Roseville’s Sean Becker stormed from the sixth starting position earn his first 360 Sprint Car win at Ocean Speedway, topping a 37 car turnout for the win aboard the VanLare #5V. Becker fended off a late race challenge from two-time track champion Shane Golobic of Fremont for the win. Becker’s victory was part of a seven-division event that attracted 113 entries to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.
24 cars started the 30-lap Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo feature. Penngrove’s Colby Johnson led early from the pole position following an eight-car inversion after the redraw. Outside pole sitter Chase Majdic of Redding fell back to fourth early in the feature.
Kalib Henry of Sacramento used the outside to swoop past Johnson in turn four, leading lap five. Henry immediately faced pressure from Hanford’s season opening winner Mitchell Faccinto. Faccinto went across the front of Henry in turn four to lead lap nine. Becker pounced to take over second while eighth starting Golobic entered the fray as well. The leaders ran two-by-two in lapped traffic including several three-wide maneuvers.
Becker took over on lap 13 with Golobic following him through into second. Golobic looked poised to race for the win, charging towards Becker heading into turn three with seven to go. Golobic bounced through the cushion, however, giving up several car lengths in the process.
Golobic clawed back to Becker on the final lap but Becker gave the VanLare team their first win in several seasons and Becker’s first in a 360 at Watsonville. The top-five at the finish were Becker, Golobic, eleventh starting Tanner Carrick, Henry, and Washington’s J.J. Hickle.
“It’s interesting. I made most of my passes on the bottom of three and four. When lapped traffic comes you have to go where they’re not, so I was really fortunate this car was working on both lines,” Becker said. “I know they (VanLare) were itching for a win. To see his face in victory lane it looked like a big relief. For him and for me too at this place. This is a fun track and always enjoy coming here. We’re hoping to do both nights (of the Howard Kaeding Classic).”
Western Midget Racing had its first event of 2020 after many delays due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 2019 Ocean Midget champion David Prickett picked up where he left off with his seventh career series win.
Prickett led all 20-laps while Watsonville locals Evan Bonnema and heat race winner Tyler Slay battled for second.
2019 Ventura WMR champion Randi Pankratz went airborne in turn two before collecting Adam Elbert for a caution on lap five. Pankratz went to the pits with a flat left rear tire and was unable to continue. Slay spun on the restart and collected Elby, sending Elby for a flip which ended his evening.
17 year-old Jackson Dukes of Clovis took over second from Bonnema on lap nine. Three cars lined up for second behind Dukes. Slay moved up into third and tried to run down Dukes in the closing laps. David Prickett claimed the checkered flag over Dukes, Slay, 2019 Dixon Speedway Micro champion Norman Harley Rose, and Bonnema.
Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas won the IMCA Modified feature, which started 19-cars. Hogge led from the pole while Cody Burke jumped from seventh starting position up into second. Matt Hagio and Robert Marsh tangled for third, with Marsh going for a spin that forced a lap four caution. The contact ended Marsh’s evening while Hagio was sent to the rear.
Austin Burke used a series of cautions to advance from 11th to fourth past Jim Pettit II.
Cody Burke challenged Hogge throughout lapped traffic over the final five laps. Burke jumped inside Hogge coming to the finish line but Hogge managed to earn the narrow victory. Austin Burke finished third ahead of Mike Slaney and 13th starting Tim Balding.
Antioch’s Brent Curran won the 20-lap IMCA Sport Mod main event, fending off perennial state championship contender Fred Ryland in the closing stages of the race.
Santa Cruz driver Steven Allee used a wild opening lap to leap into the lead. June 25 winner Tanner Thomas was involved in a pair of incidents that relegated him to an 11th place DNF.
Sixth starting Justin McPherson of San Martin entered the fray and challenged for the lead briefly before a caution nullified the move. A five-car skirmish on lap two saw McPherson spin and collect opening night winner Ryland. The fracas ended the evenings for both McPherson and Andrew Pearce.
Curran took the lead on lap four after starting seventh. Ryland moved through the pack throughout the race, becoming a threat on the final lap. Curran was strong enough to win over Ryland, Gavin Espino, Billy Robertson, and Allee.
Shawn Jones led all 20-laps of the South Bay Dwarf cars main event. Cautions on lap 10 and lap 17 did not deter Jones as he topped Mike Grenert, Punky Pires, Trafton Chandler, and Mark Biscardi for the win.
Nicole Beardsley beat 2019 championship winning Kate Beardsley in the 15-lap Four Banger feature with Jeff Kessinger finishing third.
Nate Graham from Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office won the 15-lap Police-N-Pursuit main event from the pole position. Dan Anderson of Santa Clara PD started at the back, spun in turn four briefly, and still charged back to finish second with Jackie Yeung from the Capitola Police Department finishing third.
Ocean Speedway continues its 2020 season with the tenth running of the Kaeding Classic on Friday and Saturday night. Friday’s action will be highlighted by the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo while Saturday will see the NARC/King of the West 410 Sprint Cars competing. For more information, visit www.OceanSpeedway.com