Bud Kaeding Top Dawg Photo

By Steven Blakesley

WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA (April 27, 2024) – Bud Kaeding of San Jose steered the No. 29 to victory in Friday night’s third round for the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo at the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville. Kaeding won the series finale last August and returned to form as part of a four-division program at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.

Lincoln’s Tanner Carrick dominated time trials in search of his third consecutive win. Kaeding then won the dash for the pole position for the 30-lap feature.

Jason Chisum of Salinas flipped side over side on the backstretch to bring out the red flag on the opening salvo. Carrick had used the outside line to soar past Kaeding for the lead before the stoppage.

On the redo, Kaeding used his veteran skill to drive to the top to keep hold of the leading and halting Carrick’s progress. A caution flag on lap four gave Clovis’ Dominic Gorden an opening. Gorden went inside Carrick for second, then charged past Kaeding on the outside in turn four to lead lap five.

Gorden and Kaeding accumulated a strong advantage over six seconds ahead of Carrick in lapped traffic before action slowed with a caution on lap 16. Gorden’s dominance on the top line bit back on the restart when he slid off the edge of turn two and out of the lead.

Kaeding assumed the point and never relinquished it over the final 14 laps for the win. Carrick finished second for his third consecutive podium. Central Point, Oregon’s Garen Linder finished third ahead of teenagers Caleb Debem and Seth Standley.

2017 IMCA Sport Modified track champion Matt Hagio of Prunedale topped a 17-car field for the win in Friday’s 20-lap feature. Outside pole sitter Jeff Mead of Watsonville stumbled into turn one and stacked up the field, dropping Mead back to sixth in the process. 2023 track champion Chuck Golden of Pittsburg emerged from the battling in second place with a 2.1 second deficit to Hagio. The deficit was erased by a caution flag on lap nine.

The caution flew again on lap 12 followed by a red flag for hard contact between Mike Gill and Brian Baggett on lap 13. They were uninjured. The final caution came on lap 16, but Hagio held on for the win. Mark Garner of Antioch overhauled Golden for second. Watsonville’s Steven Allee and Morgan Hill’s Jim DiGiovanni rounded out the top-five.

A father-son extravaganza highlighted the Hobby Stocks action. 2023 track champion Joe Gallaher won a tight heat race fight over his son, 2019 champion Rob Gallaher, by just .064 seconds.

In the 20-lap feature, Rob Gallaher had the advantage of starting on the pole. He paced a very closely matched top-six drivers until trouble struck on lap 15. Gallaher got tight in the cushion in turn one and the ensuing fracas gathered up Shane Freeman of Prunedale and 2020 IMCA Sport Modified champion Adriane Frost of Watsonville.

Rob Gallaher maintained the lead and drove to the win followed by Joe Gallaher, DJ Keldsen of Newman, Bobby Gallaher, and Cody Keldsen of Watsonville.

Jason Lazzerini of Moss Landing staged another dominating performance in the Four Bangers division after 15 laps of main event action. Watsonville’s Joshua Silva led the first three laps but mechanical issues plagued his event.

Race two winner Thomas Cumming finished second followed by Kate Beardsley of Felton, Peter Vannerus, and Bill Beardsley.

Ocean Speedway races again on Friday night May 3 with Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, Four Bangers, and Police in Pursuit competing.

Ocean Speedway April 26, 2024 – Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo

A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 29-Bud Kaeding[1]; 2. 83T-Tanner Carrick[2]; 3. 22-Garen Linder[5]; 4. 3D-Caleb Debem[3]; 5. 25S-Seth Standley[6]; 6. 72W-Kurt Nelson[13]; 7. 9-Adrianna DeMartini[12]; 8. 98-Vince Giannotta[11]; 9. 10-Dominic Gorden[4]; 10. 8-Jeremy Chisum[8]; 11. 25Z-Jason Chisum[9]; 12. 72JR-Chris Nelson[7]; 13. 72S-Bradley Dillard[10]