WATSONVILLE, Calif. — For the first time since August 2021, Mitchell Faccinto was a winner at Ocean Speedway on Friday night. The Hanford driver triumphed in the 30-lap winged sprint car contest after a narrow finish over Bud Kaeding.
“It feels really good. It’s been over a year since I won. I was starting to forget what it feels like,” Faccinto said. “My car was really really good. I could move anywhere. I was trying to gage off Bud. I knew that once I showed him a nose it was going to be really tough to pass him. Track was great, I thought and I think it’s the best track they’ve had all year.”
Kaeding led time trials before two-time 2023 winner Dominic Gorden claimed the Gizdich Ranch dash for the pole of the feature. Gorden led the opening lap inside of Kaeding but it was nullified by Jayson Bright spinning in turn four.
Gorden raced side-by-side with Kaeding on the restart with Kaeding seizing the lead on lap one. Gorden then bounced through turn three and shredded his left rear tire, requiring a caution when he stopped on the frontstretch. Gorden was able to rejoin the action at the rear of the field after a tire change.
A series of spins slowed the race throughout the first four laps. Aromas’ Caleb Debem spun in turn one for a yellow flag. On the ensuing restart, Faccinto drove into second position past points leader Rickey Sanders. The field went three-wide for third before a caution for 2022 champion Kurt Nelson spinning in turn two.
Sanders grabbed second back from Faccinto on the next attempt before Adam Kaeding had issues in turn three.
Once the race got into a rhythm, Kaeding led Faccinto into lapped traffic on lap nine. Debem flipped in turn three for a red flag on lap 10 but the 16-year-old rookie was uninjured. Bright spun again in turn four on lap 13.
Faccinto pounced on Kaeding on the following restart, taking the top position up the inside in turn one on lap 14 and being credited with the lead at lap 15.
Faccinto encountered lapped traffic racing side-by-side in front of him with two laps to go. Kaeding drove right up on Faccinto’s rear bumper and nearly snookered him at the stripe. Faccinto won by a narrow .150-second margin over Kaeding, Sanders, Kaleb Montgomery, and a resurgent Gorden. Although Gorden maneuvered back to fifth.
Blake Bower won his 10th career Western Midget Racing Ocean Speedway feature.
Robert Marsh won his first IMCA Modified feature at Ocean Speedway since July of 2018.
Chuck Golden prevailed in IMCA Sport Modified competition after a 20-lap contest.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 22-Mitchell Faccinto; 2. 69-Bud Kaeding; 3. 121-Rickey Sanders; 4. 3-Kaleb Montgomery; 5. 10-Dominic Gorden; 6. 21X-Gauge Garcia; 7. 92-Andy Forsberg; 8. 61-Travis Labat; 9. 25Z-Jason Chisum; 10. 87-Ashlyn Rodriguez; 11. 72W-Kurt Nelson; 12. 72S-Bradley Dillard; 13. 56Z-Don Hart; 14. 3M-Adam Kaeding; 15. 07-Richard Fajardo; 16. 68-Jayson Bright; 17. 3D-Caleb Debem; 18. 98-Vince Giannotta; 19. (DNS) 23-Adam McCarthy