By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA…Santa Maria’s Bryce Eames raced to his first career Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo victory last night at the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, California.
The second-year Sprint Car driver hung tough early and then drove an excellent race over the waning laps to score the win aboard the DL Farm Management/ V. Lopez Jr. & Sons No. 50 mount.
Joining him in victory lane during the night were Jim Pettit II with the IMCA Modifieds, Joe Gallaher with the Hobby Stocks, Kate Beardsley with the Four Bangers and Danny Wagner in the South Bay Dwarf Car division.
The 30-lap Ocean Sprints feature came to a quick halt when multiple cars came together in the first set of corners. Once things underway it was Fresno’s Steven Kent who shot to the lead and held command in the Western Metal Co. No. 37 machine. The complexion of the race changed drastically around laps 10 through 11 however, as second running JJ Ringo slowed to a stop in turn three.
Shortly after that Kent then lost power on a restart and saw his bid at an initial Ocean Sprints triumph come to a tough end. Bryce Eames now found himself out front and was able to persevere through various caution periods to keep the field at bay. Salinas driver Jason Chisum kept him honest while running the low line to perfection in his attempts to get by. Hanford’s Zane Blanchard, who came from the rear after an early collision also hounded the top-two over the closing circuits.
Eames hit his marks to cross under the Ed Entz checkered flag for the win over Chisum, Blanchard, Tuesday Calderwood and Logan Calderwood. Josh Chisum earned the Price Rite Restaurant Equipment Hard Charger Award, while Kent went home with the Beer Optics Hard Luck Award. Fresno’s Craig Stidham began the night by claiming the Dirt Travel Fast Time Award. The veteran had a strong night going until contact while battling for second resulted in him getting upside down during the feature.
Ocean Sprints finish: 1. 50-Bryce Eames; 2. 25Z-Jason Chisum; 3. 7Z-Zane Blanchard; 4. 4-Tuesday Calderwood; 5. 6-Logan Calderwood; 6. 6D-Josh Chisum; 7. 33H-Eric Humphries; 8. 72S-Bradley Dillard; 9. 28K-Kameron Suoja; 10. 72W-Kurt Nelson; 11. 37-Steven Kent; 12. 2K-JJ Ringo; 13. 56Z-Don Hart; 14. 36-Craig Stidham; 15. 23-Adam McCarthy; 16. 34B-Glenn Bryan; 17. 17-Rickey Sanders; 18. (DNS) 72JR-Chris Nelson