By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – June 22, 2011…San Jose racing icon Howard Kaeding will be honored during the upcoming and much anticipated “Howard Kaeding Classic” at the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville on Friday and Saturday July 1 and 2.
The event will be headlined by the Golden State King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series, which travels up and down the West Coast and will make its second and third stops of the season to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds facility.
Howard Kaeding was a multiple-time California state super-modified champion, a four-time Johnny Key Classic winner and once captured 17-straight races at the San Jose Speedway, which is a record. The driver known as the “Campbell Comet” claimed over 300 main event victories in his career and even raced into his 60’s, before retiring in the 1990’s.
Kaeding officially began racing hard tops in 1954, which began a family tradition in racing that has been passed down to son Brent and his sons Bud and Tim, who have gone on to have immensely successful careers. Another grandson of Howard’s, Adam, is also racing and has been victorious in wingless sprint car competition this season at Ocean Speedway.
The Kaeding family has had a long and successful history in both racing and business in California, owning Kaeding Performance in Campbell. Over the years they have combined the two into a successful racing business. The property where Kaeding Performance is located has been in the family since the early 1940’s, after Howard’s father Sam moved the family from Nebraska to Campbell.
San Jose based designer and artist Brad Scadden said of Howard, “HK” is the greatest I have ever seen wheel a car and an even better person for someone to have in their lives.” San Jose racing enthusiast Mike Avilla also commented, “It’s great to have an event honoring Howard Kaeding, because he was truly my racing hero growing up.”
Ocean Speedway promoter John Prentice is also excited to bring the “Howard Kaeding Classic” to Watsonville. “We’re definitely looking forward to the “HK Classic” and are honored to be holding this event at Ocean Speedway,” he said. “The 410 sprint cars are always fun to watch and having them here for two-night’s will be a great thing for the fans and teams.”
Howard’s grandson Tim is currently leading the Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series point standings going into the “HK Classic” on July 1 & 2. He has tallied a series leading three main event victories so far this year. Brent ranks third in the point standings and will be looking for his first win of the season at his father’s event.
Along with Tim and Brent a number of the biggest names in West Coast sprint car racing will be on hand for the “Howard Kaeding Classic” including Bud Kaeding, a 3-time USAC National champion, two-time California state champ Jonathan Allard, two-time Ocean Speedway titlist Tommy Tarlton, ’04 state champion Jason Statler, former World of Outlaw star Brad Furr and many more.
Also on hand for the two nights will be the vintage Okiebowl Hardtops, bringing back a glimpse of the days gone by.
On Friday July 1 the front grandstand gate will open at 4:30pm with racing scheduled to start around 6. On Saturday July 2 there will be an earlier start with the front grandstand gate opening at 3:30pm, wheel packing at 4, qualifying around 4:45 and racing to follow.
Adult tickets will cost $20 each night, children 6 to 12 will be $15, seniors 65 and older are $18 and kids five and under will be free. A family pack featuring two adults and two children will be available for $60.
The Ocean Speedway is located on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, two miles east of Watsonville, California on SR 152. The physical address is 2601 East Lake Ave, Watsonville, CA 95076. More information can be found at www.oceanspeedway.com or by calling 831-662-9466.
More info on the Golden State King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series can be found at www.kwssprints.com or by contacting 707-374-2222.