stadelhofer here watching us again. This place is just so much fun to race and I really think it’s the best track we go to because it’s always got two grooves and you can almost always move your way forward.”
The 30-lap main event started off with defending California Sprint Car Civil War Series champ Sean Becker of Oroville and defending Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo titlist Tommy Tarlton of Easton on the front row. When the green lights came on it was Tarlton jumping into the lead at the helm of his Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino No. 21 machine. The current Ocean Sprints point leader was in search of his third win of the year with the series and as he sat out front the action was fast and furious behind him with side-by-side racing all throughout the field on the well prepared quarter-mile.
Things would change on lap-eight however, when a number of cars became piled up in turns one and two directly in front of the leaders and left Tarlton with nowhere to go, resulting in him making contact with the stopped cars and coming to a stop off the edge of the track surface. Also coming to a stop in the incident was fourth running Bud Kaeding, who had looked very fast up till that point charging around on the high-side of the bullring, but was forced to move to the rear of the field along with Tarlton. Inheriting the lead was Becker, but when racing got back underway things crawled to a stop shortly after with red flag periods seen for Placerville’s Andy Gregg and Chico’s Stephen Allard respectively.
With 12-circuits complete the order read as Becker, Salinas, CA’s Ronnie Day, Pleasanton’s Brad Furr, Campbell’s Brent Kaeding and then Larson completing the top-five. On the restart Larson showed his muscle by rocketing to the top-side of the bullring and getting by both Kaeding and Furr in impressive fashion on consecutive laps to move his way into the third position. The youngster then came hard after Day for second, but just as soon as he looked to make something happen with the runner up spot he got into the cushion extremely hard, which caused him to bounce around violently, nearly tipping over in the second corner.
Larson was able to do a nice job and harness the car back down, but dropped a couple spots in the order as Becker looked to check out from the field up front aboard his Scott Miller Racing, Robinson Engineering No. 2sb sprinter. With the laps winding down lapped traffic soon came into play and it allowed the top-five drivers on the raceway the chance to bunch up and looked to create an exciting race to the finish. Everything came to a halt though with 23-laps complete when Grass Valley’s Jeremy Burt slowed to a stop down the back stretch. At the same time second running Day and third place Kaeding came in contact while racing off turn two and ended with “BK” spinning a stop, forcing him to the rear of the field.
Under the caution leader Becker then had a right rear tire going down and was forced to the work area to end his chances at victory, as he looked for his second ever Ocean Speedway win. With Becker at the rear of the field Day inherited the lead, but had Larson sitting on his bumper in second and when the green flag waved the Elk Grove driver once again put his car on the thick cushion of the speedway and charged around the former King of California to claim the lead, just prior to another caution period on lap 24. Once in front it was all about Larson with the defending GSC Rookie of the Year driving away to cross under Ryan Riley’s checkered flag and claim his fifth career Ocean Speedway triumph.
Finishing the race in second and scoring his best result of the season at Ocean Speedway was Day, who moves to the fourth spot in the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo standings. With Larson winning his second race in a row it also made Day the second qualifier for the 50th Johnny Key Classic due to his runner up finish. “We brought a different car out tonight and early on we were fighting it a bit, but in the main event it was real good,” said the driver of the Keith Day Trucking, Agri-Trade School No. 22. “We’re just having fun out here and I want to thank all the fans for coming out and spending their hard earned money to support us all.”
Coming from 10th starting in the main event to score his second straight third place finish with the Ocean Sprint Car Series was Furr aboard the Ray Scheidts Electric, Brad Furr Racing No. 2 mount. “We’re gaining ground here each week it seems and we’ve been really fast the last few races,” commented Furr, who began the night by timing in second fastest and also finished second to Larson in the b-main. “The track was real good in the main event and was a lot of fun and hopefully we can win one of these things here soon.”
Tallying a fourth place finish after lining up in the sixth row was Visalia’s Cory Eliason in the Advance Auto & Smog, MC Customs No. 00x. It marked the youngster’s fourth consecutive finish of fourth or better at Ocean Speedway as he continues to impress each week. Rounding out the top-five and rebounding from the early race incident was the Sala Matherly Racing, M&M Powder Coaters No. 19 of Bud Kaeding. Completing the top-10 in the 30-lap feature was 17th starter Shane Golobic of Fremont, San Jose’s Matt Sargent, Tarlton, Auburn’s Andy Forsberg and Sacramento’s Herman Klein.
Larson was the winner of the evening’s 12-lap b-main, with Morgan Hill’s Timmy Decarlo Jr. capturing the four-lap c-main. Four 10-lap heat races were held during the night and were picked off by Herman Klein, Sean Becker, Andy Forsberg and Shane Golobic. Larson opened up the event on Friday by cutting a blazing fast 11.611 around the quarter-mile bullring for fast-time in the 38-car field and a new Ocean Speedway 360 track record.
For the full results from all the nights action log onto http://www.oceanspeedway.com