WATSONVILLE – Justin Sanders of Aromas, driving the Larry Antaya Motorsports No.16, claimed his seventh victory of the 2021 Ocean Sprints season on Friday night.
The victory gave Sanders a 52-point advantage in the series before heading north for the ASCS National Races in Washington next weekend.
“Yeah, we were pretty good. The only thing where I think we struggled was on four, ”Sanders said. “You can never count anyone. Joey (Ancona) was pretty good. He threw me a few moves and it was fun running with him.
16-year-old Joey Ancona of Concord led the time trials before Easton’s Michael Pombo won the six-lap sprint. The 12-lap B-Main was won by Jason Chisum of Salinas.
Sanders started outside Pombo for the 30-lap feature and immediately took the lead. He encountered double traffic in the fifth lap, but was granted a reprieve when Morgan Hill’s Nick Ringo pulled up on the front stretch for a warning in the seventh lap. Ancona attempted to drag Sanders in round three on the restart, but Sanders crossed under him to maintain the lead. Sanders again approached slower traffic on lap 12.
The leaders lined up on the high line around the highway with Ancona dipping under Sanders to show him a nose on lap 13. Ancona caught on with Sanders in traffic before he crossed the edge on turn four on lap 22. Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto took second as Ancona slackened in the first corner. Ancona limped to the pits as on the back straight Jason Chisum and JJ Ringo collided with Chisum turning around for a red flag.
Sanders edged Faccinto in the final seven laps for the win while Bud Kaeding made several maneuvers to move up to third place at the checkered flag. Jake Andreotti of Castro Valley was fourth with Pombo completing the top five.
IMCA Sport modified
An outstanding 24-car IMCA Sport Modified feature saw Bakersfield’s Tyler Bannister take the win. Kelly Campanile of San Ramon took the lead at the start, then selected the outside for a restart in the fourth round. Campanile held court until the restart with Bannister chasing him. Seventh starter Bannister took the inside lead in the sixth round.
A warning flew in the tenth lap with Cody Bryan spinning around in the second lap. Andrew Pearce, 15, started ninth but took second in the restart. Pearce ran close behind Bannister the rest of the way. Randy Miller of San Jose slipped to seventh place but recovered to finish third at the checkered flag. Campanile finished fourth ahead of Jason Bannister.
Hobby Stocks had fun with a three-wide duel under the checkered flag in their 20-lap event, with the win ultimately going to Jerry Skelton of Watsonville. Merced’s Chad Ragsdale led by a nose in a side-to-side battle with Skelton in the first two laps, before Skelton led in the third round. Skelton cleared Ragsdale in the fourth round. Sam Kennedy of Watsonville made a dangerous spin in the front stretch that brought out the yellow flag on lap five.
Ninth starter, TJ Etchinson III entered the scene as he occupied third place in the restart. He raced side by side with Skelton, ultimately credited with the tenth lap in the lead. A warning on lap 12 allowed Skelton to regain first place on the outside, leading on lap 14. Etchinson returned inside Skelton to lead Round 15 and the pair stayed side by side for the final five rounds.
On the final circuit, Joe Gallaher put his nose between them for a race of three widths across the finish line. Etchinson won by a few inches, but the finish was canceled by a disqualification after the race. Skelton was credited with the victory over Joe Gallaher, Ragsdale, twelfth starter Rob Gallaher and Norm Ayers of Corralitos.
Watsonville’s Tony Gullo won the 15-lap Four Banger main event, passing fellow Watsonville rider Richard Mitchell for the lead on lap ninth. Kate Beardsley, Travis VanGilder and Nicole Beardsley round out the top five.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Nate Graham led the 15 rounds of police pursuit. John Hohmann of Scotts Valley PD, Roy Iller of San Benito PD, Pat Sullivan of Gilroy PD and Eric Perez of Scotts Valley PD were the top five.
Taco Bravo Round 12
When: Friday, 5:45 p.m.
Or: Ocean Speedway, Watsonville
Events: IMCA Sport Mods, Four Bangers, Western Midget Racing and South Bay Dwarf Car