By Steven Blakesley
WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA (October 15, 2011) – The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo closed its 2011 campaign with a thrilling night of action as Fremont’s Shane Golobic won his third consecutive feature event while Salinas’ Ronnie Day was crowned series champion. Golobic’s last lap pass allowed him to become the only driver in the series to win three straight races, while Day’s fourth place finish was good enough to hold the title over Tommy Tarlton.
The last lap pass on Tarlton was reminiscent of Golobic’s win last Friday night when he passed Bud Kaeding with just two laps to go.
“It was a great race between Tommy and I and I’m glad we came out with the win,” Golobic said. “It felt good to get it done on the last lap and it seems like that’s how I’ve been doing it these days.”
After an eight car invert, Prunedale’s Justin Sanders started on the pole. A series of incidents in the first two laps slowed action and led to an open red flag so teams could top off their sprint cars with fuel.
Outside pole sitter Ryan Rusconi tagged the wall early on and fell outside the top-five, and the first caution came out when St. Helena’s Rico Abreu stalled in turn four with steering problems.
Several attempts at a restart saw Jerry Bonnema and Jeremy Chisum spun in turn four and then Chisum flipping hard in the successive restart. The lengthy open red flag allowed Abreu time to make repairs and he rejoined the field at the rear.
Once racing got going sixth starting Tarlton jumped up to the lead passing both Golobic and Sanders on lap eight. The next yellow came out when Nick Rescino, Jr. and Carter Train spun in turn four. On the restart fifth starting Bud Kaeding drove the Werbach Motorsports #20 up to third past Golobic while Sanders challenged Tarlton for the lead.
Golobic took third back on lap 12 and went back-and-forth with Sanders for several laps. On lap 21 Sanders jumped the cushion in turn three sending him hard into the wall. His night was over.
A pair of cautions came out again on lap 22 and 24 both involving Tommy Laliberte to end his night and with six laps to go the battle was on up front.
After a brief tussle with Kaeding, Golobic had second place in hand and coming to the white flag he seized the opportunity to challenge Tarlton. In turns three/four Golobic swept past Tarlton on the outside to take the checkered flag in a close finish.
The balance of the top-five saw Kaeding finishing third ahead of Day and Abreu in a comeback drive. The DDNi Hard Charger award went to Wayne Katen who advanced 12 positions from 19th to seventh.
The Ray Scheidt’s Electric fast-time honors went to 2011 Civil War champion Andy Forsberg with a 12.090 lap around the quarter-mile oval. Forsberg retired to the pits on lap 11 of the feature with mechanical problems. Heat race wins went to Golobic, Abreu, and Rusconi.
Ronnie Day’s championship comes in a season where he won his first career Ocean Speedway feature and followed it up with a win at the 51st “Johnny Key Classic”. The driver of the #22 Keith Day Trucking car won the championship by 37 markers over Tarlton with Abreu, Sanders, and Golobic unofficially rounding out the top-five.
“It’s been a great year and I think we finished out of the top five only twice this year,” Day said. “We’ve had probably the best year of my career.”
For more information on the Ocean Sprint Cars presented by Taco Bravo log onto http://www.oceansprints.com and for more on the Ocean Speedway visit http://www.oceanspeedway.com