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– HANFORD, Calif. (June 26) – It was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde weekend for Tommy Tarlton.
But after a mostly Jekyll outcome the last couple of weekends, he’ll take it. The Easton, Calif., native crashed while in the lead on Friday, dropping from a potential win to a fourth-place finish with the Ocean Sprints at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif.
However, Tarlton found some redemption and returned to his winning ways on Saturday at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., where he swept the show to pick up his fourth victory of the season at the ASCS Southern California Region event.
“After the last couple of weeks I’ve had, it’s really nice because it’s been hell,” he said. “I was starting to think I was on the down cycle and it’d never end. Finally I broke the cycle and got back to No. 1.”
Tarlton rocketed from sixth to claim his heat race, which gave him the most overall points and put him in the redraw. With the first pill, Tarlton drew the top spot and he took advantage on the track.
From the drop of the green flag, Tarlton roared through the field. He led every lap and by the time the checkered flag waved, Tarlton had lapped up to third place.
“That’s about as good as it can get,” he said. “It was cool too because Tim Kaeding was there and so was Craig Stidham, so it had a pretty good field of cars.
“I was passing two lapped cars a turn. The track was wide. It was the best track Hanford’s had in a long time.”
The win was his third in five ASCS Southern California races this season and it extended his lead to 112 points with three races remaining on the schedule.
Tarlton nearly pulled off the weekend sweep, but a lapped car got in the way on Friday. Actually, a couple of lapped cars running side by side.
After qualifying second and finishing second in his heat race, Tarlton started on the pole when Kaeding – the fast qualifier – pulled the No. 2 pill in the invert.
Tarlton got the jump from the start and pulled away from Kaeding and the rest of the competition before lapped traffic played a role.
“I got by a couple of cars before I ran up on two guys running side by side,” he said. “That allowed Kaeding and the third-place guy to catch up. At one point we were three wide for the lead.”
As Tarlton tried to split the lapped cars, he got into the back of one and the impact broke the Jacob’s ladder in his car. Tarlton dropped to fifth place with the ill-handling car before finishing fourth.
“My car was a handful from that point on,” he said.
Despite missing out on the victory, Tarlton cut Ronnie Day’s lead in the Ocean Sprints series to only 16 points midway through the season.
Tarlton returns to Ocean Speedway on Friday for the first of the two-day Howard Kaeding Classic featuring the King of the West Sprint Car Series.
QUICK RESULTS –
June 24 – Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif. – Qualifying: 2; Heat race: 2 (4); Feature: 4 (1).
June 25 – Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif. – Heat race: 1 (6); Feature: 1 (1).
SEASON STATS –
19 races, 19 features, 4 wins, 14 top fives, 14 top 10s, 14 top 15s, 17 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Friday and Saturday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., with the King of the West Sprint Car Series for the Howard Kaeding Classic
FAVORITE NUMBER –
1: Tarlton recorded a clean sweep on Saturday at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., when he won the heat race and led every lap during his feature win.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
Tarlton has black t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, and white women’s shirts available for purchase at every race he attends. For information on where you can get them, visit http://www.tarltonandson.com/tarlton-racing-schedule.
ON THE AIR –
Tarlton was involved in a nasty wreck on the second night of the 40th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., on June 17. The link is posted below:
He was a guest on the Lucas Oil ASCS Show by Racinboys on May 3. Click on the link below to listen. Tarlton’s interview begins around the 32-minute mark.
Check out the link below to see highlights of Tarlton’s King of the West Sprint Car Series’ win at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., on May 14.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino
Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino is a full-service destination that offers a hotel, a casino with slots and table games, multiple restaurants and a spa in one location in Lemoore, Calif. For more information, visit www.tachipalace.com.
“Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino and our race team have been a winning combination since 1997,” Tarlton said. “They’ve got an awesome place near the Hanford and Tulare race tracks. It’s the nicest place to stay for a racer and there’s plenty of parking.”
Tarlton would like to thank his sponsors, including Tarlton and Son, Inc., Corporate America Lending, Bandy & Associates, Sharp Insurance & Bonding and BG Products for their continued support.