Tarlton Tough in Wild Howard Kaeding Classic Opener

Tommy Tarlton bested the 30 car field assembled at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, CA Friday night during the opening night of the Howard Kaeding Classic.

Picture perfect weather and a capacity grandstand greeted the full field as the Golden State King of the West Series made their second stop of the season at Ocean Speedway in what many fans would call a wild feature event.

The 30-lap tout got off to a very slow start as a series of caution and red flags plagued the early part of the feature.

Series point leader, Tim Kaeding, got the early lead from his outside front row starting spot before the first red flag flew on lap one as Andy Gregg was a flip victim in the middle of turns one and two.

As the race got a quick two lap run in, the caution again flew, this time for Brent Bjork who came to a stop in the first turn, as TK had a strong advantage over Jonathan Allard, Corey Elliason, Shane Golobic, and the eleventh starting Tarlton.

TK continued to lead as the race was stopped again on the seventh circuit as a big time wreck involving Jamie Veil, Corey Elliason, Bud Kaeding, and Evan Suggs brought the second red flag of the night out.

The final stoppage came on the 12th circuit for Danielle Simpson, and the next 18 laps would prove to be very racy.

TK continued to lead on what would be the final restart, but Tommy Tarlton would be the man on the mission to the front.

Kaeding stretched his lead as the race hit the halfway point, but Tarlton applied heavy pressure to the second running Allard. On the 20th circuit, Tarlton was able to get around Allard, and began reeling in Kaeding.

On the 22nd circuit, Tarlton raced alongside TK exiting the fourth turn, and the duo raced side by side down the front stretch. Enterting the first turn Tarlton made his winning pass as he slid up in front of the race-long leader and grabbed the lead he would never relinquish.

The final eight circuits saw Tarlton navigate beautifully through lapped traffic and grab what he would call ‘the biggest win of his career’.

“This easily could be one of the biggest wins of my career,” said an emotional Tarlton. “I grew up a Kaeding fan, and to win during the first HK classic is really special, definitely something I will never forget.

Chasing Tarlton to the stripe was TK, Jonathan Allard, Bobby McMahan, Brad Furr, Rico Abreu, Craig Stidham, Brent Kaeding, Jason Statler, and Brent Bjork rounding out the top-10.

Heat race wins went to Andy Gregg, Golobic, TK, and Allard. Brad Furr won the B-main and Justin Sanders kicked off the night by setting the fastest time during time trials.

The Howard Kaeding Classic will conclude Saturday night at the Ocean Speedway.

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