WATSONVILLE – Justin Sanders of Aromas moved closer to his goal of a 2021 Ocean Sprints Championship with his ninth win on Friday night at Ocean Speedway.
Sanders took the lead in the last five rounds of the function, closing a five-division program. Championship weekend for the Sprint Cars will see points races on Friday and Saturday, including the 61st Johnny Key Classic.
Sanders won the sprint and shared the front row of the feature with the quick qualifier Chase Johnson from Penngrove. Johnson won the hole shot in the first turn for the lead and led the field after the first lap. Johnson encountered doubled traffic in the fifth lap, with a pair of No.5 cars from Mark Chaves, Jr. and Connor Dannell in the middle of him. Johnson hit his right front to the left rear of a riding car, flying away and then crashing to the ground. The damage eliminated him from the event.
Sanders picked the outside on the raise to take possession of the lead. Concord’s Joey Ancona made a two-for-one maneuver to move up to third, canceled out by Sanders’ younger brother Rickey, stopping in the second round in his first appearance.
The yellow flew again on lap 14 for Bryce Eames of Santa Maria with a puncture in the left rear tire. Ancona had taken third place from Bud Kaeding before the warning fell as the move was canceled again.
Ancona followed Jayson Bright after 2020 champion Mitchell Faccinto, ultimately giving Ancona third place. It was a short pass, as two laps later Ancona sped out of turn four to collide with the front stretch wall for a warning on lap 19.
The restart involved the most serious incident of the evening as qualifying race winner Jerry Bonnema from Corralitos rolled around on the front stretch. He was not injured.
The last warning of the night came on lap 25 when Dannell sped out of the second corner. Sanders took the lead for the win while Faccinto passed Bright for second place. Eleventh starter Bud Kaeding was fourth with 20th starter Jake Andreotti of Castro Valley finishing fifth.
Friday’s action also included the $ 1,033 tribute up for grabs to Terry Traub for Hobby Stocks. Watsonville’s Billy Nelson overcame a 12th starting position to score the victory. Ron Bonnema went outside to lead the first lap with Sam Kennedy following him at the top to take second. The first yellow arrived in the fourth round for Rob Gallaher spinning in the third round. The leaders raced in the doubled traffic in the ninth lap, Kennedy using this to his advantage to lead the 11th lap.
Bonnema started from second on lap 12 in the first turn requiring a warning. Gallaher had his second incident of the race on turn three on lap 16 for a warning as well. Nelson moved up to second on lap 20 and then took the lead on lap 23. Steve Remde and Tony Oliveira had a slamming gate incident in the back stretch which resulted in Remde going off, requiring a six-lap shootout until the finish. Nelson held on for the victory over Dylan Wilson, Kennedy, Joe Gallaher and Bonnema of Bakersfield.
Police in pursuit
The Police-in-Pursuit season finale served as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, with $ 25,000 raised for the cause. The starting lineup was established by the fundraising amounts for each team. Roy Iller of San Benito Sheriffs started on the outside pole and led all 15 laps for the win. Santa Cruz Sheriff Nate Graham was second, followed by Santa Cruz Sheriff AJ Waltrip, Capitola Police Officer Jackie Yeung and Scotts Valley Officer John Hohmann.
Jim Pettit II of Prunedale scored a victory from behind in the modified 25-lap IMCA feature. Todd Hermosillo of Watsonville took the lead from Pettit early in the race. Pettit then missed out on the first corner, falling into a battle with August 6 winner Andy Obertello from Hollister. Steve Pemberton of Salinas in turn returned one for a red flag in the 20th round. He was not injured. Hermosillo chose the interior in the restart and Pettit took the opportunity to take the lead on lap 21. Pettit passed Obertello, Austin Burke, Hermosillo and Cody Burke completing the top five.
IMCA Sport modified
Jonathan Hagio of Prunedale won his first IMCA Sport Modified race of the season. The race started with a series of lead changes with Max Baggett of Prunedale, sixth starter Trevor Clymens of Brentwood, and Hagio exchanging the lead in the first three laps. Clymens regained the lead on lap four, which he retained until lap ten when Hagio passed him inside the back straight.
Points leader Randy Miller of San Jose came out of Hagio in an attempt to take the lead on lap 19, before the leaders collided and Miller slipped into the front stretch wall. Hagio won a one-round shootout to beat Markus Frazier, Nicolas Zapatero, Duane Bieser and Clymens in the top five.
Key launch party
When: Friday, 6 p.m.
Events: Ocean Sprints, Hobby Stocks, South Bay Dwarf Cars
Or: Ocean Speedway, Watsonville
61st Classic Johnny Key
When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Events: Ocean Sprints vs. Sprint Car Challenge Tour, Hobby Stocks, Western Midget Racing
Or: Ocean Speedway, Watsonville