Easton’s Tommy Tarlton races to first Ocean Sprints win in over a year on Friday nightracepmg
By Gary Thomas
Watsonville, CA – June 10, 2016…Gaining speed in recent weeks Easton, Ca’s Tommy Tarlton proceeded to put it all together on Friday night, getting around youngster Buddy Kofoid on lap 18 of the feature, en route to picking up his first Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo victory of the season.
The triumph broke a winless drought at the Ocean Speedway that dated back to April 11 of last season for the two-time Taco Bravo titlist. Tarlton has certainly started to show the strength over the last few events that we’ve become accustomed to seeing at the quarter-mile. The win came aboard his always potent Executive Auto Sales/ Elite Landscape Construction No. 21 machine and marked his third straight podium finish in Ocean Sprints competition.
“I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back in victory lane tonight,” said an exuberated Tarlton on the front stretch after numerous hugs & high fives from team members. “My crew chief Paul Baines and all the guys on this team work really hard so I’m thrilled to give them a win. For the most part it was some good clean racing, although I think something happened between two of the guys ahead of me. I’m glad to be standing right here though and want to thank all the fans that come out to support us, as well as all of our partners.”
The 30-lap main event took awhile to get going with a bevy of caution flags plaguing the flow of the contest. A very slick, but racy track was seen early on, prior to rubber coming down around the midway point. Watsonville’s Justin Sanders led the race early and looked for his second victory of the season. Things changed however, on a pair of lap eight restarts. The initial one saw Stockton’s Brad Furr get to his outside gunning for the lead, but the action got very tight in turn two, resulting in the pair making contact. Furr would drop back to fourth, but a yellow flag at that same time brought it all back.
The ensuing single file restart saw Furr execute a super slider in the first corner, with the live action once again becoming a little too close, resulting in contact and leaving Sanders parked in the second corner. Penngrove’s Chase Johnson had nowhere to go and lambasted the idle 17 Sprinter.
With Furr now out front he was able to hold command until lap 12, when 14-year-old Buddy Kofoid sliced his way by for the lead. The Penngrove racer was searching for his second triumph of the season and looked solid, until missing the rubber a couple times while coming up on lapped traffic, allowing Tarlton the opportunity to pounce.
As the top-two rounded the third & fourth corners on lap 17, Kofoid got just a bit high and that was all Tarlton needed to grab the top spot that he would never relinquish. Kofoid got extremely loose and turned a complete 360, but was able to gather it back in to continue on in fourth.
The remaining 12 laps were all Tarlton out front, who took the checkered flag by more than 4-seconds over second place Furr. It marked the second consecutive runner up finish for the past Ocean Sprints champ aboard the Price Rite Restaurant Equipment/ Brad Furr Racing No. 2 mount. Salinas, Ca’s Jeremy Chisum had one of the finest finishes of his career to round out the podium. It was great to see Chisum have a solid night in the Baby Matthew Pediatric Cancer Awareness/ Keith Day Trucking No. 8 Sprinter.
Kofoid & Fresno’s Koen Shaw rounded out the top-five. The top-10 was completed by Fremont’s Dustin Golobic, High Five Pizza Hard Charger Award winner Kyler Shaw of Fresno, Cottonwood’s Lucas Ashe, Salinas’ Jason Chisum and Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson. Chase Johnson was awarded with the Beer Optics Hard Luck Award.
Sanders captured the night’s Dash, while Brad Furr & Dustin Golobic won heat races. Furr opened the night by setting the Ray Scheidts Electric Fast Time.
A-main finish: #21 Tommy Tarlton #2 Brad Furr #8 Jeremy Chisum #4S Buddy Kofoid #88 Koen Shaw #9J Dustin Golobic #92 Kyler Dash Man Shaw #33 Lucas Ashe #25Z Jason Chisum #72W Kurt Nelson #7 Nick Ringo Jr #6N Gary Nelson Jr. #17 Justin Sanders #24 Chase Johnson #55 Danny Malfatti #73 Craig Frandsen #17S Derek Overkamp
The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo will return next Friday to the Ocean Speedway, before the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series invades the track on Friday June 24 for the 31st annual Pombo/Sargent Classic. The full schedule can be viewed at www.racepmg.com
Photos courtesy David Spencer