Justin Sanders Grabs Third Ocean Sprints Win of 2019, Gallaher, Gullo, and Anderson Also Take Victoriesracepmg
Watsonville, CA – Justin Sanders of Aromas won his third Ocean Sprints main event of the season, but it may not have been had the front wing on Koen Shaw’s car not collapsed. Shaw started on the outside pole and got the jump on Dash winner, Kurt Nelson of Gilroy. The first two cautions of the event came out back-to-back on laps six and seven when Salinas’ Keith Day Jr. lost his front wing and Morgan Hill’s JJ Ringo had his left sideboard come off. Shaw was able to maintain the lead on the restart over Justin Sanders, but another caution on lap ten slowed the field once again. Jayson Bright of Discovery Bay, who had to start last after battling engine troubles all night, stopped on track after an incident on the backstretch while battling around the sixth position. Unfortunately, Bright’s promising race would come to an early end. On what turned out to be the final restart, Koen Shaw continued to lead over Justin Sanders and Campbell’s Bud Kaeding. As the race passed the halfway mark, Shaw’s front wing started to tilt further and further back, allowing Sanders to close in. On lap 20, matters worsened for Shaw as he bounced off the front stretch wall and went wide entering turn one. Justin Sanders wasted no time and grabbed the lead. Bud Kaeding would get by Shaw as well, but Justin Sanders was gone at the front, pulling away to a straightaway lead as he dealt with lapped traffic. With the rest of the race going caution free plus Sanders keeping it clean out front, Kaeding wasn’t able to mount an attack and had to settle for second nearly four seconds behind Sanders. Koen Shaw wheeled his wounded car to a third place finish over Kurt Nelson and Hanford’s Zane Blanchard in fifth. Bud Kaeding won Hard Charger honors for advancing five positions in the A-Main. Kurt Nelson started off the night by setting Quick Time with an 11.941 lap. Castro Valley’s Jake Andreotti and Koen Shaw won the heat races.
In the Hobby Stocks, at the beginning of the night, San Jose’s Rob Gallaher and his father Joe decided to trade cars, seeing if Rob’s was better compared to Joe’s. Rob had five wins on the year compared to Joe’s two going in to the night. At the start of the main event, Joe Gallaher jumped out to the early lead with heat race winner DJ Keldsen in tow. Gallaher and Keldsen stayed nose to tail for the entire race. For the first 19 laps, the race stayed caution free. As the leaders took the white flag, Keldsen dove deep into turn three and made contact with Joe Gallaher’s car, turning him sideways. Keldsen’s race was over, but Joe Gallaher was able to rejoin at the back of the pack. This gave the lead to Rob Gallaher with Watsonville’s Terry Traub alongside him on the front row. Traub was in his first race back since back surgery and was on the hunt for his first career win. Traub got the initial jump on the restart, with Rob Gallaher still right next to him. The two stayed side by side for the rest of the lap. As they rounded the last set of turns, Traub and Gallaher were still next to each other and as they came out of turn four and drag raced to the line, Rob Gallaher was able to just get by Terry Traub at the line. The margin of victory was less than a tenth of a second. Santa Cruz’s Ryan Muller kept his car straight and out of trouble to collect a great third place finish. Joe Gallaher and Freedom’s Cody Bryan completed the top five.
Watsonville’s Tony Gullo broke through for his first career victory in the 4-Bangers. Scotts Valley’s Ryan McClelland started on the outside pole and led the first circuit but Gullo was too strong on the outside and took the lead on lap two. The race went green to checker, with Gullo dominating out front. Meanwhile, Prunedale’s John Grilli charged up from his last place starting spot to battle with Ryan McClelland in the closing laps, but ran out of time. At the front, it was Tony Gullo taking the checkered flag by over three seconds ahead of Ryan McClelland and John Grilli. San Jose’s Ray Bunn and Felton’s Kate Beardsley completed the top five. John Grilli won the heat race for the division.
Dan Anderson representing the Task Force won his second feature of the season. Anderson started on the outside pole and gapped the field quite quickly. Anderson’s quick pace meant that he encountered lapped traffic very quickly, which was almost his downfall. Anderson’s car developed a bad push on corner entry while maneuvering through lapped traffic, allowing John Hohmann of the Scotts Valley PD to close the gap and look for a way by. But Dan Anderson was able to clear the traffic and hang on to take the victory by less than half a second over John Hohmann. Jesse Mueller of the CHP had to start last after winning the division’s last race but charged through the field to take home third. Kyle Dorris of the San Jose PD and Nate Graham of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office completed the top five. John Hohmann and Dan Anderson won the pair of heats for the division. Their last race for championship points will be held on September 20th.
This weekend is one of Ocean Speedway’s marquee events. The 59th Annual Johnny Key Classic will be held on Saturday and boasts a $5,000 payday to the winner of the Civil War vs. Ocean Sprints show. On Friday, the annual pre-race party and car show will take place at Taco Bravo in Campbell starting at 5pm. Fans are able to buy tickets there to avoid long lines on Saturday. There will no online ticketing this week. The IMCA Modifieds, IMCA SportMods, and Western Midgets will also all be on the card for Saturday night.
With the Saturday show, everything is set to begin one hour earlier than Friday races. Pits are scheduled to open at 1pm and Grandstands will open at 3:30pm. Pill draw will close at 3:30pm. The driver’s meeting is scheduled for 3:45pm. Pit passes are $40 for track members and $45 for non-members. All seating is general admission.
Photo Credits to David Spencer.