WATSONVILLE, CALIF. (August 14, 2021) – Nine is the number of completeness, and Justin Sanders of Aromas has moved closer to completing his goal of a 2021 Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo championship with his ninth victory on Friday night. Sanders drove ahead over the final five laps of the feature, capping a five-division program at the Ocean Speedway at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. Championship weekend for the Sprint Cars sees points races on Friday and Saturday including the 61st Johnny Key Classic on Saturday. Photo by Top Dawg Photos
Sanders won the dash and shared the front row of the feature with fast-time qualifier Chase Johnson of Penngrove. Johnson won the hole shot into turn one for the lead and led the field after lap one. Johnson encountered lapped traffic by lap five, with a pair no. 5 cars of Mark Chaves, Jr. and Connor Dannell in his midst. Johnson contacted his right front to the left rear of a lapped car, going airborne then slamming down onto the dirt. The damage eliminated him from the event.
Sanders chose outside on the restart to take possession of the lead. Concord’s Joey Ancona made a two-for-one maneuver to advance to third, nullified by Justin’s younger brother Rickey Sanders coming to a stop in turn two during his debut appearance.
The caution flew again on lap 14 for Bryce Eames of Santa Maria with a flat left rear tire. Ancona had seized third from Bud Kaeding before the caution fell, with the move again nullified.
Ancona followed Jayson Bright past 2020 champion Mitchell Faccinto, finally giving Ancona the third spot. The pass was short lived, as two laps later Ancona spun exiting turn four to collide with the front stretch wall for a lap 19 caution.
The restart involved the most serious incident of the evening as earlier heat race winner Jerry Bonnema of Corralitos flipped end over end on the front stretch. He was uninjured.
The final caution of the night came on lap 25 when Dannell spun off the exit of turn two. Sanders drove ahead for victory while Faccinto passed Bright for second. 11th starting Bud Kaeding finished fourth with 20th starting Jake Andreotti of Castro Valley finishing fifth.
Friday’s action also included the $1,033-to-win Tribute to Terry Traub for Hobby Stocks. Watsonville’s Billy Nelson overcame a 12th starting position to score the win. Ron Bonnema went to the outside to lead lap one with Sam Kennedy following him on the top to take second. The first caution came on lap four for Rob Gallaher spinning in turn three. The leaders raced into lapped traffic on lap nine with Kennedy using that to his advantage to lead lap 11.
Bonnema spun from second position on lap 12 in turn one requiring a caution. Gallaher had his second incident of the race in turn three on lap 16 for a caution as well. Nelson advanced to second by lap 20 and then drove into the lead on lap 23. Steve Remde and Tony Oliveira had a door banging incident on the backstretch that led to Remde spinning, requiring a six-lap shootout to the finish. Nelson held on for the victory over Bakersfield’s Dylan Wilson, Kennedy, Joe Gallaher, and Bonnema.
The Police-in-Pursuit season finale served as their fundraiser for Special Olympics, with $25,000 raised for the cause. The starting lineup was set by the fundraising amounts for each team. Roy Iller of San Benito Sheriffs started on the outside pole and led all 15-laps for the win. Santa Cruz Sheriff Nate Graham finished second followed by Santa Cruz Sheriff A.J. Waltrip, Capitola Police Officer Jackie Yeung, and Scotts Valley officer John Hohmann.
Jim Pettit II of Prunedale pulled off a come from behind win in the 25-lap IMCA Modified feature. Todd Hermosillo of Watsonville took the lead from Pettit at the start of the race. Pettit later went wide in turn one, falling into a battle with August 6 winner Andy Obertello of Hollister. Steve Pemberton of Salinas flipped in turn one for a red flag on lap 20. He was uninjured. Hermosillo picked the inside on the restart and Pettit seized the opportunity, taking the lead on lap 21. Pettit topped Obertello, Austin Burke, Hermosillo, and Cody Burke rounding out the top-five.
Prunedale’s Jonathan Hagio won his first IMCA Sport Modified race of the season. The race began with a series of lead changes with Max Baggett of Prunedale, sixth starting Trevor Clymens of Brentwood, and Hagio exchanging the lead over the first three laps. Clymens retook the lead on lap four which he held until lap ten when Hagio passed him on the inside of the backstretch.
Points leader Randy Miller of San Jose went outside Hagio in a bid for the lead on lap 19, before the leaders collided and Miller nosed into the front stretch wall. Hagio won a one-lap shootout to top Markus Frazier, Nicolas Zapatero, Duane Bieser, and Clymens as the top-five finishers.
Next weekend’s action will serve as championship weekend at Ocean Speedway for the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo. Friday’s event includes Hobby Stocks and South Bay Dwarf Cars. On Saturday, the 61st Johnny Key Classic sees the Taco Bravo Sprint Cars versus the Sprint Car Challenge Tour plus Hobby Stocks and Western Midget Racing. Tickets available online at www.OceanSpeedway.com or at the gate.
Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo August 13, 2021 Feature Results (30 LAPS)
1. 17-Justin Sanders; 2. 37-Mitchell Faccinto; 3. 68-Jayson Bright; 4. 69-Bud Kaeding; 5. 7P-Jake Andreotti; 6. 72W-Kurt Nelson; 7. 15T-Tristan Guardino; 8. 8-Jeremy Chisum; 9. 25Z-Jason Chisum; 10. 88A-Joey Ancona; 11. 17X-Rickey Sanders; 12. 67G-Grant Duinkerken; 13. 5-Mark Chaves Jr; 14. 72JR-Chris Nelson; 15. 98-Michael Pombo; 16. 88-Koen Shaw; 17. 5D-Connor Danell; 18. 2-JJ Ringo; 19. 58-Jerry Bonnema; 20. 72S-Bradley Dillard; 21. 50-Bryce Eames; 22. 28-Chase Johnson