By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – July 1, 2011…Easton’s Tommy Tarlton continued his mastery of the Ocean Speedway on Friday and raced from 11th starting to claim his second Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series win of the season during opening night of the inaugural “Howard Kaeding Classic.”
The victory for Tarlton was the ninth of his career with the Golden State 410 Sprints and moved him into a tie with Sean Becker and Ronnie Day for ninth on the all-time win list. His previous KWS win this season had come at the Pombo/Sargent Classic in May at Thunderbowl Raceway.
“I grew up a fan of the Kaeding’s and to win the first night of the HK Classic is really special to me,” said Tarlton. “This is awesome to win our second race of the season with the King of the West guys as well because this is a great thing Dan Simpson has built and we enjoy running whenever we can.”
A very strong crowd was on hand for the “Howard Kaeding Classic” opener and saw San Jose’s Tim Kaeding lead the field into turn one at the waving of the green flag in the 30-lapper. The current Golden State King of the West point leader was in search of his fourth win of the year with the series, but things were slowed early on with a number of stoppages.
With the yellows and reds plaguing the early going it never allowed drivers to get into a groove over the first 10-laps, but after the bumping and banging was over, the final 18-laps were clicked off caution free. Once the action got going it was very entertaining up front, as Chico’s Jonathan Allard applied heavy pressure to Kaeding’s tail tank.
Allard a couple times looked to ride the high line around Kaeding in turns three and four, but on each occasion “TK” was able to hang on and maintain the lead. With “JA” continuing to try and find a way around the Roth Motorsports entry Easton’s Tommy Tarlton closed in on the front runners and made it a three-car battle for the top-spot.
Tarlton had started from 11th on the grid and progressively moved forward to challenge the leaders late in the race aboard his potent Corporate America Lending No. 21 mount. With just about 10-laps remaining in the race the two-time defending Ocean Sprints champion made his way around Allard to claim second and then set his sights on leader Kaeding.
As lap 22 clicked off “Tommy T” flung his machine into the first corner and was able to slide by Kaeding to take command of the race. After this Tarlton had no worries out front and charged off to pick up the huge victory. “I really have to thank my crew chief Paul Baines and my whole team, as well as my family for all their support,” Tarlton commented. “This is one of the biggest wins of my career.”
Tim Kaeding came home second to pad his current Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series point lead and Allard rounded out the podium at the helm of the Williams Motorsports No. 0 sprinter.
Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan had his strongest night of the season and came from 15th to fourth in the feature to earn the PitStopUSA hard charger award. Likewise Stockton’s Brad Furr also had his best night of the year and crossed the stripe in fifth at the conclusion.
Completing the top-10 in the main event were St. Helena’s Rico Abreu, who scored his best ever KWS finish, Fresno’s Craig Stidham, Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, Grass Valley’s Jason Statler and Fremont’s Brent Bjork.
Furr won the 12-lap Last Chance Qualifier with Allard claiming the KSE Racing Products/ Grant’s Fine Art Dash. Capturing the four 10-lap heat races were Andy Gregg, Shane Golobic, Tim Kaeding and Jonathan Allard. Starting off the night by setting his first career KWS Grant’s Fine Art Fast-Time was Prunedale’s Justin Sanders who blistered the quarter-mile in 11.670 seconds.
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Golden State King of the West Sprint Car Series Results – Night one “Howard Kaeding Classic at Ocean Speedway July 1
Fast time: Justin Sanders 11.670
Heat 1: Andy Gregg, Rico Abreu, Bobby McMahan, Austen Wheatley, Willie Croft, Justin Sanders, Pat Harvey Jr., Nick Ringo Jr.
Heat 2: Shane Golobic, Brent Kaeding, Brent Bjork, Kenny Allen, Danielle Simpson, Eli Deshaies, Mark Barroso, Kurt Nelson
Heat 3: Tim Kaeding, Evan Suggs, Tommy Tarlton, Bud Kaeding, Brad Furr, Doug Gandy, Nick Rescino Jr.
Heat 4: Jonathan Allard, Jason Statler, Cory Eliason, Jamie Veal, Craig Stidham, Matthew Davis, Koen Shaw
Dash: Jonathan Allard, Tim Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Brent Bjork, Andy Gregg, Brent Kaeding, Cory Eliason, Austen Wheatley
LCQ: Brad Furr, Justin Sanders, Craig Stidham, Eli Deshaies, Danielle Simpson, Kurt Nelson, Willie Croft, Matthew Davis, Koen Shaw, Mark Barroso, Nick Ringo Jr., Pat Harvey
A-main: Tommy Tarlton, Tim Kaeding, Jonathan Allard, Bobby McMahan, Brad Furr, Rico Abreu, Craig Stidham, Brent Kaeding, Jason Statler, Brent Bjork, Kenny Allen, Kurt Nelson, Andy Gregg, Danielle Simpson, Justin Sanders, Cory Eliason, Bud Kaeding, Evan Suggs, Jamie Veal, Shane Golobic, Eli Deshaies, Austen Wheatley