WATSONVILLE, California — Tommy Tarlton scored his third win of the 2012 Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo campaign, winning Friday's Johnny Key Classic qualifier feature at Ocean Speedway Watsonville in a dominating performance. Tarlton inherited the lead in the #21 Tarlton & Son entry after trouble struck points leader Shane Golobic and dominated the second half of the event for the convincing victory.
"The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo return to Ocean Speedway on Friday night June 20, with next weekend's events including the USAC Western Classic Sprints on Friday night."
Tarlton has assured himself a position in the 52nd Johnny Key Classic for Saturday night August 25, which will pay $10,000 to the winner and is presented by DDNi.
"You know the 9j (Golobic) was fast," Tarlton said. "It was getting ready to be a crazy race for the fans and I was thinking it was going to be his turn tonight. He caught the wall there in lapped traffic and gave us the lead."
San Jose's Wayne Katen led the field to green for the 30 lap feature in a field that was minus 2011 champion Ronnie Day. Day, with three wins in 2012, was unable to compete due to a back injury suffered during the week.
Katen led the opening five laps while Golobic charged forward from sixth starting position. Riding the cushion, Golobic swept by Katen in turn two to take the lead for lap six and brought Tarlton with him to the second spot.
On lap 10, Stockton's Brad Furr climbed past Katen for the third position and the chase was on with Tarlton and Furr trying to reel in Golobic. Golobic looked comfortably in the lead before having to slow in lapped traffic. Tarlton drove up to the rear bumper of Golobic before also engaging with the lapped car.
Golobic tagged the wall down the backstretch and lost steering into turn three as the caution came out on lap 14 for San Jose's Michael Twitchell spinning in turn two. Golobic immediately went to the pits with a broken tie rod and lost several laps in the pits.
With Golobic out of the picture, the attention turned to a Tarlton vs. Furr battle but Tarlton was able to get a good restart to take off to a straightaway advantage over Furr.
"Cowboy" Craig Smith of San Martin and last week's new track recorder holder Justin Sanders of Watsonville put on a great side-by-side duel for the fourth position, halted shortly when Carter Train stopped in turn one.
On the restart, Tarlton again pulled out to an advantage over Furr. Tarlton dodged a bullet when he narrowly avoided the stalled Twitchell on the backstretch to bring out another yellow on lap 18.
Another brief yellow on lap 20 for a stalled Ryan Rusconi set the stage for Sanders to take the third position from Smith. Sanders closed within a car length of Furr in the closing stages of the event for the second position, but at the finish it was Tarlton with a three-second win over Furr, Sanders, Smith, and Petaluma's Jason Toft.
Lemoore's Carson Macedo finished sixth from 14th starting to earn the DDNi Hard Charger Award worth $100 while Ray Scheidt's Electric fast-time honors went to Furr with an 11.561 second lap around the quarter-mile speedway. Heat race wins went to Tarlton and Rusconi.
The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo return to Ocean Speedway on Friday night June 20, with next weekend's events including the USAC Western Classic Sprints on Friday night and the King of the West Sprints on Saturday night as part of the "Howard Kaeding Classic" weekend.
For more information on the Ocean Sprint Cars presented by Taco Bravo log onto http://www.oceansprints.com and for more on the Ocean Speedway visit http://www.oceanspeedway.com
Ocean Speedway would like to thank Taco Bravo, Digital Delivery Networks, Get Som Sports, Ray Scheidt's Electric, Hoosier Tires West, and Kaeding Performance for their support of the 2012 Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo.
June 29, 2012 Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo - Watsonville, California
QUALIFYING: 2 Brad Furr: 11.561
HEAT RACE ONE: 21 Tommy Tarlton
HEAT RACE TWO: 98 Ryan Rusconi
30 LAP FEATURE: 1) 21 Tommy Tarlton, 2) 2 Brad Furr, 3) OB1 Justin Sanders, 4) 39 Craig Smith, 5) 27 Jason Toft, 6) 21x Carson Macedo, 7) 41w Joshua Williams, 8) 99 Wayne Katen, 9) 98 Ryan Rusconi, 10) 2x Carter Train, 11) 9j Shane Golobic, 12) 37 Michael Twitchell, 13) 72w Kurt Nelson, 14) 58 Jerry Bonnema DNS: 37x Conley Scott