Dominic Scelzi Drives to First Career Pombo/Sargent Win, Foulger, Jones, Keldsen, and Prickett Also Grab Victories Friday Nightracepmg
Watsonville, CA – In what is one of the longest running Sprint Car races in California, the Pombo/Sargent Classic has been won by some of the greatest drivers to ever race here on the West Coast. On Friday night, Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi added his name to that prestigious list. Willie Croft of Roseville jumped out to the lead from the outside pole ahead of Dash winner Mitchell Faccinto of Hanford. Croft quickly entered lapped traffic, allowing Faccinto to peek to the inside a couple times. The race for the lead came to a halt when Atwater’s Nathan Rolfe found himself upside down in turn two on lap eight. Thankfully, Rolfe was OK. Just as the field was about to take the green flag, Penngrove’s Chase Johnson’s night came to an early end, as he pulled out of the race from third with engine troubles. Willie Croft continued to lead over Mitchell Faccinto while Dominic Scelzi moved past Hollister’s Ryan Bernal for third on the restart. Benicia’s Billy Aton brought out the next yellow when he spun in turns one and two on lap ten. Fremont’s Shane Golobic was running fifth, but pulled off track under the yellow. His team was able to make quick repairs and he tagged the back for the restart. Croft continued to show the way out front over Faccinto, but Faccinto abruptly drove onto the pit access road with a rear end failure, ending his night on lap 14. The final caution would come out for Billy Aton, who spun after contact with another driver in turn four on lap 16. On the restart, Croft led by several car lengths over Dominic Scelzi and Ryan Bernal, while Roseville’s Colby Copeland and Campbell’s Bud Kaeding battled hard for fourth and fifth. Croft’s quick pace at the front meant he reentered lapped traffic within just a handful of laps. This allowed Scelzi to close in and as Croft got mired behind some slower cars, Scelzi made his move for the lead on lap 24. Croft would then cut the exit off four too shallow and bump into the infield tire, relegating him to fourth behind Bernal and Copeland. Although Scelzi found himself out in front of the pack, he was not free of lapped traffic. As Scelzi rode behind Chico’s Kenny Allen, Ryan Bernal started to close in. Bernal would get close enough to throw a slider on Scelzi in turns three and four as they came to the white flag, but Scelzi was able to turn under and retake the lead as the pair took the white flag. Dominic Scelzi would go on to take the checkered flag by just a couple car lengths ahead of Ryan Bernal. Colby Copeland, Willie Croft, and Bud Kaeding completed the top five. Copeland also won the Hard Charger award, advancing ten positions in the feature. Heat wins went to Ryan Bernal, Hanford’s DJ Netto, and Atwater’s Sean Watts. Dominic Scelzi won Time Trials with an impressive lap of 11.520.
The IMCA Modifieds brought out a great 21 car field on Friday night, with Martinez’s Troy Foulger grabbing the win. Fellow Martinez competitor and past track champion, Nick DeCarlo, started on the outside pole and led early. Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas made his way by for the lead on lap nine, with DeCarlo keeping touch in second. Meanwhile, Troy Foulger charged through the field from his 20th starting position and into the top five by the time the first caution came out on lap 11. A rash of cautions from there on kept the field tightly bunched. Foulger picked off the last several remaining positions and found himself on the back bumper of leader Bobby Hogge IV. As the field rounded turn four to take the green, Hogge’s car lurched to the infield with a mechanical problem, ending his night on lap 18. Foulger would find himself out front and go one to take his first win of the season over Nick DeCarlo. Prunedale’s Jim Pettit II, Austin Burke of Salinas, and San Martin’s Jeff Decker rounded out the top five. Bobby Hogge IV, Livermore’s Brian Cass, and Nick DeCarlo won the three heat races.
San Jose’s Shawn Jones collected his second consecutive win in South Bay Dwarf Car action on Friday night. In a race that went green to checkered, Jones was able to pass Mark Biscardi, also of San Jose, on lap 11 and not look back. Jones’ night started off rough, as he missed pill draw and had to start in the back of the heat race and then got caught up in an on track incident on the very first lap of the heat. This meant that he had to start last in the feature, but he made quick work of the field to take the win. Biscardi took home second, with Hollister’s Ryan Ameln, Gene Pires Jr., of Los Banos, and Campbell’s Eric Weisler completing the top five. Biscardi was the heat race winner.
The 4-Bangers had an entertaining race with some different faces towards the front. A regular in the Police in Pursuit division, Roy Iler of Hollister, led the first eight laps before the 2016 champion in the division, DJ Keldsen, took over the top spot. A caution on lap ten for Santa Cruz’s Jeff Finsand, who slowed to a crawl on the track, bunched everyone back up for a five lap shootout. Keldsen led for a couple more laps before past Merced champ, Shawn DePriest of Dinuba, made his move for the lead on lap 12. One lap later, Keldsen would maneuver back by to lead lap 13. Keldsen would hang on to win over DePriest, with Roy Iler coming home third. Santa Cruz’ Adam Sabedra made his racing debut and came in an impressive fourth, with Prundale’s John Grilli in fifth. DePriest and Keldsen won the heat races.
The Western Midgets had their biggest turnout at the track since starting this year. Eight cars were in attendance, including some new drivers, but Fresno’s David Prickett remained undefeated. Bakersfield’s Brody Fuson made his debut and impressed early, leading the first couple laps before retiring to the infield. Atascadero’s Randi Pankratz then led the next ten laps before going a little too wide out of turn two and hitting the backstretch wall. This allowed David Prickett to storm by and take his fourth win of the season. Pankratz had to settle for second, with Ventura’s Steve Hix and Garden Grove’s Jessica Swanson completing the field of cars that finished. Honolulu, HI’s Keoni Texeira was scored fifth. Prickett also won the heat race for the division.
This Friday, it’s time for another round for the Ocean Sprints pres. by Taco Bravo. The IMCA Modifieds are back in action for the second week in a row and the IMCA SportMods and Hobby Stocks return after a week off. The Police in Pursuit for Special Olympics are back on track as well.
Advance tickets to the races scheduled for Friday, June 28th are available here: https://market.myracepass.com/store/tickets/?i=1176060&store=12231
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 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 David Spencer.