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Date Posted — June 21, 2011
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WATSONVILLE, California — After two weeks off the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo will return to action this Friday night with the first Johnny Key Classic qualifying race in 2011. The Johnny Key Classic will be held on Saturday night August 27 with winners of the qualifying races guaranteed a spot in the feature.

Salinas’ Ronnie Day leads the points standings aboard the Keith Day Trucking #22 after picking up his first career Ocean Sprints victory on June 3 in a duel against Tommy Tarlton.

Tarlton, aboard the #21 for Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino and Corporate America Lending, is second in the standings at just 16 markers behind Day. Tarlton is yet to win at Ocean Speedway this year but did win the Ocean Sprints feature at Tulare in April.

The only repeat winner this year has been Bud Kaeding, with Tim Kaeding and Shane Golobic the other main event winners through six rounds thus far.

Justin Sanders of Prunedale, a consistently strong qualifier, is on the move in the points standings with his sixth place finish on June 3 placing him third in the standings. St. Helena’s Rico Abreu and Tommy Laliberte round out the top-five in the points. Laliberate is on a hot streak as of late with sixth and seventh place finishes.

The 51st Johnny Key Classic will pay $5,000 to win. Tim Kaeding won the 50th edition of the classic last August over Kyle Larson. The race honors Johnny Key who was a legendary figure in Bay Area motorsports throughout the 40s and 50s when he won four San Jose Speedway track championships and hundreds of races.

Just four qualifying races will be held for the Johnny Key Classic this year with the race winners locked into the show. The top-two cars in the points at the time of the Johnny Key Classic will also be locked in, while the remaining entries that night will have to qualify and race their way into the prestigious event.

Friday night’s qualifier is expected to draw a strong field to Watsonville as it also serves as the prelude to the Golden State King of the West (July 1-2) and California Sprint Car Civil War races (July 8) coming up on the schedule at the John Prentice-promoted quarter-mile oval.

The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo show this Friday night includes Wingless Sprints, American Stocks, and 4-Bangers also scheduled. Adult tickets are just $17 with seniors 65+ $15 and kids ages 6-12 are $12. The family pass for two adults and two children is value priced at just $50. Qualifying will get underway at 6 p.m. with fan gates opening at 4:30 p.m.

For more information on the Ocean Sprint Cars presented by Taco Bravo log onto and for more on the Ocean Speedway visit

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Article posted by staff on June 21, 2011.