Tarlton's timing off at Johnny Key Classic
Inside Line Promotions – WATSONVILLE, Calif. (Aug. 28) – If everything in life is about timing, racing is the perfect example between the fine line of happiness and dejection.
For Tommy Tarlton on Saturday night at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., the timing wasn’t right and his bid for a second Johnny Key Classic win in three years came to a spinning end with nine laps remaining.
“It’s all timing,” he said. “I thought I had it timed right.”
The Easton, Calif., resident overcame a rough start to charge back to third at the 51st annual Johnny Key Classic. As he made it a three-way battle for the lead amidst lapped traffic, the first two drivers – Kyle Larson and Tim Kaeding – made contact and spun in turn three.
“We were all less than a car length between each other,” Tarlton said. “There was an opening between Larson and Kaeding, and I thought I had them cleared. Larson tried to keep his car going and got into my right rear to spin us out.
“Larson was just trying to keep it going and stay the leader. I don’t blame him. It was just one of those things.”
The trio had to restart at the back of the field and Tarlton drove to 11th by the checkered flag. It was far from the result he was on pace for most of the night.
Since he won an Ocean Sprints qualifying feature on July 29, Tarlton was locked in as one of six drivers in the redraw. He randomly drew the No. 2, where he started the dash that would line up the first three rows for the 50-lap feature.
Tarlton took the lead on the backstretch of the opening lap and held off Larson to win the dash, which gave him the pole for the main event. However, the start of the feature was anything but desirable and Tarlton struggled with a tight race car on the semi-banked, ¼-mile dirt oval.
“I had to stark flicking the car and the next thing you know I end up losing four or five spots,” he said. “Once I screwed it up, I started searching and found a good groove. I could run a different line entering and exiting than they were.”
Tarlton was up to third and actually challenging Kaeding for second when the caution flag was waved at the midway point of race. When the race resumed, the top three put on a show slicing through the field. Traffic began to play a role as the race entered the final 10 laps.
“I’m a pacer,” Tarlton said. “I was just kinda hanging tight and waiting for the opportunity. And the opportunity was coming. It was winding down, lapped traffic was thick.”
And then the incident wiped out Tarlton’s opportunity. Just as significant, it allowed Ronnie Day to claim the victory and regain the Ocean Sprints championship lead with three races remaining.
“There was a split second when I was running third that I thought about just riding it out for the championship,” Tarlton said. “But I was just too fast and I’m out there to win. I wanted to win the Johnny Key Classic again.”
Tarlton is taking this weekend off and will return to the track on Sept. 10 at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., for an ASCS Southern California Region event.
He has a 262-point advantage with two races remaining in the inaugural season.
QUICK RESULTS –
Aug. 27 – Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif. – Dash: 1 (2); Feature: 10 (1).
SEASON STATS –
33 races, 33 features, 8 wins, 24 top fives, 25 top 10s, 28 top 15s, 31 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Sept. 10 at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., with the ASCS Southern California Region
FAVORITE NUMBER –
262: Point lead with two races remaining in the ASCS Southern California Region, meaning Tarlton only has to show up to one of the final events to wrap up the championship.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
Tarlton has black t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, and white women’s shirts available for purchase at every race he attends. For information on where you can get them, visit http://www.tarltonandson.com/tarlton-racing-schedule.
ON THE AIR –
Tarlton was a guest on the Lucas Oil ASCS Show by Racinboys on May 3. Click on the link below to listen. Tarlton’s interview begins around the 32-minute mark.
He was also a featured guest on the Dirt Cast podcast on June 29. The link is below:
Check out the link below to see highlights of Tarlton’s King of the West Sprint Car Series’ win at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., on May 14.
Here are a couple of videos from Tarlton’s victory and runner-up performance with the King of the West Sprint Car Series at the Howard Kaeding Classic at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., on July 1-2:
Here is a link to Tarlton spinning around on the back of his car during a heat race at Ocean Speedway on July 8:
Check out this link to an in-car video of Tarlton winning the B Main at the Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, Ore., on July 13:
Here is a video of Tarlton winning the dash at the 51st annual Johnny Key Classic at Ocean Speedway on Aug. 27:
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – BG Products, Inc.
Located in Wichita, Kan., BG Products, Inc., produces various automotive, industrial and heavy equipment products. BG Products, Inc., which was established in 1971, focuses on adding efficiency, economy and reliability to your vehicle. For more information, visit www.bgprod.com.
“We have been with BG Products since 1996 because they have amazing products,” Tarlton said. “We run every product they make that a sprint car can run. And, knock on wood, I haven’t had a rear end failure in my whole career while using BG Products.”
Tarlton would like to thank his sponsors, including Tarlton and Son, Inc., Corporate America Lending, Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, Bandy & Associates, Sharp Insurance & Bonding and Simpson for their continued support.
INSIDE LINE PROMOTIONS –
Inside Line Promotions specializes in affordable public relations, media management and merchandising services for sprint car teams. ILP Founder Shawn Miller leverages professional journalism with new media technologies and social networking to improve your exposure and your sponsors’ return on investment.