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– WATSONVILLE, Calif. (July 4) – The fireworks started early for Tommy Tarlton, who began celebrating last Friday night.
The Easton, Calif., native survived an onslaught of early on-track incidents and charged from 11th to claim his fifth victory of the season and second with the King of the West Sprint Car Series at the inaugural night of the Howard Kaeding Classic at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif.
“Lots of wrecks and lots of drama,” he said of the opening laps.
Tarlton qualified seventh and finished third in his heat race to advance to the feature, where he started inside the sixth row. While a myriad of quick cautions plagued the field, Tarlton was a benefactor as he picked up a handful of positions because of wrecks in front of him during the first 10 laps.
He then passed a couple of cars and got another car or two on a restart midway through the main event, which moved him into third behind Tim Kaeding and Jonathan Allard – the “big dogs” of the series.
Tarlton stalked the duo before passing Allard for second place with approximately 10 laps remaining. Two laps later, Tarlton slid by Kaeding for the top spot and he drove away.
“It was like, ‘Why is Tim driving so slow?’” Tarlton said. “I just pulled up next to him and drove right by him. Just crazy.
“It was one of those one in 100 nights. Paul Baines set the car up great. The track was slick and heavy and a little rutty here and there. You had to have a car that was good in everything.”
It was his second victory in as many weekends and his first with the King of the West since the Pombo/Sargent Classic last May.
“It was a dream night,” Tarlton said. “It was the first ever Howard Kaeding Classic and Kaeding set the bar in California.”
The two-day event continued on Saturday at Ocean Speedway, where Tarlton picked up where left off. The veteran was the fastest qualifier and rocketed from fourth to win his heat race. He then placed second in the dash to start outside the front row for the feature.
“I had a hell of a night going,” he said. “I was just fast.”
Tarlton took the lead at the start of the race and pulled to a straightaway lead at one point in the main event as he drove around the top before the track started to take rubber on the bottom.
“Usually you can tell if it’s taking rubber by smelling it or a lapper on the bottom is fast,” he said. “I kept looking at the bottom and I was lapping guys on the top.
“Then, sure enough, the rubber got me.”
Evan Suggs capitalized and drove into the lead with less than a dozen laps remaining. Tarlton dropped to third before getting down to the rubber and he worked his way back to second. He closed to within a couple of car lengths of Suggs on the final lap, but it was too little, too late.
“Two in a row would have been cool,” Tarlton said. “But I guess I can’t complain about a first and a second place.”
Tarlton will return to Ocean Speedway on Friday for an Ocean Sprints event. He is currently second in points – only 14 behind leader Ronnie Day.
On Saturday, Tarlton will head to Santa Maria Speedway in Santa Maria, Calif., for the next King of the West race.
QUICK RESULTS –
July 1 – Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif. – Qualifying: 7; Heat race: 3 (3); Feature: 1 (11).
July 2 – Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif. – Qualifying: 1; Heat race: 1 (4); Dash: 2 (4); Feature: 2 (2).
SEASON STATS –
21 races, 21 features, 5 wins, 16 top fives, 16 top 10s, 16 top 15s, 19 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Friday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., with the Ocean Sprints and Saturday at Santa Maria Speedway in Santa Maria, Calif., with the King of the West Sprint Car Series
FAVORITE NUMBER –
5: Victories on the season, including two with the King of the West Sprint Car Series.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
Website: www.tarltonandson.com/racing and www.tommytarlton.com
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 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.
Here are a couple of videos from Tarlton’s victory and runner-up performance with the King of the West Sprint Car Series at the Howard Kaeding Classic at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., on July 1-2:
http://vimeo.com/25952465 and http://vimeo.com/25950506
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Bandy & Associates
Located in Fresno, Calif., Bandy & Associates is a CPA firm run by Dan Bandy. This is the first year Bandy & Associates has been a sponsor, but its relationship with the team dates back 20 years.
“We’ve been working together since 1991 as a business relationship,” Tarlton said. “We are more than thrilled that Dan and Bandy & Associates are partnering with our race team.”
Tarlton would like to thank his sponsors, including Tarlton and Son, Inc., Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Sharp Insurance & Bonding and BG Products for their continued support.