After putting a cap on his second straight Ocean Sprints title Friday night Easton's Tommy Tarlton charged to third place finish from the fifth row at the annual Cotton Classic in Hanford on Saturday. Tarlton will head next for this weekend's 17th annual Trophy Cup, an event he captured in the year 2000. Photo by John Meirhofer of http://www.johnsracingphotos.com

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– WATSONVILLE, Calif. (July 31) – Sometimes the best change can be a step back.

That’s exactly how it worked for Tommy Tarlton, whose summer has been anything but usual in his sprint car across the West Coast. The Easton, Calif., resident took a weekend off, spent time with his family and returned to the cockpit of his high-octane race car rejuvenated last Friday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., with the Ocean Sprints Series.

Tarlton qualified third quickest, charged from fourth to win his heat and he claimed the feature after starting fourth.

“This is back to where we’re used to being,” he said after his sixth victory of the season.

The two-time defending Ocean Sprints champion is also only four points out of the Ocean Sprints lead with five races remaining.

Tarlton was in third place by the first lap of the feature and he passed Shane Golobic for second a handful of circuits later. After batting with Rico Abreu for the top spot for a half dozen laps, Tarlton took advantage in lapped traffic to rocket into the lead on lap 15.

“We went back and forth for a couple of laps,” he said. “There was a big cushion. I’d slide him and almost crash against it.”

Tarlton also had to survive an onslaught of late cautions, including one that set up a green-white-checkered finish. However, he pulled away on each restart and picked up his first 360 sprint car victory at Ocean Speedway in approximately a year.

More importantly, it locked Tarlton into one of the top six positions for the prestigious 51st annual Johnny Key Classic, which is Aug. 27 at Ocean Speedway. This was the third of four qualifying races, where the winner earns a slot in the top six. The other two positions are the top two in Ocean Sprints points who didn’t win a qualifier.

“Every year I’ve qualified by winning,” said Tarlton, who won the Johnny Key Classic in 2009. “It’s good to do that again and not rely on points.”

The win was his first since July 1, which was also at Ocean Speedway in a 410 engine with the King of the West Sprint Car Series. In the month since, Tarlton has managed only one top five and had three results of 14th or worse. Prior to that stretch, he had recorded a top 10 in 15 of 16 consecutive events.

“It’s good to be back up to speed,” he said. “It’s like a whole different gig.”

Tarlton returns to Ocean Speedway on Friday for a King of the West event. He will also race on Saturday with the King of the West at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif.


July 29 – Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif. – Qualifying: 3; Heat race: 1 (4); Feature: 1 (4).


28 races, 28 features, 6 wins, 20 top fives, 20 top 10s, 22 top 15s, 26 top 20s


Friday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., and Saturday at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., with the King of the West Sprint Car Series


15: The lap Tarlton took the lead last Friday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., en route to his sixth victory of the season.


Website: www.tommytarlton.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/tommytarlton21

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100001286852863


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.


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.


He was also a featured guest on the Dirt Cast podcast on June 29. The link is below:


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

Here is a link to Tarlton spinning around on the back of his car during a heat race at Ocean Speedway on July 8:

Check out this link to an in-car video of Tarlton winning the B Main at the Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, Ore., on July 13:

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Corporate America Lending

Located in Fresno, Calif., Corporate America Lending is a mortgage broker. This is the third year owner Ron Cook has been a major sponsor for the team.

“He’s one of the best in the business in California,” Tarlton said. “It’s awesome to be sponsored by someone who runs such a high-profile business. I’m excited to have his banner as a primary sponsor for our race team.”

Tarlton would like to thank his sponsors, including Tarlton and Son, Inc., Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, Bandy & Associates, Sharp Insurance & Bonding, Simpson and BG Products for their continued support.