By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – August 17, 2010…With just one race remaining until the 50th Johnny Key Classic Ocean Sprint Car Series drivers and teams will look to get in a final tune up this Friday night at the Ocean Speedway, before the prestigious running of the $5,000-to-win/$300-to-start event in just over a week.
With three qualifying races in the books Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson, Salinas’ Ronnie Day and Easton’s Tommy Tarlton are the drivers currently locked into the Key Classic, which is coming up on Saturday night August 28.
This Friday will be the final pre-qualifying race for the event and the final few locked in starting spots will be up for grabs during the evening of competition. After the main event this week the top-two drivers in the Ocean Sprints standings not already qualified will also be locked in to give a total of six pre-qualified drivers.
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.
As the summer nears its end just five races remain in the battle for the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo title, with championship night scheduled for Friday October 15 at Ocean Speedway. So far this year nine-events have been held for the 360 winged sprint car series with five different winners and a point battle that has remained close all season long.
Only 13-digits separate the top-two in the Ocean Sprints standings and sitting atop the points continues to be defending track champion Tommy Tarlton, who is coming off his third victory of the season with the series during the most recent event on July 30. Going into that night the driver of the Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino No. 21 held a five-point advantage in the standings, but a heat race win coupled with his feature victory allowed him to more than double his lead, as he looks for back to back titles.
Going into Friday tied with Tarlton for the most wins this year in Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo competition, Kyle Larson will be searching for his fourth triumph of the season at Ocean Speedway, in an attempt to close back in on the point lead. In the last event on July 30 the 18-year-old charged from 12th to second in the main event to stay within reach of Tarlton in the standings, during what has been his first full-year of racing with the Ocean Sprints behind the wheel of the Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino No. 99x.
Former two-time Ocean Sprints champion Brent Kaeding goes into the weekend third in the standings and will look to regroup after a tough ending to the most recent event, in which mechanical issues took him out of the lead in the main event. The Campbell veteran led laps three through six in the feature that night, but slowed on a restart and brought his Al’s Roofing Supply, Hive Five Pizza No. 69 to the work area, taking away a chance at his first win of 2010.
As one of the drivers already qualified for the Johnny Key Classic veteran wheel-man Ronnie Day will be in search of his first win of the season on Friday as he looks to build momentum towards next week aboard the Keith Day Trucking, Agri-Trade School No. 22. The former King of California started from the front row during the last race and led the initial three-laps in the feature, until getting caught up in a spin while trying to avoid a trio of stopped cars. Day comes into Friday ranking fourth in the Ocean Sprints standings.
Rounding out the top-five in points Visalia’s Cory Eliason, who will be gunning to continue the solid consistency he has had over the last number of the events on Friday night in his Advance Auto & Smog, MC Customs No. 00x sprinter. The youngster has finished among the top-five in five straight Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo events at Ocean Speedway and will be looking for his first win of the season this weekend.
Returning to California and expected to make his second Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo start of the season on Friday will be San Jose’s Tim Kaeding, who has won his three most recent starts with the series and will be looking to earn a locked in starting spot for the Johnny Key Classic. The pilot of the Roth Motorsports, DTR Transport Inc. No. 83 mount picked up an ultra thrilling victory at the Tulare Thunderbowl in May, in which he battled wheel to wheel with Tarlton and Larson for the win in the feature.
Other drivers expected to be on hand this Friday will include Clovis’ Peter Murphy, Pleasanton’s Brad Furr, Prunedale’s Justin Sanders, 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 August 20 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(Tommy Tarlton) & 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.
Coming up: Following this week’s event, the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo will then get set for the previously mentioned 50th running of the Johnny Key Classic on Saturday night August 28 at the Ocean Speedway. 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