WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA (August 12, 2023) – Templeton’s Kaleb Montgomery steered his family owned No. 3 Sprint Car to victory lane in the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo on Friday night, becoming the tenth different winner of the Sprint Car season at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville. Montgomery’s win came during the Tribute to Terry Traub night which attracted nearly 80 entries across five divisions at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds speedplant. Photos by Top Dawg Photos

Hanford’s DJ Netto led time trials while Lemoore teenager Gauge Garcia won the Gizdich Ranch Dash for the pole of the 30-lap feature.

Montgomery knifed to the inside of Garcia in turn four to take the lead on lap one. The race was then stopped when Jason Chisum of Salinas nerfed nose first into the front stretch dirt and was collected by Vince Gianotta of Hollister.

Incoming points leader Rickey Sanders of Watsonville nabbed second on the restart and July 28 winner Joey Ancona of Concord took over third. Bryce Eames of Santa Maria stopped exiting turn two for the next caution on lap four.

Hanford’s DJ Netto began to make his presence felt from third position in lapped traffic before a caution on lap ten. Netto used the restart to advance into second past Sanders. Montgomery led the field into traffic again at the halfway point and was slowed slightly in turn three, allowing Netto to take the lead on lap 16.

Ancona suffered a major side over side flip in turn one to bring out the red flag on lap 18. Two-time 2023 winner Mitchell Faccinto of Hanford retired with a mechanical issue as well, relegating the only two 2023 Ocean winners in the field out of the race.

Montgomery slid back into the lead on lap 19 but Faccinto answered back with a slidejob of his own to lead lap 20. Ryan Rocha flipped hard and landed on his lid but was uninjured.

Both 13th-starting Caeden Steele and 2022 champion Kurt Nelson of Gilroy overhauled rookie Caleb Debem to knock him out of the top-five on the restart.

Netto’s bid for victory ended when he ran into the back of the lapped car of Don Hart of Campo on lap 28, spinning to a stop to surrender the lead.

Montgomery assumed the top spot and fended off a challenge from Sanders for the victory. Nelson finished third followed by Steele and Easton’s Michael Pombo. Faccinto was awarded the Beer Optics Hard Luck award.

Multi-time Ocean Speedway Hobby Stock champion Rob Gallaher of San Jose won the 33-lap Tribute to Terry Traub feature, winning $333 for topping a 16-car field. Watsonville’s Sam Kennedy led the way from the pole while Gallaher advanced from fifth on the grid. Gallaher took second on the outside on lap six, then challenged Kennedy on the outside for the lead. Gallaher nabbed the point on lap 11 on the backstretch.

A furious battle for the positions behind Gallaher and Kennedy ensued, entertaining the Watsonville faithful. Watsonville drivers Adrianne Frost and Jerry Skelton spun for a caution. Prunedale’s Shane Freeman suffered a flat right front tire but was able to rejoin the action. Watsonville’s Dakota Keldsen also spun. All three incidents took place by the halfway mark of the race.

Todd Gomez of Antioch capitalized and worked from 12th on the grid up to third. Frost, points leader and defending champion Joe Gallaher, and Gomez staged a great race for the third position. At the finish, Rob Gallaher enjoyed a big win followed by Kennedy, Gomez, Frost, and Joe Gallaher.

Bryant Bell of Oakley won his first Ocean Speedway Western Midget Racing win on Friday night, winning his fourth feature of the WMR season and taking over the points lead.

Bell and his rookie teammate Adrianna DeMartini of Brentwood split the eight-lap heat races in Watsonville. They shared the front row for the 20-lap main event.

Surprise, Ariz.’s Drake Edwards used the outside line to quickly charge from sixth to third at the drop of the green flag. DeMartini and Bell raced side-by-side for the lead with DeMartini leading lap one before Bell led lap two. Edwards swooped past them both to lead lap three.

Bell followed Edwards on the high line as they charged ahead of the field. Bell then drove underneath Edwards to retake the lead on lap nine. The leaders then approached lapped traffic by lap 14. Edwards used the traffic as a pick to execute a crossover in turn two but it was nullified. Incoming points leader Logan Mitchell of Santa Cruz flipped hard in turns three and four. He was able to walk away from a battered No. 96x Boss Chassis.

Bell never relinquished the lead on the way to his sixth-career WMR win and the points lead. Edwards finished second followed by DeMartini, Lodi’s Nate Wait, and two-time defending champion Blake Bower of Brentwood.

IMCA Sport Modified state championship contender Jason Ryan, Jr. of Oakley prevailed for his fourth win of the season in a 20-lap contest. Austin McMillin of Atascadero led the first three laps before Chowchilla’s Emali VanHoff took the lead. Ryan emerged from a three-wide battle for second with the position on lap five. McMillin then spun for a caution on lap seven. Ryan used the restart to drive inside VanHoff to lead lap eight.

Ryan built up a three-second lead which was erased when Jonathan Hagio of Prunedale went straight up the track in turn four and came to a stop on lap 17. Ryan held the lead to the finish while Trevor Clymens of Brentwood finished second followed by VanHoff, Frost, and Watsonville’s Steven Allee.

Jason Lazzerini of Moss Landing moved closer to the 2023 Four Banger championship with a dominating win in the 15-lap race. Lazzerini started 12th but took over the lead from Thomas Cumming by just the second lap. TJ Santos of Gilroy, Ken Keegan of Scotts Valley, Kate Beardsley of Felton, and Matt Hill of Felton were the top-five finishers.

Up next for Ocean Speedway is the two-day Johnny Key Classic. Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo compete Friday night, then are joined by Sprint Car Challenge Tour Sprint Cars on Saturday night. For more information visit www.OceanSpeedway.com

Ocean Speedway August 11, 2023 Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo RESULTS

A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 3-Kaleb Montgomery[2]; 2. 121-Rickey Sanders[4]; 3. 72W-Kurt Nelson[9]; 4. 121X-Caeden Steele[13]; 5. 37-Michael Pombo[11]; 6. 3D-Caleb Debem[12]; 7. 88N-DJ Netto[3]; 8. 8-Jeremy Chisum[10]; 9. 21X-Gauge Garcia[1]; 10. 56Z-Don Hart[15]; 11. 72S-Bradley Dillard[18]; 12. 46J-Geoffrey Grimm[16]; 13. 34B-Glenn Bryan[19]; 14. 5R-Ryan Rocha[8]; 15. 72JR-Chris Nelson[14]; 16. 88A-Joey Ancona[5]; 17. 22-Mitchell Faccinto[7]; 18. 50-Bryce Eames[6]; 19. 25Z-Jason Chisum[20]; 20. 98-Vince Giannotta[17]

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About Steven Blakesley

Steven Blakesley is a motorsports announcer and public relations specialist with more than 15 years of experience. His biggest pet peeve is race fans who only enjoy one form of racing over all others.