Dylan Thornton Stars In Pettit Shootout Kickoff

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IMCA modifieds race at Ocean Speedway. (TDS Shots photo)

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – Dylan Thornton made his return to action in the Golden State a fruitful one, as he claimed the $1,003 opening night victory of the 10th Pettit Shootout at Ocean Speedway.

The IMCA Modified victory came during a blockbuster night with 158 cars in the pits across the three divisions competing.

The $3,006-to-win, 53-lap IMCA Modified finale is set for Saturday night.

After 16 heat races and 10 B-Mains, the fields were set for the 24-car features for the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, and Hobby Stocks.

The nightcap was the 33-lap feature for the Modifieds which opened with a significant crash in turn four. Andy Orbetello spun across turn four and clipped Robert Marsh.

The ensuing melee saw Marsh and 2018 track champion Austin Burke both flip. They were uninjured but done for the night.

Tim Balding led the early laps while Thornton looked inside Danny Lauer for second. William Gould spun out of the top-five for a caution on lap seven.

On the restart, four-time Pettit Shootout Saturday night winner Bobby Hogge IV battled with 2020 Antioch Speedway champion Troy Foulger for third. Hogge took the position on lap 12. Hogge then went upstairs to challenge Thornton for second.

Thornton adjusted to the top himself, going around the outside of Balding to lead lap 16. Hogge took over second on lap 17 as well.

Jerry Flippo used a three-wide maneuver to knife into third after starting 17th. Hogge attempted to pass Thornton on the outside on several occasions but was nullified by lapped traffic.

Thornton grabbed the win, with Hogge disqualified in post-race inspection. The ruling thrust Flippo into second over Foulger, Balding, and 19th starting Robby Sawyer.

Andrew Peckham claimed the 23-lap IMCA Sport Mod race worth $503 to win. Phillip Shelby led from the pole position while Fred Ryland charged from 13th to sixth by lap five.

Peckham attempted to pass Shelby on the inside of the backstretch on three separate tries. He finally made the move work on lap ten, using Jim DiGiovanni as a pick in lapped traffic.

A hard crash in turn three including Bakersfield’s Austin Manzella brought out the caution a lap later. Guy Ahlwardt advanced to second on the restart.

Ryland went to the top to move up to second by lap 20, however. Shelby led Ryland, Ahlwardt, Todd Gomez, and KC Keller as the top-five finishers.

Dylan Wilson survived an onslaught of challenges to take the $303-to-win Hobby Stock main event. The event began with multiple spins on each end of the race track, culminating with a caution when Breanna Troen could not avoid an incident in front of her.

Wilson battled with fellow Bakersfield driver Kevin Irwin. Irwin took over the lead on a restart near halfway but Wilson battled back. Wilson looked inside Irwin down the backstretch in lapped traffic forcing a four-wide move on lap 12.

Wilson then made the decisive pass on lap 14 while Irwin fell through the pack. Seventeenth-starting Tyler Bannister and 2019 Pettit winner Nicholas Johnson – also both from Bakersfield – drove through the field to hound Wilson to the finish.

Wilson held the lead throughout the final laps, leading Bannister, Johnson, two-time Pettit winner Billy Nelson, and track points leader Joe Gallaher at the finish.

The 10th Pettit Shootout continues Saturday with a 53-lap feature for the IMCA Modifieds, 33-laps for the IMCA Sport Mods, and a 23-lap affair for the Hobby Stocks.