Johnson Brothers Go 1-2 in Ocean Sprints Round 1, Hogge, Frost, Elrod, & Keldsen Also Victoriousracepmg
Watsonville, CA – Penngrove’s Chases Johnson made a rare weekly show appearance at Ocean Speedway and was rewarded with his first career Ocean Sprints victory to go along with a win in a Midget last year. The North Bay was out in force Friday night as Cotati’s Jake Haulot led the first lap before Chase Johnson took over and pulled away. Chase’s closest competitor then became his younger brother, Colby. The race was brought to a halt on lap 12 when Kurt Nelson of Gilroy flipped in turns three and four. The longtime Ocean Sprints racer was running third at the time of the misfortune and was OK. On the restart, Chase Johnson pulled away as Colby Johnson bobbled and fell back to fourth for a moment while battling with Haulot and Templeton’s Kaleb Montgomery. Colby would make his way back to second but with the rest of the race running to the finish under green, Chase Johnson set sail and convincingly won his first feature in 360 competition at the track. Colby Johnson and Jake Haulot both had impressive runs to complete the podium, with Kaleb Montgomery taking home fourth. Salinas’ Jeremy Chisum ran a solid race and came away with a top five. San Jose’s Wayne Katen was Hard Charger, advancing eight positions in the feature. Colby Johnson started off the night by setting Quick Time stopping the clocks at an 11.936. Heat race wins went to Windsor’s John Clark, Kurt Nelson, and Jake Haulot. Haulot was the victor in the 6-lap Dash.
Bobby Hogge IV took home another win in IMCA Modified action, but it certainly didn’t come easy. Hogge started on the pole position but it was Robert Marsh who led the way early on. Hogge took the lead on a restart early on, but last year’s champion Cody Burke entered the picture to challenge for the lead. Burke started back in eighth but arguably had the quickest car and quickly found himself towards the front of the pack. Hogge and Burke would race side-by-side for several laps but a late race bobble from Burke allowed Hogge to streak away and take the Opening Night victory. Robert Marsh couldn’t duplicate his Opening Night performance from last year and had to settle for third ahead of Livermore’s Brian Cass and Austin Burke. Heat race wins went to Martinez’s Anthony Slaney and Cody Burke.
Adriane Frost of Watsonville dominated the IMCA SportMod feature starting outside pole and leading every lap en route to victory. A fierce battle for second unfolded behind her with Watsonville’s Billy Robertson, San Jose’s Randy Miller, and Gilroy’s Austin Williams. Williams made his way up to second and closed in on Frost, but a caution for rookie Max Baggett of Prunedale and San Jose’s John Ferro paused the action. On the restart, Randy Miller took second from Austin Williams and looked to the inside of Frost for the lead briefly before she was able to pull away. Frost would go on to win by nearly four seconds over Randy Miller. Austin Williams finished third and Billy Robertson had a great drive to come in fourth, but unfortunately was disqualified for not reporting to post-race tech. This promoted San Ramon’s Kelly Campanile, a rookie in the division, to fourth and Santa Cruz’s Steven Allee to fifth. Billy Robertson and Randy Miller were heat race winners.
In the Hobby Stocks, San Martin’s JC Elrod started off his 2019 season where he left off in 2018: In victory lane. Elrod who started in the second row darted to the lead and pulled away from Ballico’s Dexter Long, who was making an especially rare appearance. Long and San Jose’s Robert Gallaher battled of over second, allowing Elrod to pull away. While under caution, Long’s night would come to a fiery end as something under the hood ignited, forcing a red flag to come out. On the restart, Robert Gallaher had his time at the front until Elrod took it back with six laps to go. Elrod got loose the very next corner and lost the lead down the back stretch but a caution for Joe Gallaher saved him and put him back out front. Elrod would cruise to the big Opening Night win, with Rob Gallaher placing second and DJ Keldsen in third. Prunedale’s Quintin Harris had one of his best career runs in a Hobby Stock with a fourth place finish. Watsonville’s Terry Traub rounded out the top five. JC Elrod and Rob Gallaher won the pair of heat races.
Dakota Keldsen of Watsonville won Opening Night in the 4-Bangers for the second year in a row. Keldsen led every lap on his way to the win. First year drivers had impressive showings, with Scotts Valley’s Ryan McClelland and Prunedale’s John Grilli threatening for the lead. 2015 4-Banger champ Luke Babcock made his return to the track, but retired around halfway along with McClelland with mechanical issues. Dakota Keldsen was strong out front, but John Grilli wasn’t going down without a fight. In the end, Keldsen was too strong and grabbed the win. Grilli was second, but was disqualified for not reporting to post-race tech. This moved the Beardsley family – Nicole, Kate, and Bill to second through fourth. Watsonville’s DJ Harrington completed the top five in his debut. Ryan McClelland and Luke Babcock won the division’s heat races.
Next week, it’s Round #2 of the Ocean Sprints pres. by Taco Bravo season, with the South Bay Dwarf Cars joining the program. Plus, it’s the highly anticipated debut of the Western Midgets, a brand new travelling division to the track. Also, it is the first Police in Pursuit for Special Olympics race of the year. Donations to Northern California Special Olympics through the drivers are still being accepted online HERE.
Advance tickets to the races scheduled for Friday, April 19th are available here: https://market.myracepass.com/store/tickets/?i=1175925&store=12231
Pits are scheduled to open at 2pm and Grandstands will open at 4:30pm. 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.