Go Time: 2020 Ocean Speedway Season Kicks Off This Fridayracepmg
Watsonville, CA – The 61st season of auto racing at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville gets underway this Friday, March 13th, with a five-division offering. Headlining the program will be the Ocean Sprints pres. by Taco Bravo, which is coming into its 14th year of action since being added to the weekly program in 2007. Last season saw one of if not the closest points battles in Ocean Sprints history come down to the final race of the season. Morgan Hill’s JJ Ringo won the championship over Campbell’s Bud Kaeding after Kaeding got caught up with a lapped car in the closing laps of the final main event. Ringo is set to defend his title back aboard the Keller Motorsports machine against a host of hungry drivers. The Ocean Sprints are set to compete a total of 16 times in 2020, highlighted by the Sprint Car Challenge Tour’s first appearance at the track at the 60th Annual Johnny Key Classic on August 22nd.
The IMCA Modifieds are also on the card. In 2019, the Burke brothers of Salinas had a season-long battle that came down to the final race of the year, with Austin getting the upper hand. Cody, the 2018 champion, was a scant one point behind his brother in the final standings. The IMCA Modifieds will race on 13 nights this year, including several marquee events, such as the 3rd Annual Bill Egleston Memorial, the 23rd Mike Cecil Memorial, and two nights at the 10th Annual Pat and Jim Pettit Shootout.
The IMCA SportMods are also scheduled to open their season this Friday. This will be the division’s ninth year of competition at the track. Last year, Atwater’s Jarrod Mounce made a somewhat surprising run at the championship after missing a race early in the season. Mounce won three times on his way to the championship. Local favorite, Adriane Frost of Watsonville, won twice and placed second in the point standings. The IMCA SportMods are scheduled for 18 races in 2020, including the Egleston, Cecil, and Pettit events.
The Hobby Stock division was the site of near total domination by the Gallaher family in 2019. Robert Gallaher won seven times on his way to his third track championship. His father, Joe, picked up two wins during the year and Rob’s car won another main event with Doug Hagio at the helm. The Gallaher family is set to go after another championship against any and all challengers that come their way in 2020. The Hobby Stocks have 18 races this year, including the Egleston, Cecil, and Pettit events.
The Four Bangers get their 16th continuous season of racing underway this Friday as well. Last year, the Beardsley family had another great year and another championship with Nicole taking the crown in 2019 after tying with her sister. Father, Bill, won in 2017 and sister, Kate, won in 2018. This year, it’ll be anyone’s guess who will walk away with the championship as the division always has several newcomers each year.
All IMCA drivers must present proof of membership (this can be the email from IMCA if you do not have your hard card yet) at the first race or purchase a membership at the track. Online memberships can be completed here: https://imcaracing.formtitan.com/7992055a1521052607471#
Save time on Opening Night and print and complete the necessary forms before heading to the track. A reminder that you will not be paid if we do not have a new W-9 on file. All the forms can be found here: http://www.racepmg.com/driver-info/forms
Pits are scheduled to open at 2pm and Grandstands will open at 4:30pm. Pill draw will close at 4:30pm. The driver’s meeting is scheduled for 4:45pm. Pit passes are $40 for 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 David Spencer.