It was opening night of the Pat and Jim Pettit Memorial Shootout at Ocean Speedway. (Top Dawg Photo)
WATSONVILLE, Calif. – On opening night of the Pat and Jim Pettit Memorial Shootout at Ocean Speedway, a young winner pulled off one of his best performances of his career, with Troy Morris III taking the modified 33-round IMCA victory.
Cale Kanke and three-time track and field champion Rob Gallaher also won on Friday night of the 12th annual event. There were 114 cars in action in the IMCA Modified, Sport Modified and Hobby Stock Divisions.
Morris cruised around the lead around 2020 and 2021 Ocean champion Cody Burke early in the feature. Tim Balding stopped on lap four due to a warning on lap four. Morris encountered significant lapping traffic on Lap 14 with three wide actions in front of him.
It boiled over in turn one and cars bounced all over the track. Les Friend was hit hard by Matthew Hagio, sending Hagio flying to get into Turn One. Both drivers retired from the event. JC Elrod also had contact and later retired from the race on lap 21.
Future Hall of Famer Bobby Hogge IV broke away from the field and went from his fifth starting position to second. In a close fight, he tried several times to cross Morris.
Morris never surrendered and won the significant victory.
Hogge chose second place, followed by Burke. Former track champion Brian Cass was the hard charger with a ride from 15th to fourth followed by Andy Obertello in fifth.
A late climb from Cale Kanke earned him the 23-lap win in the IMCA Sport Modified after a marathon race with red flags and warning flags. Markus Frazier led the first lap before being cautioned for a debris crash. Brent Curran went outside of him to lead lap three.
Troy Morris, Jr. spun at turn three and almost conceded Kanke, requiring an extra yellow.
The wildest moment of the night came at the restart when Ethan Killingsworth was engulfed in a three-wide collision on the front leg. He spun wildly in a tangle with Andrew Peckham and took hard hits from Kenny Shrader and KC Keller. Killingsworth was unharmed.
A fender bender on four cars brought out a warning on the next restart attempt.
Kanke challenged Mark Garner for second place and took the position on lap 13 on the outside. Ryan Smith slowed at the top of turn two on lap 17 to get yellow. Kanke challenged Curran for the lead several times over the last six laps.
Kanke went around the outside of Curran to lead on lap 21 and Andrew Pearce followed him into second place. Kanke, the 2021 Pettit Shootout winner, achieved the win over Pearce, Curran, Fred Ryland and Tyler Blankenship.
Three-time Ocean Speedway Hobby Stock Champion Gallaher returned to the speedway and winning lane after 23 laps. DJ Keldsen led from pole position. Second starter Taylor DeCarlo and third starter Bobby Motts were each part of cautions in the early stages.
John Tevis stopped on lap six because of a warning at turn one. Gallaher took the opportunity to take the lead outside of Keldsen on lap eight. Kodie Dean hit the backstretch wall when he was inside the top five on lap eight while there was a simultaneous multi-car spin at turn one.
Gallaher drove to a win in 2.883s ahead of Keldsen, Ryan Hart, Mark Cooper and Clarence Holbrook.
Modified IMCA feature (33 rounds)
1. 07X-Troy Morris III; 2. 2-Bobby Hogge IV; 3. 20-Cody Burke; 4. 55-Brian Cass; 5. 29-Andy Obertello; 6. 17-Nick DeCarlo; 7. 49-Troy Foulger; 8. 29C-Aaron Crowell; 9. 4X-Anthony Slaney; 10. 6-Jim Pettit II; 11. 77D-Cole Dick; 12. 28K Chester Kniss; 13. 50-Michael Paul Jr; 14. 66-Kevin Pendergrass; 15. 22G-Paul Guglielmoni; 16. 7-Chris Crompe; 17. 84X-JC Elrod; 18. 1-Shawn Natenstedt; 19. 168-Bo Crabs; 20. 92-Le’s friend; 21. 14H-Matthew Hagio; 22. 1B-Tim Balding