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– HANFORD, Calif. (Sept. 11) – It was a lot more dramatic than Tommy Tarlton had imagined it would be.
However, the Easton, Calif., resident recovered from an opening-lap crash to record his ninth victory of the season en route to claiming the inaugural ASCS Southern California Region championship on Saturday at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif.
“It was kind of dramatic,” he said. “I passed the front row going down the back straightaway on the first lap. The guy who was leading ran into my right rear tire and spun us around. He went for a ride.
“Then the engine went south on the last lap, so I barely, barely won actually.”
After overcoming the first-lap accident and the last-lap engine issue, Tarlton won his fifth ASCS Southern California race in seven events during this first season. It was also his fourth victory in five ASCS Southern California races at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway.
He entered the event with a 262-point advantage with two races remaining. Therefore, Tarlton locked up the championship by simply unloading at the track on Saturday. But he was after more than just the title.
“I wanted to win,” he said.
Facing an incoming storm early in the night, Tarlton was on the gas from the start. He charged from fifth to finish second in his heat race. That earned him one of the eight positions in the redraw, which is a random draw that determined the first four rows of the 30-lap feature.
He pulled the No. 3, which started him on the inside of the second row for the main event. By the time the front row had exited the first two corners of the race, Tarlton had a huge run and used the high line to shoot by the top-two drivers. However, as he moved into the lead, another driver made contact and the duo crashed to bring out a caution.
Tarlton restarted at the rear of the field, but it didn’t take long for him to find the front. On the 13th lap, the veteran took the top spot and never looked back. He then survived a green-white-checkered finish and the ill engine to pick up his ninth win in 34 races this season.
“It’s great to be the first ASCS championship winner in California,” Tarlton said. “I like the ASCS format and its series, so I really hope it gets bigger from here.
“It was raining here today and I was wandering around my house thinking about how cool it is to be one of the guys setting the bar. It’s fun and it’s a tribute to how hard my dad, crew chief Paul Baines and the rest of my crew have worked all season.”
Tarlton will take next weekend off before continuing his quest for a third consecutive Ocean Sprints championship on Sept. 23 at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif. He is currently seven points out of the lead with three races remaining.
“Seven points is tough because there is a five-point difference between first and second, then one point per position after that,” he said. “Basically, I have to go win. I’ve got to go to Watsonville and win if I have any chance at this championship.”
Tarlton has three Ocean Sprint wins this season. He has also claimed two of the last three Ocean Sprints events at Ocean Speedway.
“I want to win three championships in a row so bad,” he said. “I’ve got my work cut out for me.”
QUICK RESULTS –
Sept. 10 – Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif. – Heat race: 2 (5); Feature: 1 (3).
SEASON STATS –
34 races, 34 features, 9 wins, 25 top fives, 26 top 10s, 29 top 15s, 32 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Sept. 23 at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., with the Ocean Sprints
FAVORITE NUMBER –
5: ASCS Southern California Region victories in seven races this season.
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 – 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.