Fourth Time the Charm? Opening Night Attempt #4 Set for Fridayracepmg
Watsonville, CA – For the third time this season, Ocean Speedway was forced to cancel last week’s racing action due to weather and track and pit conditions. This forced the postponement of Special Olympics Night at the Races, which has moved to April 19th featuring the first Police in Pursuit race of the year. Donations to the event are possible online HERE. This Friday, a five division program will be on the cards and (at press time) the weather looks favorable with temperatures in the high 60s.
Stockton’s Brad Furr will be a favorite to win another championship, coming off of collecting his third in 2018. Fresno’s Koen Shaw was his closest rival and led the point standings throughout the year but wasn’t able to fend off Furr in the end. Furr and Justin Sanders both won four times in 2018, with Sanders winding up fifth in the final standings. Three longtime track competitors looking for their first victories include Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson and the Chisum brothers, Jeremy and Jason of Salinas. Kurt Nelson’s son Chris is expected to be in action as well throughout the season. Bryan Grier, Jerry Bonnema, and Richard Fajardo are some of the other locals expected to be in action.
The IMCA Modifieds get their year started this Friday. Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas won six times last season and will be a shoe-in for the win if he’s in attendance this Friday. Hogge is fresh off a strong second place run over in Merced last weekend. Robert Marsh, also of Salinas, won last year’s season opener for the division. Cody Burke won twice last year en route to his first career track championship. SportMod veteran Anthony Giuliani of Morgan Hill has stepped up to the Modified ranks.
The IMCA SportMods had a competitive season last year, with no driver winning more than three times and a total of 13 different drivers going to victory lane. Morgan Hill’s Jim DiGiovanni was not one of the 13 winners, but that didn’t matter as he was incredibly consistent and won his second career track championship in the division. Anthony Giuliani won once and was second in the final standings. Gilroy’s Austin Williams won Rookie of the Year and placed third in the standings. Adriane Frost of Watsonville has a brand new BMS chassis and will look to guide it to the winner’s circle in 2019.
The newly rebranded Hobby Stock division will make their official Ocean Speedway debut this Friday. The class has been called American Stocks since it began running at the track in 1996. Last season, San Jose’s Matt Kile won his second career championship and five main events. Robert Gallaher, also of San Jose, won six times and finished second in the championship. San Martin’s JC Elrod also won five main events last season and placed third in the standings. The father-son duo of Joe and Robert Gallaher will both be strong threats for the win and have been testing at various tracks around the state in preparation for the season.
The Four Banger division was extremely competitive and saw eight different winners in ten races. More of the same is expected this season with several new drivers expected to come out to the track in the entry-level division. Last season, Felton’s Kate Beardsley won her first championship and two features. Santa Cruz’s Nate Teramo was the only other driver to win more than once and Abigail Kennedy of Watsonville fell just one point short of taking home the championship last year.
Advanced tickets are available here: https://market.myracepass.com/store/tickets/?i=1175910&store=12231
Pits are scheduled to open at 2pm and Grandstands will open at 4:30pm. Pit passes are $40 for IMCA and track members and $45 for non-members. All seating is general admission and tickets cost $18 for adults and $16 for seniors. Juniors 12-15 are $12 and Kids 6-11 are $9 and Kids 5 and under are free.
Photo Credits to Joe Shivak.