WATSONVILLE — After missing the previous race, Justin Sanders returned to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds to win the 30-lap Taco Bravo Sprint Car main event last week on Friday.
Sanders, the 2015 champion, was practically unbeatable the entire night and his only flaw was a second-place finish in the Trophy Dash, which blemished an otherwise perfect evening.
Sanders started things off by setting the quick time on the Tom Sagmiller-prepared quarter-mile clay oval with a lap time in 12.219 seconds. Brad Furr, a three-time reigning champion, had the second-quickest time in the 14-car field with a lap of 12.240.
Sanders continued to be in control by outrunning point leader Jeremy Chisum to win their eight-lap heat race.
After a second-place finish to James Ringo in the six-lap Dash, Sanders had the outside front row for the main event. He led much of the race, while championship contender Koen Shaw was the driver who was putting on a show.
Shaw had a disastrous heat race, finishing last in the seven-car field. This put him back in 12th starting position, but he would work his way up through the pack.
Shaw passed two-time winner Bud Kaeding along the way to finish second.
Ringo settled for a respectable fourth followed by Furr, Jake Andreotti, previous feature winner Kurt Nelson, Chisum, Kyler Shaw and Jayson Bright.
OCEAN MIDGETS >> David Prickett picked up the win in the 20-lap Ocean Midgets main event race, which was his second straight win in the USAC sanctioned show.
Prickett is one of several drivers competing at both Watsonville and Ventura raceways in this class this season. He ran a smooth race and battled Randi Pankratz, a Ventura Raceway regular, for the win.
Pankratz settled for second followed by Jackson Dukes, Ricky Sanders, Jessica Swanson and Greg Edenolm.
Sanders, a past Street Stock competitor at Ocean Speedway, won the eight-lap heat race ahead of Pankratz. Pankratz set the quickest lap mark of 14.715 seconds, just ahead of Sanders (14.723) and Prickett (14.731) in the evenly matched field.
HOBBY STOCK >> Point leader Rob Gallaher picked up another win in the 20-lap Hobby Stock main event. The two-time champion began with a bad starting position where he lined up on the outside of the sixth row, but managed to work his way quickly through the pack.
Gallaher battled his father, Joe Gallaher, past champion Wally Kennedy and Bobby Huckaby Sr. to take the lead and secure the victory.
Huckaby placed second followed by Joe Gallaher, Kennedy, Terry Traub, Bobby Huckaby Jr, Brady Muller, Mike Calhoun, Kevin Counterman and Nick Triolo.
Quentin Harris won the first of two eight-lap heat races ahead of Huckaby Sr., while Triolo outran Joe Gallaher to win the other heat.
FOUR BANGER >> Dakota Keldsen picked up his second 15-lap Four Banger main event victory aboard the Lloyd Keldsen Jr. Special car. He got the win in his eight-lap heat race ahead of reigning champion Kate Beardsley.
Keldsen shared the front row of the main event with Nicole Beardsley, but he proved to be too tough for her as she settled for second place behind Keldsen.
Kate Beardsley finished third ahead of Carlos Magana, Jeff Kessinger, Bill Beardsley, John Grilli and DJ Harrington. Incoming point leader Ryan McClelland's title hopes took a hit as he was disqualified in post-race tech. Nicole Beardsley outran McClelland to win their heat race.
UP NEXT >> Friday is the special Bill Egleston Memorial race for the IMCA Modifieds and First Responders Appreciation Night. Also competing are the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Four Bangers and Police N Pursuit cars. For further information, go to www.racepmg.com.
Editor's Note: This article will be published in the May 17 edition of the Register-Pajaronian.