Johnson, Hogge, Frost open Ocean Speedway season with victories


WATSONVILLE -- After a trio of rainouts and postonments, race fans finally got to enjoy the 60th season opener for Ocean Speedway racing at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds last week on Friday.

Chase Johnson won the 30-lap Taco Bravo Sprint Car main event, while younger brother, Colby, finished right behind him in second place.

Jake Haulot, who is the reigning Petaluma Speedway champion, had the position pole for the main feature but he was overtaken by 2nd-row starter and eventual winner, Chase Johnson.

The race ran very rapidly at first, but a red flag slowed things down on lap 12 when Kurt Nelson flipped his car. He did not sustain any injuries.

Johnson picked up where he left off on the restart, leading his brother, Colby, all the way to the checkered flag to make it a Johnson 1-2 finish at the front of the pack.

Haulot settled for a third place finish followed by Kaleb Montgomery, Jeremy Chisum, Koen Shaw, John Clark, Billy Aton, Wayne Katen and Jason Chisum.

Of the 19 competitors who qualified on the clock, Colby Johnson set the fastest time at 11.936 seconds, beating out Tucker Worth’s mark of 11.969.

Bobby Hogge IV won the 25-lap IMCA Modified main event. He set a rapid pace from the get-go and stayed like that until the very end for an impressive victory.

Robert Marsh was in pursuit of Hogge early on, but reigning champion Cody Burke made a move up from the fourth row to challenge and eventually pass Marsh for second place.

Burke made his presence known as they battled for a bit, but Hogge prevailed at the finish line.

Marsh settled for third place, which was followed by Brian Cass, Austin Burke, Jeff Decker, Raymond Keldsen Jr, Anthony Copeland, James Alaga and Jim Pettit II.

Adriane Frost won the 20-lap IMCA Sport Modified main event, as he led through a pair of yellow flags during the first 10 laps.

Randy Miller slipped past Austin Williams for the second position after a restart on lap 11. But, Frost gradually pulled away to a good advantage by the waving of the checkered flag.

Miller settled for second place, while Williams finished third, Billy Robertson finished fourth and Kelly Campanile was fifth.  

JC Elrod collected a victory in the 20-lap Hobby Stock main event, as he battled it out with multi-time champion Rob Gallaher, who tried to capture the lead throughout the race. Elrod was the only driver to break into the 16-second bracket in the main event, but he still had Gallaher to deal with.

Gallaher took the lead for a bit but Elrod charged right back to the front on lap 14 and never looked back the rest of the way.

Gallaher wound up in second place, followed by DJ Keldsen, Quentin Harris and Terry Traub to make up the top-5 finishers.

Finally, it was Dakota Keldsen who scored a victory in the 15-lap Four Banger main event. He and Nicole Beardsley shared the front row of the race, but it was Keldsen who moved into the lead from the start.

Keldsen set a good pace in the event, which was only slowed down by a yellow flag on lap 7.

John Grilli worked his way up to make a move around Beardsley for second, however, it was Keldsen prevailing ahead of him and Beardsley for the win.

Racing resumes today with Special Olympics Night and the card will feature the South Bay Dwarf Cars, Midgets and Police N Pursuit cars. For further information, go to www.racepmg.com.

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