WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA (June 1, 2024) – Ocean Speedway in Watsonville hosted a special Friday night stock-car only show with Cody Burke, Jeff Mead, Joe Gallaher, and Amaya Flower earning exciting wins at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds dirt track. Flower earned her first career Four Banger win while Mead’s win was his first in several years. Photo by Top Dawg Photos

After a winless 2023 season, former track champion Cody Burke of Salinas prevailed for the second time in 2024 in the IMCA Modifieds. West Coast Stock Car Hall of Famer Jim Pettit II of Prunedale and Robert Marsh of Salinas split the heat races.

Marsh jumped ahead of Burke to lead the opening lap of the 25-lap feature. Marsh built up a large lead before approaching lapped traffic. The caution flew for Mike Szlauko of Pismo Beach spinning in turn two.

Burke marched towards Marsh on the restart and took the lead from car no. 22 on lap 22. Burke led the final three laps for victory followed by seventh-starting Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas, Marsh, Austin Burke, and Pettit.

Watsonville’s Jeff Mead led all 20-laps for the IMCA Sport Modified win. The win also boosted Mead to fourth in the championship standings in his return to full-time competition.

Chowchilla’s Emali VanHoff won a fast-paced race for second followed by 2023 track champion Chuck Golden of Pittsburg, TJ Etchison of Watsonville, and Prunedale’s Brian Baggett. Mead and Golden won the heat races.

Fifth-starting Joe Gallaher earned win number four of the year in the 2024 Hobby Stocks season in Watsonville. Bobby Gallaher swooped around Norm Ayers of Corralitos to lead lap one. Action slowed when Dan Fassler of San Jose hit the backstretch wall. He was uninjured.

Joe Gallaher used the restart to pass DJ Keldsen for second. Grandson and grandpa battled for the race lead. Joe Gallaher moved underneath Bobby Gallaher in turn four to lead lap six. Keldsen took over second a few laps later in turn four as well. Bobby Gallaher managed to get the position back, however.

A convincing win went to Joe Gallaher followed by Bobby Gallaher, Keldsen, Ayers, and Watsonville’s Adriane Frost.

Amaya Flower of Prundale prevailed with a last-lap maneuver to win a wild 15-lap Four Banger feature. Watsonville’s Lilly Mead led the first lap of racing while Flowers and Joshua Silva battled for second. Defending champion Jason Lazzerini of Moss Landing drove from the rear of the field up third by lap six. Lazzerini then overhauled Tony Gullo for second on lap 12. Mead had a sizeable lead at that point but it was nullified when DJ Keldsen stopped on the front stretch.

Mead and Lazzerini dueled side-by-side for the win in a thrilling display of racing. The battle ended when they tangled on the backstretch and Mead flipped side over side. Her race was over but she was uninjured.

Lazzerini led the field back for a one lap restart but faltered coming into turn one, allowing Flower to knife underneath to take her first career victory. Peter Vannerus finished second followed by Thomas Cumming, John Hubbird, and Lazzerini.

Ocean Speedway returns on Friday night June 7 with Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo, Western Midget Racing, IMCA Sport Mods, South Bay Dwarf Cars, and Four Bangers in action!

Ocean Speedway May 31, 2024 – Race Results

IMCA Modifieds A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 20-Cody Burke[2]; 2. 2-Bobby Hogge[7]; 3. 22-Robert Marsh[1]; 4. 25-Austin Burke[3]; 5. 6-Jim Pettit II[6]; 6. 14H-Jacob Mallet Jr[5]; 7. 46-Kyle Bryan[8]; 8. 01-Raymond Keldsen Jr[4]; 9. 72-Mike Szlauko[9]

IMCA Sport Mods A Feature 1 (20 Laps): 1. 16M-Jeff Mead[1]; 2. 4M-Emali VanHoff[3]; 3. 3G-Chuck Golden[4]; 4. 28E-TJ Etchinson III[6]; 5. 54R-Brian Baggett[9]; 6. 39-Steven Allee[7]; 7. 42B-Max Baggett[2]; 8. 15-David Crocker[8]; 9. 33-Mike Gil[5]

Hobby Stock A Feature 1 (20 Laps): 1. 1-Joe Gallaher[5]; 2. X1-Bobby Gallaher[2]; 3. 01-DJ Keldsen[4]; 4. 51-Norm Ayers[1]; 5. 22-Adriane Frost[8]; 6. 44M-Matt Kile[3]; 7. 9-Wally Kennedy[6]; 8. 3OG-Dan Fassler[7]

Four Banger A Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 10-Amaya Flowers[3]; 2. 37-Peter Vannerus[4]; 3. 8-Thomas Cumming[7]; 4. 86-Jolhn Hubbird[6]; 5. 0-Jason Lazzerini[12]; 6. 43-Kate Beardsley[11]; 7. 52-Tony Gullo[5]; 8. 25-Nicole Beardsley[8]; 9. 16-Lilly Mead[1]; 10. 54-DJ Keldsen[9]; 11. 50F-Shelbie Freeman[10]; 12. 5-Bill Beardsley[13]; 13. 28J-Joshua Silva[2]

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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.