WATSONVILLE, Calif. — Tanner Thorson won the 30-lap sprint car feature on the opening night of the Howard Kaeding Classic weekend at the Ocean Speedway on Friday night.

Dubbed the Civil War Series versus the weekly Taco Bravo 360 sprint car series, the race counted toward the yearly points battle for each.

Thorson, the only non-Californian driver of the 28 entered, drove the Tri-C Motorsports No. 3c.

Tanner Thorson (3c) races around Kyle Hirst Friday night at Ocean Speedway. (Joe Shivak photo)

The Minden, Nevada, ace led only the final two laps, after he passed Kyle Hirst with a bold move around him coming out of turn four. Polesitter Hirst had led all the laps since the drop of the green flag and would finish a surprised second place in the Roth Motorsports No. 83.  Justin Sanders finished third after starting in the midpack.

Hirst and Thorson started from the front row, but it was Hirst who would set sail on the 23-car field. Thorson would have to fend off challenges, first from D.J. Netto who briefly ran in the second spot and also from Sanders, who also got past Thorson only to be re-passed.

Two red flag periods halted the race but none of the drivers involved were injured. On lap 19, Gary Nelson Jr. tipped over in the fourth turn. Brad Furr caused the second stoppage when he flipped in about the same spot on lap 22.

The main event featured all three of the Kaeding family currently racing sprint cars. Legendary Brent Kaeding made a rare start while his sons Bud Kaeding, an Ocean weekly regular, raced against his brother Tim, who scored the best finish, a ninth, of the three.

Hirst set the night’s fast time and won the dash, putting him on the pole for the feature.

The finish:

Tanner Thorson, Kyle Hirst, Justin Sanders, Shane Golobic, Buddy Kofoid, Tanner Carrick, D.J. Netto, Koen Shaw, Tim Kaeding, Kyle Offill, Brent Kaeding, Bud Kaeding, Kurt Nelson, Jarrett Soares, Jeremy Chisum, Nathan Rolfe, Jason Chisum, Vaughn Schott, Dustin Frietas, Brad Furr, Gary Nelson, Cole Macedo, Blake Carrick