ocean speedway Taco Bravo 360 sprint car series

By Steven Blakesley

WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA (September 29, 2011) – The fourth annual “Walt Branco Memorial” for Wingless Sprint Cars on Friday October 7 will pay $2121 to win with generous purse enhancements courtesy of Ocean Sprints car owner Joe Vonschriltz. The race will honor the late and famed car owner Walt Branco and will be one of the highest paying spec sprint races in Northern California.

In his memory the Branco will pay out bonuses to the top-six finishers in addition to the regular purse at Ocean Speedway. Bonuses of $1521, $821, $621, $421, $221, and $121 have been posted. The leader on lap six of the feature will also receive a $121 bonus.

“The wing drivers have the Johnny Key race so we decided to have a big race for the spec sprint drivers,” Vonschriltz said.

A big fan of drag racing, Walt was first introduced to sprint cars by co-worker C.J. Stubbles in the early 90’s. Walt worked as a crew member on Stubbles’ car for a few years learning the ins-and-outs of sprint car racing.

Walt became a car owner in the early 90’s and over a dozen year period he won main events with Ricky Williams, Chuck Gurney, Jr., and Randy Hannagan piloting his cars. He also took on ownership of a spec sprint with Doug Brewer winning several main events a year despite schedules of six to ten races a season.

Walt was also an important part of the development of Fremont’s Shane Golobic, who drives for Vonschriltz in the Ocean Sprints and Civil War. The last race that Branco attended was April 12, 2008 when Golobic won the Golden State Challenge main event at Ocean Speedway.

A heart condition forced Branco to the hospital just a week later before he passed away in July of 2008.

“Walt loved every aspect of sprint car racing,” Vonschriltz said, “from figuring out what equipment to buy, assembling the car, hanging out at the track before and after the races, and most of all watching his 6x sprint car on the track.”

Previous winners of the Branco include Ryan Bernal in 2008 and 2010, and Devon Ostheimer in 2009. Although all three Brancos have gone to local Ocean Speedway talents, a large contingent of regional spec sprint racers are expected to compete for the $2121 to win prize in 2011.

Friday October 7 will be a special night not only with the Branco on tap but the penultimate race for the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo. The excellent night of open wheel racing will also include Micro 600s and American Stocks rounding out the program.

Adult tickets are just $17 with seniors 65+ $15 and kids ages 6-12 are $12. The family pass for two adults and two children is value priced at just $50. Qualifying will get underway at 6 p.m. with fan gates opening at 4:30 p.m.

For more information on the Ocean Sprint Cars presented by Taco Bravo log onto and for more on the Ocean Speedway visit