By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – August 30, 2010…Entering the Ocean Speedway this past Saturday evening Easton, California’s Tommy Tarlton hoped to defend his Johnny Key Classic victory from a year ago and at the end of the night came up just two spots shy of making that happen during the 50th running of the event.
Despite not ending up in victory lane it marked Tarlton’s third straight podium finish in Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo competition and allowed him to maintain a 19-point advantage at the top of the standings with just three-nights remaining in the season.
“We were really hoping to back up our Johnny Key win from last year so we’re definitely disappointed that it didn’t happen even though we came home in third,” said Tarlton. “It’s been a great year though so I want to give a big thanks to my whole crew, my dad and all of the awesome sponsors we have helping us out this year.”
As one of the six already pre-qualified drivers going into the night on Saturday Tarlton didn’t have to take to the speedway until the six-lap dash, which he drew a front row starting spot for and parlayed into an easy victory aboard the Corporate America Lending, Tarlton & Son Inc., Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino No. 21.
By winning the dash Tarlton earned the pole for the 50-lap feature, but when things went green a ragged start was seen and it resulted in him falling to third on the opening lap, before dropping another spot to San Jose’s Tim Kaeding on lap-two. After running in fourth for a number of laps the defending Ocean Sprints champ then went to work on Ronnie Day for third and with 11-circuits complete would make the pass for position.
Once getting up to third he proceeded to close in on Brent Kaeding in the battle for the runner up spot and on lap 16 he was able to charge his way by to score second. At the halfway point of the race a mandatory stoppage was seen and it allowed teams the chance to make any necessary adjustments needed for the final 25-lap shootout. When things went back green Tarlton tried to close in on leader Tim Kaeding, but would also have to deal with B. Kaeding once again.
With 30-laps in the books Tarlton would briefly lose second to “BK”, until returning the favor the next time by to re-claim the spot. It didn’t last long though as young Kyle Larson joined the fray and eventually stole away the second position on lap 32. Tarlton spent the remainder of the race running smoothly in third and gave it a strong charge on a final green-white-checkered restart for second, but couldn’t make it happen and settled for third at the conclusion.
Following the third place finish at the Johnny Key Classic Tarlton will now get ready for another big event coming up in less than two weeks, the 56th annual Gold Cup Race of Champions at the Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico. The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series event takes place on September 9, 10 and 11 and for an added twist this year each driver will compete during all three-nights of competition.
Last season Tarlton had a strong run at the $50,000-to-win show, tallying a sixth place finish during his preliminary night and then backing that up with an eighth place finish in the 40-lap finale on Saturday. Earlier this year he also brought home a top-10 effort with the World of Outlaws in Tulare and at the Gold Cup will make his second outing of the season with the series.
“We had a great Gold Cup last year and we’re looking forward to heading back up to Chico next week,” said the wheel-man of the Sharp Insurance, Ridgeline Framing, Elite Racing No. 21 machine. “We don’t get to Silver Dollar very much anymore, but have always been good up there so hopefully we can get into that A-main again on Saturday night and see what happens.”
For more on Tommy Tarlton and Tarlton & Son Inc. log onto http://www.tarltonandson.com/