WATSONVILLE – Taking advantage of the misadventure of points leader Justin Sanders, Dominic Scelzi of Fresno won his second feature Ocean Sprints on Friday night at Ocean Speedway.
Scelzi picked up a quick time and then moved into position to capitalize when Sanders suddenly slowed down with a lead in the 30-lap contest, relinquishing first position with an apparent problem at the back.
Scelzi’s victory was part of a five-division affair on the dirt track at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.
“Anytime you can come here and run like we did, it’s a huge boost of confidence,” Scelzi said. “I just didn’t do a very good job in doubled traffic. I really felt like we were as good as Justin (Sanders). We were starting to close a bit. When he pulled away from four… I locked the brakes and made contact with him in the front right. Fortunately, nothing broke and we were able to score our 16th win of the year for us.
The opening laps saw several warnings, first when Joel Myers, Jr. of Sebastopol and Goodyear, Logan Calderwood of Arizona collided in the second corner, stopping Calderwood with damage. The peloton raced for one lap before Kurt Nelson came to a halt in the third corner with a flat left rear tire. On the next attempt, poleman Keith Day, Jr. led the way, but had company inside Sanders at both ends of the race track. The yellow stole again in the second round with Chris Nelson falling victim to a flat left-back.
Day led slightly ahead of Sanders on the restart, giving Sanders an inside knife opening in round one to take the lead in round three. The doubled traffic on lap 11 allowed Concord’s Joey Ancona to take the outside of Scelzi to take third place in the first corner. Day slowed down from second position on lap 19, ceding second to Ancona and third to Scelzi. Day finally stopped in the home stretch for a warning on lap 22. He joined the peloton after a trip to the work area. The warning flag erased a five-second advantage for Sanders.
Scelzi used the restart to earn second place in Ancona, crossing him on turn four. Scelzi then reduced Sanders’ lead, approaching a car’s length. As the peloton finished the 27th lap, Sanders abruptly slowed down in the front row. Scelzi made light contact but managed to dodge Sanders to take the lead as the yellow fell. Ancona suffered a problem on the next restart which also relegated them to the infield.
Scelzi earned his second Ocean Sprints victory in 2021, defeating tenth start Jesse Schlotfeldt of Arlington, Wash., USAC West Coast 360 champion Tristan Guardino of Fremont, Travis Labat of Livermore and Bryce Eames of Santa Maria. 18th start JJ Ringo of Morgan Hill finished seventh.
West Midget Race
Blake Bower of Brentwood topped the Western Midget Racing main event for his fifth win of the season.
Bower and the Classic Pombo / Sargent Sage Bordenave winner from French Camp shared the qualifying races overnight. The duo shared pole for the 20 laps function. Bower charged early as Bordenave backed up. Bordenave finally slowed down down the stretch to demand a warning. He was able to resume fire and join the field at the rear.
Herald’s DJ Freitas passed Santa Paula’s Megan Moorhead on the first turn on the restart to grab second. Fresno’s Tyler Dolacki made an away bid while driving Cameron Beard’s No. 24 TCR chassis. Dolacki passed point leader David Prickett of Fresno, Brody Petrie of Upperlake and Moorhead to move up to third place.
Bower encountered doubled traffic in the ninth lap but never wavered, racking up a 3.637 second advantage over Freitas at the finish. Dolacki finished third while Petrie won a battle with Prickett for fourth.
IMCA Sport Mod
Brentwood’s Fred Ryland claimed his sixth 2021 IMCA Sport Mod victory at Ocean in a 20-lap contest. Timothy Allerdings of Prescott Valley, Ariz. Led the first round from the outside pole, before Prunedale’s Max Baggett worked on the inside in the second round to lead the second round. The maneuver got Ryland in tow, Ryland getting inside Baggett on the home stretch to lead the fourth lap.
Allerdings eventually fell outside the top five as the leaders approached the doubled traffic in the eighth round. A pair of warnings fell on rounds eight and nine for rounds involving Justin Parr.
The race exclamation mark came on lap 17 in a five-way battle for third place. Oakley’s Tommy Clymens collided with Baggett on turn four. Baggett’s car shot down the track in oncoming traffic, snagging rig point leader Randy Miller of San Jose and 2020 champion Adriane Frost of Watsonville in the front stretch wall. Jim DiGiovanni of Morgan Hill boned Baggett with the four heading for the wall. The five drivers were not injured but were unable to continue.
Ryland led Trevor Clymens, Kelly Campanile from San Ramon, 13th starter Duane Bieser from Santa Cruz and 15th starter Cody Bryan at the finish.
One of the biggest Four Banger fields of recent years had a familiar winner with 2018 and 2019 champion Kate Beardsley taking the win. Beardsley came under pressure from Santa Maria Raceway star Levi Burgett during the 20-lap tenure, but she won the battle of no. 43 cars for the victory. Points leader Tony Gullo, Kenny Stragalinos of Boulder Creek and Nicole Beardsley completed the top five in the fast race which started 13 cars plus a mini-truck.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Nate Graham won his third Police-in-Pursuit Main Event of the season. The 2020 champion took the lead in the first round from the outside pole. Poleman Roy Iler of the San Benito Sheriff’s Office closed in on Graham in the final laps, but couldn’t complete a header pass. Santa Cruz County Sheriffs’ most recent AJ Waltrip race winner started at the back and finished third.
Taco Bravo Round No. 17 / Hall of Fame Night
When: Friday, 5:45 p.m.
Events: 360 Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, Four Bangers
Or: Ocean Speedway, Watsonville