Ocean 360 Sprint Cars presented by Taco Bravo set for Johnny Key Classic Qualifying Race

Tommy Tarlton
Tommy Tarlton

Current Ocean Sprints point leader and defending champion Tommy Tarlton in victory lane on June 4 at the Ocean Speedway. The defending Johnny Key Classic winner will be looking for his third win of the season to try and stretch his current 18-point advantage in the Ocean Sprints standings over Brent Kaeding. Photo’s by L&J Photography http://picasaweb.google.com/jmart16164?pli=1

From Gary Thomas

Watsonville, CA – June 22, 2010…After a couple weekends off the Ocean 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo will return to action in a big way this Friday night June 25 with the first of four qualifying races to be held for the 50th running of the Johnny Key Classic, which will be contested on Saturday August 28 and will pay $5,000-to-win/$300-to-start the 50-lap main event.

Starting this Friday June 25 and continuing thru August 20 drivers will pre-qualify for the 50th running of the Johnny Key Classic. This will be accomplished by taking the winner from June 25; July 16; July 30 & August 20 A-main main events and locking them into a starting spot for the Johnny Key Classic race.

After the first night of pre-qualifying if the winner of the next week event is the same, we will take the #2 finisher, until the final night of pre-qualifying. After August 20 the top two (2) DRIVERS in Ocean 360 Sprints presented by Taco Bravo Series points that have NOT secured a starting spot in the Key race will be included in the pre-qualified Key race line up.

In addition to the main event purse there will also be lap money sold for the Johnny Key Classic. The cost is $50 a lap with $25 going to the leader, $15 for second and $10 for third. For anyone that would like to purchase a lap please contact Samantha at samantha@oceanspeedway.com

During the most recent Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo event on June 4 defending Johnny Key Classic champion Tommy Tarlton became the first repeat winner in the 2010 season by recording a clean sweep of the night’s festivities. With the victory the Easton driver was also able to extend his current series point lead to 18-markers with six-events held so far and eight remaining. Tarlton is also on a streak of three fast-time efforts in a row with the Ocean 360’s behind the wheel of the his Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace No. 21 and will look to make it back-to-back wins on Friday.

Climbing his way back to second in the standings after charging from 14th to fourth in the main event during the previous race is Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, who will look to close the gap between himself and Tarlton this Friday night. The strong run on June 4 was also good enough to make “BK” the “Fully Charged presented by Sun Electric” hard-charger in the feature for the second event in a row with the series. Kaeding will look to build on that night in an attempt to get back to victory lane at Ocean Speedway for the first time since April 3, 2009 aboard the Al’s Roofing Supply, High Five Pizza No. 69.

Looking to rebound after a tough ending on June 4 will be Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson, who goes into Friday now sitting third in the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo standings and is 23-digits back of Tarlton for the lead. The 17-year-old had moved through the field in the feature to get up and challenge for the lead, until a spin in traffic with six-laps left relegated him to a 14th place finish at the checkered flag during most recent event. Larson so far this year has one victory with the Ocean Sprints and will be gunning for number two on Friday at the helm of his Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino No. 99.

Clovis, CA’s Peter Murphy will be searching for his first win of the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo year this weekend, after tallying a season-best second place finish at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds track on June 4. The driver of the Buster & Ziggy Enterprise, Kiwi Transport No. 11 took the lead on lap-eight of the feature at the previous race and held it until his good friend Tarlton was able to get by with just 10-circuits left to grab the win away. Going into Friday Murphy ranks fourth in the standings and is 38-points behind the top-spot.

Completing the top-five in the Ocean 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo standings going into Friday night is 2000 Golden State Challenge King of California Ronnie Day of Salinas. The veteran driver of the Keith Day Trucking, El Camino Machine & Welding No. 22 qualified second fastest in the field on June 4 and brought home a ninth place finish in the main event. Day comes into the weekend sitting just seven slim markers behind Murphy for fourth in points.

Other previous race winners with the Ocean Sprints this season expected on Friday will include San Jose’s Tim Kaeding, Prunedale’s Justin Sanders and Campbell’s Bud Kaeding. “TK” captured victory in Tulare on May 22 with the series in his lone start of the year and is expected to be on hand Friday to try and qualify for the Key aboard the Roth Motorsports No. 83. The former King of California also ended last season by winning the final two events of the year at Ocean Speedway driving for car owner’s Dennis & Teresa Roth.

Sanders currently ranks seventh in the standings and will be looking to improve upon an 18th place finish from June 4 in his North County Plastering No. 17. The youngster scored his second career Ocean Sprints win on May 7. Bud Kaeding was the winner during opening night and has been one of the most consistent performers this season, currently sitting ninth in points despite missing one event. The current USAC Silver Crown point leader carved his way from 15th to sixth on June 4 at Ocean Speedway.

Other drivers expected this Friday night include Gilroy’s Eric Rossi, Visalia’s Cory Eliason, Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, Pleasanton’s Brad Furr, San Jose’s Matt Sargent, Morgan Hill’s Devon Ostheimer and Ricky Wright Jr., San Martin’s Craig Smith, Fremont’s Shane Golobic, Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson, Corralitos’ Jerry Bonnema and more.

The front gate of the Ocean Speedway will open at 4:30pm this Friday night June 25 with hot laps at 5:45, qualifying around 6 and racing to follow. All seating will be general admission with adult tickets costing $16, children 6-12 $12 and kids five and under free. A family pack featuring two adults and two kids is available for $45 and seniors 65 and older with id will be $14. The Ocean Speedway is located on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, California.

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

Coming up- The Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo will go dark the next couple weekends, prior to gearing up for the second qualifying race for the Johnny Key Classic on July 16. The night of racing will also be the first of two Ocean Sprints vs. California Sprint Car Civil War Series events this year.