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– HANFORD, Calif. (Aug. 21) – He let out a big sigh, which revealed an even bigger smile.
“Oh, finally,” Tommy Tarlton exclaimed after winning both of his features last weekend. “It feels good to sweep the weekend.”
The Easton, Calif., native picked up a pair of victories to run his total to eight wins in 32 races this season. More importantly, he regained the points lead with the Ocean Sprints and extended his advantage with the ASCS Southern California Region following the successful weekend.
It began on Friday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., where Tarlton won two weeks ago to cut the Ocean Sprints deficit to single digits. The two-time defending series champion capitalized on that momentum on Friday by qualifying second quickest and finishing fourth in his heat race.
The invert for the main event was six, which started Tarlton fifth. He was up to second by lap 11 and closed in on the leader in lapped traffic on the ¼-mile dirt oval.
“Watsonville is a cool place because they prepare it to have cars race side by side,” Tarlton said. “Splitting cars is the key to victory there. They run wheel to wheel down the straightaway. At the last second, one goes high and one goes low. You’ve got to fill that void in the middle and either slide up or dive down. There’s a trick to it and I’ve figured out a few tricks to be able to do it.”
He used a trick on lap 20 as the leader came up on a pair of cars in turn one. Tarlton slid into the lead exiting turn two by inches and he pulled away through some dicey lapped traffic for the final 10 laps.
The win, combined with Ronnie Day – the point’s leader entering the race – finishing seventh, gave Tarlton the Ocean Sprints lead by six points with four races remaining.
“We took the lead, but it’s going to be tough,” he said. “Ronnie’s running really well and it’s going to go down to the wire.”
The race that appears to be wrapped up is the inaugural ASCS Southern California title. After Tarlton’s win on Saturday at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., he holds more than a 125-point lead with only two events remaining.
Tarlton drove from fourth to win his heat race and then charged from fifth to the lead within the first handful of laps in the feature. By the midway point, Tarlton had half a lap lead before a caution. At the end, he lapped up to fifth place.
“Paul and the guys gave me an awesome car and I was able to fly around that place,” Tarlton said. “It was a lot of fun and there isn’t much better in racing than to sweep the weekend.”
Tarlton returns to Ocean Speedway this Saturday for the 51st annual Johnny Key Classic – a premier race he won in 2009. It’s a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win event that is part of the Ocean Sprints.
“That’s a big race,” he said. “We definitely have our stuff working again. Now when we hit the track, we’re fast again.”
QUICK RESULTS –
Aug. 19 – Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif. – Qualifying: 2; Heat race: 4 (4); Feature: 1 (5).
Aug. 20 – Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif. – Heat race: 1 (4); Feature: 1 (5).
SEASON STATS –
32 races, 32 features, 8 wins, 24 top fives, 25 top 10s, 27 top 15s, 30 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Saturday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., for the 51st annual Johnny Key Classic
FAVORITE NUMBER –
25: Percent of Tarlton’s races this season have resulted in a victory, including two last weekend.
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 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 – Sharp Insurance & Bonding
Established in 1977, Sharp Insurance & Bonding is a full-service insurance agency located in Visalia, Calif. Sharp Insurance & Bonding specializes in commercial insurance, contractors insurance, contractor bonding and personal lines. For more information, visit www.sharpinsurance.com.
“We’ve been doing business with Sharp Insurance & Bonding since 1995 and it has been a sponsor since 1997,” Tarlton said. “We’ve got a great relationship. He supports a lot of race teams, and has been a great support of me both on and off the track.”
Tarlton would like to thank his sponsors, including Tarlton and Son, Inc., Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, Bandy & Associates, Simpson and BG Products for their continued support.