WATSONVILLE, California — Following his third win of the season last weekend two-time King of California Jonathan Allard will bring a 12-point advantage at the top of the standings into the fifth round of competition for the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series this Saturday night at Watsonville's Ocean Speedway.
Please note an earlier start time is scheduled for Saturday's event with the front grandstand gate opening up at 3:30pm. The pit board meeting will be held at 3:45 with track packing at 4, qualifying around 5:15 and racing scheduled to follow. A full program of qualifying time-trials, heat races, a dash and the 30-lap $3,000-to-win/ $400-to-start main event will be on tap this Saturday night.
Now in its fifth year of being promoted by John Prentice the Ocean Speedway has grown into one of the premier dirt track venues on the west coast and this weekend's event will be the first of two season stops for the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series to the track, with the other occurring on Saturday August 7. "We're excited to have the 410's come to our track this weekend," said Prentice. "They get around this place pretty quick and there are a lot of local drivers that run with GSC as well so it should be fun on Saturday."
Coming into the Ocean Speedway as the hottest sprint car driver in Northern California Allard will be in search of making it four wins in the first five Golden State Challenge races of 2010 on Saturday. The Chico driver has never won a 410 sprint car race at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds bullring however, he did come within one-lap of picking-up victory last April at the track, before Tyler Walker got by in traffic on the final circuit. Allard is also the current GSC track record holder at Ocean Speedway and has led every lap in the feature during each of his three victories so far this season aboard the Williams Motorsports, Red Line Oil No. 0.
Former two-time Ocean Speedway track champion Brent Kaeding will go into his home track sitting second in the Golden State Challenge Series standings and will look to chip away at Allard's lead. The Campbell driver ran second to Allard last weekend in Petaluma and has finished among the top-four in each GSC event so far this year, showing the type of consistency that has made him a 13-time King of California. "BK" last Friday also drove his Al's Roofing Supply, High Five Pizza No. 69 to a third place finish in Watsonville with the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo and will be looking for his first win of the season on Saturday.
After a fourth place finish last Saturday night Evan Suggs continues to rank third in the Golden State Challenge points and will look for his first career series victory this weekend at Ocean Speedway behind the wheel of the Suggs Racing, Riley Collins Body Shop No. 33e. The native of nearby Scotts Valley last season finished third in the Ocean Sprints standings at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds facility and scored a trio of runner-up finishes with the weekly 360 series. The 23-year-old also set fast-time on six occasions at the track last year and is the current 360 track record holder.
Moving to fourth in the Golden State Challenge Series points after last week is Elk Grove's Kyle Larson, who has been one of the very best at Ocean Speedway over the last year and is coming off a strong runner-up effort last Friday at the track. The 17-year-old last Saturday charged to a third place finish in Petaluma aboard his Stadelhofer Construction, Peppermill Casino-Reno No. 99 and is just five-points behind Suggs for the third spot in the GSC standings. Last season Larson won both a GSC main event and a Civil War feature in Watsonville and also scored a third place finish at the Johnny Key Classic in August.
Rounding out the top-five in the Golden State Challenge Series standings is Elk Grove's Bobby McMahan, who brought home a sixth place finish during the main event last Saturday night in Petaluma aboard his Racing for the Troops, C&H Veteran Enterprises No. 26b. The veteran driver last season scored a solid fourth place finish in the feature during an Ocean Sprints vs. Civil War Series event at the Ocean Speedway in September, which saw 41-cars in attendance. McMahan will look for a strong outing this weekend as he sits just 13-digits out of third in the GSC points.
Grass Valley's Jason Statler will look to rebound after an accident in the main event at Petaluma last Saturday put him out of the race on the opening lap and left him with his first dnf of the year. "The Big Guy" always runs well at the Ocean Speedway and will be looking to get back into Golden State Challenge victory lane this weekend for the first time since June of 2008. Statler this past Friday night also had a strong run at the track with the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo, charging from 14th to fifth in the feature at the helm of his DF Rios Construction, Nevada City Auto No. 00.
The last time the Golden State Challenge Series visited Ocean Speedway it was Campbell's Bud Kaeding who scored the victory and the three-time & defending USAC Silver Crown champ will look to do it again on Saturday. The 30-year-old racer comes into the weekend with momentum following his victory during opening night with the Ocean Sprint Car Series presented by Taco Bravo last Friday. Kaeding this past Saturday also charged from 14th to seventh in the main event at Petaluma Speedway.
Defending Ocean Speedway 360 champion Tommy Tarlton will make his third Golden State Challenge Series start of the season this weekend at the helm of the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Corporate America Lending No. 21 machine. The Easton driver tallied four wins in Watsonville last season, including the Johnny Key Classic en route to his first Ocean Sprints title. Tarlton has put together a pair of top-five finishes in his first two GSC starts of the season and will look for his first series victory in a number of years this weekend.
Other possibilities this Saturday night will include West Linn, Oregon's Zach Zimmerly, Penngrove's Alissa Geving, Clovis' Peter Murphy, Roseville's Colby Copeland, Pleasanton's Brad Furr, American Canyon's Matthew Davis, Visalia's Cory Eliason, Gilroy's Kurt Nelson and Eric Rossi, Prunedale's Justin Sanders, San Martin's Craig Smith, Morgan Hill's Ricky Wright Jr., Corralitos' Jerry Bonnema, Fresno's Anthony Simone, Nevada City's Pat Harvey and more.
The front gate at the Ocean Speedway will open at 3:30 pm this Saturday April 24 with adult tickets costing $20, children 6 to 12 $14, seniors 65 and older $18 and kids five and under will be free. A family pack featuring two adults and two children will be available for $55. The Ocean Speedway is located on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville, California. For more info on the track visit http://www.oceanspeedway.com
For the full point standings, results and more information on the Golden State Challenge Series log onto http://www.goldenstatechallengeseries.com
Coming up- Next Saturday night May 1 the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series will be in action during the second annual Doug Fort Memorial at the Santa Maria Speedway. After that the tour will then head for the 20th running of the prestigious Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial at Chico's Silver Dollar Speedway on Saturday May 8.