Tarlton scores Ocean Sprint Car Series

From Gary Thomas

Watsonville, CA – September 24, 2010…A wild and wooly night at the Ocean Speedway on Friday featured a strong field of 37-cars on hand and in the end it was Easton’s Tommy Tarlton standing in victory lane once again after holding off a hard-charging Tim Kaeding to tally his fourth win of the year with the Ocean Sprints.

With the win on Friday it allowed Tarlton to extend his current Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo point lead to 30-digits, as he looks for his second consecutive title with just a pair of events remaining in the 2010 season. The veteran driver has also finished on the podium in four straight events, showing the type of consistency it takes to win championships, as he and crew chief Paul Baines continue to be one of the best combinations in California over the past couple years.

“Man I don’t know what to say, but this feels awesome to get back up here in victory lane tonight,” Tarlton commented. “It’s been a while since we’ve won a race at Ocean and I also want to say great job to Tim Kaeding to come back from that early race deal and get second. It does feel good to come out on top though because it seems like we’ve finished second to Tim a million times this year.”

Friday’s Ocean Sprints vs. California Sprint Car Civil War Series event saw both organizations having close point battles at the front of the standings coming into the night and the show proved pivotal in those races with the season winding down.

The 30-lap main event started out with Placerville’s Andy Gregg jumping into the lead at the helm of his Bret Ervin Racing, 7-Industries No. 53 sprinter. The former motocross racer would lead the first five-laps until a yellow flag occurred and set up a restart where San Jose’s Tim Kaeding made his presence known. On lap-six “TK” flung his machine around Gregg to momentarily grab the lead and the pair went wheel to wheel battling for the top-spot, which saw Gregg impressively return the favor to reclaim the point.

Just after the exchange of the lead though, slight contact would occur heading down the backstretch and it saw Kaeding’s front wing become dislodged. Entering turn three the 2010 Johnny Key Classic winner got sideways and spun to a stop, collecting fourth running Kyle Larson, who tipped onto his side in the incident. Both drivers went to the work area and were able to get back out for the restart. The 18-year-old Larson would have to make a couple extra stops in the work area however during ensuing stoppages to get more repairs made to the Stadelhofer Construction No. 99x.

When the green lights came back on Gregg led the field into turns one and two, but soon had company in the form of Sacramento’s Mike Henry, who would charge his way by to claim the lead of the race. The yellow lights would flash on again on lap-eight when fifth running Ronnie Day slowed with apparent tire issues. A couple circuits later another caution would wave for an accident involving Nick Rescino Jr. and Civil War championship contender Herman Klein.

Damage was too severe to continue for Klein, who took a major hit in his bid at a first career Civil War title, finishing the feature in 22nd. The next lap saw another caution and with the inordinate number of yellow and green flag laps already being ran the red lights then came onto the speedway for a fuel stop.

Following the rough start to the main event things took a turn for the better when racing got back underway and a number of green flag laps were clicked off, with the racing keeping fans on the edge of their seat lap after lap. As Henry sat out front looking for his first Civil War and Ocean Sprints win of the year, he had Tarlton hounding him every step of the way trying to find a way around. At the same time the action throughout the field heated up as the surface changed quickly and created multiple grooves for drivers to work with.

After the early race spin Kaeding proceeded to put on one of his patented charges from the rear of the field and was rocketing through the pack aboard the Roth Motorsports, DTR Transport No. 83jr. At the halfway point of the race the former King of California was able to charge all the way back to the top-five and wasn’t done there, as he continued to drive the wheels off of his machine. With the leaders in lapped traffic “TK” dispatched of Fremont’s Shane Golobic on lap-19 to move into fourth and then closed in quickly on the top-three, who were caught in a gaggle of slower cars.

The Kaeding show kept rolling on with 22-circuits complete when he made the move by Gregg to score the third position. One-lap later Tarlton was finally able to get an opening in the fight for the lead and shot by Henry to take the top-spot, while at the same time “TK” followed along for second. As the laps went on Henry appeared to fight a loose condition with the changing track and after dropping to third he would loop the car in turn four, leaving Gregg nowhere to go and resulted in both drivers being knocked out of the race with just seven-laps left.

Prior to the yellow Kaeding was all over Tarlton for the lead of the race, but on a pair of ensuing restarts Tarlton got great advantages up front and drove off to take the checkered flag aboard the Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino No. 21 mount. The victory also makes Tarlton the first driver this year to reach four wins with the Ocean Sprint Cars presented by Taco Bravo, which is the same amount of triumphs he tallied last season en route to his first Ocean title.

Kaeding crossed the line in second to cap off the thrilling run from the back of the pack and bring home his fourth finish of second or better in four Ocean Sprints starts this year. Just a couple weeks after a great showing at the Gold Cup Race of Champions youngster Shane Golobic had a fine outing in the feature and came home in third after starting from the fifth row in the Joe VonSchriltz Racing, Country Builders Construction No. 121.

Completing the top-five in the main event were the Suggs Racing, Lucas Oil No. 33e of Scotts Valley’s Evan Suggs and the Smitty Boys Racing, AA Johnson & Sons Concrete No. 14s of Stephen Allard from Chico, who earned the “On the move with 35 Industries” hard charger award after starting from 15th on the grid. Rounding out the top-10 were Larson, Prunedale’s Justin Sanders, Oroville’s Sean Becker, Visalia’s Steven Tiner and Day. With Becker’s eighth place finish he was able to add points to his current Civil War Series point lead and will look to cap off his third straight title tonight at the Placerville Speedway.

The evening’s b-main was captured by Larson with Stephen Allard, Sean Becker, Merced’s Mark Barroso and Grass Valley’s Jeremy Burt claiming wins in the four ten-lap heat races. Larson opened the night by setting his second fast time of the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo season with a blistering fast lap of 11.586 around the quarter-mile.

A-main finish- Tommy Tarlton, Tim Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Evan Suggs, Stephen Allard, Kyle Larson, Justin Sanders, Sean Becker, Steven Tiner, Ronnie Day, Jeremy Burt, Andy Forsberg, Craig Smith, Cory Eliason, Mason Moore, Kurt Nelson, Cody Lamar, Mike Henry, Andy Gregg, Mark Barroso, Nick Rescino Jr., Herman Klein.