By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – June 28, 2015…The Ocean Speedway has had no shortage of excitement this year and that was certainly the case on Friday night when the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series came to town for the 30th Pombo/Sargent Classic.
When the white flag waved it looked as if Tyler Walker would be headed for victory, but 13th starting DJ Netto had other ideas in mind. As the pair headed into turn three for the final time and the crowd rising to their feet, the 19-year-old Hanford driver threw a monster slider to grab the lead. Walker tried to cut back underneath, but Netto beat him to the line by 0.175 seconds for the victory. It was Netto’s second career King of the West victory, after winning his initial series race on May 16 at Thunderbowl Raceway.
The Central Valley youngster also came close to bringing home a victory at last year’s Pombo/Sargent Classic, where he came home with a runner up finish. The triumph on Friday night came aboard his Netto Agriculture/ Penny Newman Grain 88n Sprinter. Walker finished second in his first start aboard the Josh Ford Motorsports 73, with 14th starting Shane Golobic rounding out the podium in the Keith Day Trucking 22. Jason Statler had a great run from 19th to fourth aboard the DF Rios Motorsports 00, while Carson Macedo completed the top-five at the helm of the WFO Apparel 21x.
“This is such an awesome feeling I don’t even know what to say about it,” said an exuberated Netto on the front stretch. “To be able to pull off a last corner pass on a guy like Tyler Walker is just unreal. Sometimes it’s better to be running second and that was the case tonight. It’s pretty special to win the Pombo/Sargent Classic after coming so close last year. I want to give a huge thanks to my guys for giving me such a great car. To win a race after starting 13th is awesome. Thanks to all you fans for coming out tonight and supporting us. Hopefully we gave you a good show and you’ll be back in July for the Howard Kaeding Classic.”
When the green flag waved in the 30-lapper front row starters Jonathan Allard & Mitchell Faccinto battled for the top-spot. Faccinto officially led lap one, before the yellow waved for a stalled car. On the restart Allard fought his way past to take the lead, with Evan Suggs following along for second. Faccinto’s strong start to the night came to an end on lap six when contact from behind left him stalled in turn four. Things began to heat up on the restart with movers & shakers coming lap after lap. Bud Kaeding & Tyler Walker would take over second & third shortly after going back green, as Suggs got out of shape and dropped in the order.
Another well prepared surface was seen on Friday and despite Allard having his way out front for the majority of the feature, things behind him continued to be exciting. A number of drivers spent time filling out the top-five throughout the duration of the main event. Sliders were prevalent all race long as restarts kept thing intense. Drama would develop late in the going however, when leader Allard had issues in traffic just six laps shy of the finish. The three-time KWS champ was in search of his first win of the season, but his night came to an end after contact with a lapped car sent him into the turn two wall extremely hard.
This moved Walker & Carson Macedo up to the front row for the double file restart. Prior to the red flag the duo was putting on a show battling for the second position. At this time Netto was also making some fantastic moves, charging from 13th third. More drama would develop after going green though, as Brent Kaeding & Bud Kaeding raced hard for the fourth position, which resulted in Brent making contact with Bud off turn four. It saw Bud get upside down to bring out the red. Brent also had damage and exited to the work area. Both drivers restarted, but their shot at victory came to an end.
On the restart Netto shot to second around Macedo and gave chase after Walker. It set up the miraculous finish with Netto making up immense ground on the final lap to pass Walker and hold him off for the stunning win. Showing just how hard Netto drove on the last lap, his fastest lap of the race came on the final go around.
Although disappointed Walker was happy to bring home another consistent finish. “I just feel really bad for my guys because I feel like I let them down right there, but DJ did a great job on that last lap. I’m definitely happy to be up here on the podium again and want to thank Jimmy May and the Josh Ford Motorsports team for giving me the chance to drive this car tonight. It was great race and a lot of fun, although I hate finishing second.”
Golobic’s strong charge from 14th to third continued his solid 2015 campaign with KWS. “We had a great run in the main event tonight and I had a nice front row seat to that great battle between DJ & Tyler. It’s been an awesome year for us and I really have to give a big thanks to Keith Day and this whole 22 team. We’ve been really consistent and I know the wins are going to start coming soon. I can’t wait to be back here for the HK Classic in July.”
Jason Statler’s outstanding run from 19th to fourth was good enough to earn him the KSE Hard Charger Award. It was the best outing of the season for the 2004 KWS champ, who made some excellent pinpoint passes in the 30-lapper. After challenging for the lead at one point Macedo crossed the stripe in fifth to earn his fifth top-five finish of the year. Dominic Scelzi came from 16th to sixth, Bobby McMahan was seventh, Ryan Bernal went 15th to eighth, Scott Parker 19th to ninth and Bud Kaeding rounded out the top-10.
The dash went to Jonathan Allard, with the three 10-lap heat races going to Carson Macedo, Bud Kaeding and Allard. Evan Suggs opened the night by setting his first fast time of the season with a lap of 11.414. Full results are available at www.racepmg.com
Make plans to join us at the 5th annual Howard Kaeding Classic in July at the Ocean Speedway. The big weekend will be kicked-off on Wednesday night July 8 with the 2ndannual HK Classic Car Show & BBQ, held at the High Five Pizza located at the Silver Creek Sportsplex in San Jose. The Car Show takes place from 5pm to 9pm, with Dinner served from 6pm to 8pm.
Proceeds from the Wednesday event go to the Silver Creek Sportsplex Foundation, which aims to ensure that every child, regardless of financial ability, is able to participate in local amateur athletic training and competition. Please come out and enjoy a fun night with some great food, all put on for a great cause.
The racing weekend then begins on Friday night July 10 at the Ocean Speedway with the Civil War 360 Sprint Car Series presented by Flowmaster taking on the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo. The event concludes Saturday July 11 with the Howard Kaeding Classic finale featuring the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series & Joe Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprints. We’ll have a post race party Friday and a Saturday afternoon lunch as part of the festivities. More info will be out in the coming week.