Gauge Garcia Scores First Career Ocean Sprints Victory

18-year-old Gauge Garcia of Lemoore won his first career Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo feature on Friday night at Watsonville’s Ocean Speedway. Garcia was one of five winners during the night, including Bakersfield’s Nicholas Johnson prevailing in Hobby Stocks, Fred Ryland of Brentwood claiming the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Jason Lazzerini of Moss Landing winning the Four Bangers, and Scotts Valley Police Officer Kevin Elliott winning in Police-in-Pursuit.

“This is our third showing in this 28 car and we went out and got it done. We were missing our crew chief Norm tonight but luckily we had every note he had. Dad was on the wrenches tonight and this car was great,” Garcia said.

Jake Haulot of Cotati led time trials before two-time 2024 winner Tanner Carrick of Lincoln and Garcia won the heat races. No dash was contested.

The 30-lap feature lined up Garcia and Carrick on the front row. Garcia led the opening lap before the caution flew for Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson slowing in turn four. On the restart, Haulot dropped out of the race suddenly and made the hard right turn into the pits. Garcia fended off Carrick on the restart before action slowed again on lap 13. 17 year-old Caleb Debem of Salinas and 16-year-old Adrianna DeMartini of Brentwood collided on the front stretch, with DeMartini slowing to draw the yellow.

Garcia and Carrick had accumulated a three second advantage over round three winner Bud Kaeding of San Jose which was nullified by the caution flag. Debem and Rickey Sanders of Watsonville made contact on the backstretch on lap 16 for the next caution. Sanders was unable to continue with left front damage, while Debem’s team made repairs and a right rear tire change to be able to rejoin the race.

Kaeding took a brief look at second place on Carrick before surrendering the position. Garcia darted to victory followed by Carrick, Kaeding, a resurgent Kurt Nelson, and Chris Nelson.

The Hobby Stocks stole the show in their 20-lap feature with Bakersfield’s Nicholas Johnson showing up just before feature time, starting at the back, and storming to victory. DJ Keldsen of Newman led the first six laps with fifth-starting Joe Gallaher closing in. The duo went side-by-side for the lead on lap nine. Trent Golden of Pittsburg spun into the infield of turn three and Elliot Heddensen of Hollister spun as well. Gallaher hit Heddensen head on, ending his bid for the win.

Under caution, Keldsen had to exit the race and head to the pit area as well. 2020 IMCA Sport Modified track champion Adriane Frost of Watsonville assumed the lead as a result. Johnson used the outside to charge past her on lap 14, however. Johnson led the final six laps for victory ahead of Frost, Rob Gallaher, Norm Ayers of Corralitos, and 2020 Antioch Speedway champion James Thomsen.

Brentwood’s Fred Ryland started on the outside pole of the 20-lap IMCA Sport Modified feature and led every circuit for the victory. Watsonville’s Jeff Mead finished a season-best second followed by Matt Hagio of Prunedale, Jason Ryan, Jr. of Oakley, and Emali VanHoff of Chowchilla on her 18th birthday.

Four Banger track champion Jason Lazzerini had a hard-earned win in the 15-lap feature on Friday night. Joshua Silva of Watsonville led the first four laps, then Peter Vannerus of Felton steered his No. 37 Truck to the lead.

Cautions on lap five and lap seven allowed the tenth starting Lazzerini to approach the top spot. The top-three battled closely. Lazzerini attempted a cross over on the backstretch to nab the lead. Vannerus swooped in for a slide job and they made door to door contact. Vannerus held the lead on lap 10 before Lazzerini finally completed the pass on lap 11.

The top-five finishers were Lazzerini, Vannerus, Amaya Flower of Watsonville, Shelbie Freeman of Prunedale, and Bill Beardsley of Felton.

Kevin Elliott won an intense opening race for the 2024 season of Police-in-Pursuit. The Scotts Valley Police Officer battled hard with Santa Cruz County Sherrif AJ Waltrip. The pair collided in turn four on lap five, sending Elliott spinning into a high center position on an infield tractor tire.

Elliott and Waltrip rejoined the race and muscled past Kimball Stanley of Los Gatos Police Department. Elliott scored the exciting victory. Santa Clara Police Officer Jerry Ogg returned from a pit stop to finish second with Waltrip finishing third.

Racing action continues at Ocean Speedway this Friday night May 10 with Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, and Four Bangers competing.

Ocean Speedway May 3, 2024 – Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo
A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 28-Gauge Garcia[1]; 2. 83T-Tanner Carrick[2]; 3. 29-Bud Kaeding[3]; 4. 72W-Kurt Nelson[8]; 5. 72JR-Chris Nelson[6]; 6. 3D-Caleb Debem[9]; 7. OB1-Orville Burke[5]; 8. 72S-Bradley Dillard[10]; 9. 9-Adrianna DeMartini[11]; 10. 17-Rickey Sanders[7]; 11. 7H-Jake Haulot[4]

Ocean Sprints PR