By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – July 26, 2010…Easton, California’s Tommy Tarlton will bring a five-point lead over the red-hot Kyle Larson of Elk Grove into the Ocean Speedway this Friday night July 30, during what will be the ninth race of the season for the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo.
This Friday’s event will mark the third of four qualifying races for the 50th running of the $5,000-to-win/$300-to-start Johnny Key Classic, with Larson and Salinas, CA’s Ronnie Day being the first two drivers to lock into the show that will be held on Saturday August 28.
In addition to the main event purse there is also lap money continuing to be 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 Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org or Samantha at email@example.com or simply see us at the track on Friday.
Including this weekend there will be six races remaining in the 2010 Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo season and for the second year in a row the point race is anybody’s game with two of Northern & Central California’s finest fighting it out at the top of the standings.
After taking the point lead during the second round of action in April, Tarlton now finds himself only a handful of digits up on Larson, with the duo also being the only drivers that have scored multiple wins this year with the Ocean Sprints. Whereas Tarlton is coming off a couple of less than hoped for outings, Larson goes into Friday night with momentum on his side having captured three of the last four main events at Ocean Speedway, including the Ocean Sprints vs. Civil War show two Friday’s ago.
Just three races back Tarlton had held a 23-point edge over Larson, who had sat third in the standings at the time, but a couple night’s of tough luck for the driver of the Corporate America Lending No. 21 have resulted in finishes of 11th and eighth respectively during the last two events. Taking full advantage of those nights the 17-year-old Larson claimed victory in each of those two races to help cut the point margin down drastically and put him in position to challenge for the title aboard his Stadelhofer Construction No. 99x mount.
Larson also comes into the weekend tied with Chico’s Jonathan Allard as the winningest winged sprint car driver in Nor Cal this season, following his eighth main event victory of the year last Saturday night with the Golden State Challenge 410 Series in Marysville. It was also good enough to put him into the series point lead as he attempts to become youngest King of California ever. Tarlton likewise has also had a successful season with GSC, claiming nine top-five finishes in nine starts with the series, which will invade Ocean Speedway on Saturday August 7.
Campbell’s Brent Kaeding goes into this Friday night third in the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo standings and will be looking to rebound after bad luck has left him with finishes outside the top-10 during the most recent two events. The driver of the Al’s Roofing Supply No. 69 sits 23-points out of the lead. Former King of California Ronnie Day has moved to fourth in the standings and will also be gunning for his first win of the year on Friday aboard the Keith Day Trucking No. 22. The Salinas driver brought home an Ocean Speedway season-best finish of second at the last event on July 16.
Currently tied for the fifth spot in the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo points are Visalia’s Cory Eliason and Clovis, CA’s Peter Murphy. Eliason has been one of the hottest drivers as of late at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds quarter-mile having finished among the top-four in each of the last four nights of racing at the track behind the wheel of his Advance Auto & Smog No. 00x. Murphy however, will be looking to regroup this Friday after a tough night during the Ocean vs. Civil War event on July 16, where he finished 16th in the b-main aboard the Buster & Ziggy Enterprise No. 11 sprinter.
Rounding out the top-10 in the standings going the ninth race of the year are Pleasanton’s Brad Furr, who finished third on July 16, Prunedale’s Justin Sanders, Campbell’s Bud Kaeding and Gilroy’s Eric Rossi. Other possibilities to be on hand this Friday will include Grass Valley’s Jason Statler, Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs, Fremont’s Shane Golobic, Morgan Hill’s Devon Ostheimer & Ricky Wright Jr., San Jose’s Matt Sargent, San Martin’s Craig Smith, Corralitos’ Jerry Bonnema, Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson and more.
The front gate of the Ocean Speedway will open at 4:30pm this Friday night July 30 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 $11 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.
Johnny Key Classic Qualifying Procedure:
Starting 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(Kyle Larson); July 16(2nd place finisher Ronnie Day); 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.
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- Following this week’s event the next Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo show will be held on Friday night August 20, which also be the final qualifying race for the 50th Johnny Key Classic.