By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – April 4, 2016…Following a long off-season the always competitive & exciting Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo will hit the track this Friday April 8, with opening night for the Winged 360 Sprint Cars set to commence.
The upcoming year will also mark the 10th anniversary season for the Ocean Sprint Cars & the seventh held with the partnership of Dennis Wuolett and San Jose area business Taco Bravo. All of the nightly incentives for drivers are returning in 2016, including the Ray Scheidts Electric fast time award, the Beer Optics hard luck award and High Five Pizza hard charger award. Each of the awards will pay $100 cash at all of the 15 Ocean Sprints events this year at the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville.
“We’re really excited to have Dennis Wuolett & Taco Bravo back on board once again with the Ocean Sprints in 2016,” said John Prentice of Prentice Motorsports Group. “It should be a strong season and it all gets underway this Friday night. Last year there was lots of outstanding racing and we definitely look for more of the same this season. It’s amazing to think this will already be the 10th anniversary for the Ocean Sprints after we started it all back in 2007 with Rick Wright. We’ve definitely been blessed with some great partners over the years and we can’t thank everyone enough for their support.”
Highlights on the schedule once again include a pair of Ocean Sprints vs Civil War Series events, with those taking place on Friday July 15 and Saturday August 20. The July outing marks opening night of the sixth annual Howard Kaeding Classic weekend, which also showcases the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series the following night. The August date will be the 56th running of the prestigious Johnny Key Classic. Both events are two premier Sprint Car showcases in California each year.
Last season saw Watsonville’s own Justin Sanders have a year to remember, winning a record nine main events with the Ocean Sprints en route to his first track title. This season the 23-year-old has expanded his schedule to compete not only with the Ocean Sprints, but also with the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series. Sanders though is expected to remain a constant sight at the Ocean Speedway, as he looks back-up the historic season that he put together in 2015.
Despite missing a few events Fremont’s Shane Golobic was the biggest threat to Sanders last season and is expected to be so once again. The two-time Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo champion led the way in Ray Scheidts Electric qualifying last year and also scooped up three main event victories along the way. Golobic has already started off the season strong by winning his first career USAC National Midget Series event in Illinois on March 19.
Stockton’s Brad Furr, Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson, Fremont’s Dustin Golobic & Salinas’ Jeremy Chisum rounded out the top-five in points last year and are all expect back in 2016. Furr, the 2013 Ocean Sprints champ, picked up a victory last season on April 24. After suffering a rib injury Easton’s Tommy Tarlton made sporadic starts with the Ocean Sprints after winning the first two rounds of competition. The two-time Ocean titlist is also expected to make numerous starts this season.
More drivers expected this Friday to help kick-off the season will include Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, Fresno’s Koen & Kyler Shaw, Hollister’s Tony Gualda, Salinas’ Jason Chisum, Penngrove’s Michael Kofoid, Hayward’s Danny Malfatti, Cottonwood’s Lucas Ashe, Corralitos’ Jerry Bonnema, San Jose’s Craig Frandson, Ryan Rusconi & Darrel Taylor, Templeton’s Kaleb Montgomery and others.
The front gate at Ocean Speedway will open at 4:30pm this Friday night with hot laps at 5:30pm, qualifying around 6pm and racing to follow. The pit gate will open at 2pm. All seating will be general admission with adult tickets $17, seniors 65 & older $16, children 6-12 $13 and kids five and under free. A family pack featuring two adults and two kids is available for $55. The Ocean Speedway is located on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, California with the physical address being 2601 East Lake Ave, Watsonville, CA 95076.
The Ocean Sprints would like to thank Taco Bravo, High Five Pizza, Ray Scheidts Electric, Beer Optics, Hoosier Tires West, Flowmaster, Budweiser and Kaeding Performance for their support. For more information on the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo log onto www.racepmg.com
Former Ocean Sprints champions
2015- Justin Sanders
2014- Shane Golobic
2013- Brad Furr
2012- Shane Golobic
2011- Ronnie Day
2010- Tommy Tarlton
2009- Tommy Tarlton
2008- Brent Kaeding
2007- Brent Kaeding