(6/10/2022 – Alex Nieten) Watsonville, CA… Put a phenomenal race car driver in a phenomenal race car and good things are bound to happen.
That’s exactly what took place Friday night at the 36th Annual Pombo-Sargent Classic hosted by Ocean Speedway as Corey Day climbed aboard the Works Limited No. 57 and won in dominant fashion on his first night in the potent machine, taking the lead early on in the non-stop 30-lap main event and never looking back.
The triumph marked Day’s fourth with the NARC Fujitsu General Sprint Cars in just his 18th career series start. It was also the third different car he’s won in with the series, the other two being Jason Meyers’ No. 14 and Day’s family owned No. 41. Day also became just the second driver to win multiple NARC Fujitsu Features this year after claiming the David Tarter Memorial in Chico back in April.
After the checkered flag flew, Day was quick to offer gratitude to those who contribute to making the 57 such a strong car and who presented him to the chance to pilot it– Kevin Kozlowski (car owner) and Paul Silva (crew chief).
“I can’t thank Kevin and Paul enough for the opportunity,” Day said. “This car is legendary, and to be the one picked to drive it is pretty cool.”
Originally scheduled to start third, Day lined up on the pole after the originally scheduled pole sitter, Mitchell Faccinto, suffered a broken crankshaft while lining up for the main event.
To Day’s outside was series point leader, Dominic Scelzi, and “The Dominator” got the initial jump, rocketing around the topside to lead the opening circuit.
The high line proved dominant early on a fast racing surface at the Watsonville bullring. Scelzi led the way as the front runners approached traffic within just five laps of the green flag flying. As Scelzi fought with lapped cars, Day saw his opening and pounced.
On lap eight Day carried a huge run into turn one courtesy of ripping the cushion to perfection in turns three and four and pulled the trigger on a flawless slider. Day’s momentum propelled him to such a speed that Scelzi didn’t even have a chance to try a crossover down the backstretch.
“He (Scelzi) got to traffic there and was taking it a touch to easy,” Day said of what led to the move. “He was ahead of me enough to where I had a little clean air and could run a little bit harder than he could, him being stuck behind those guys. So, I got to him and threw a slider on him, and then lap traffic was really tough.”
The traffic Day spoke of was a challenge he’d be forced to face the rest of the way as the main event went caution free. Day moved all around the quarter-mile oval to work his way by slower cars. While Day encountered some difficulties with traffic, the drivers pursuing him, Scelzi,
Willie Croft, and Justin Sanders, we’re busy battling each other and traffic and unable to erase the deficit.
As their war raged on for runner-up, Day cruised away and the laps dwindled.
Day wound up taking the checkered flag with a 2.905 second advantage over Scelzi.
“Getting through traffic definitely wasn’t easy,” a winded Day said to sum up the race. “But, I was just trying to pick off as many as I could to have a good buffer between me and second, and it worked out. There were a couple times there where I tried the bottom and blew it there off (turn) four, and I figured Dominic or Justin, I didn’t know who was running second, would be right on me, but they weren’t. I’m super pumped.”
Scelzi’s runner-up finish marked his ninth consecutive top-three to begin the NARC campaign as the Red Rose Transportation/Whipple Superchargers No. 41 seems incapable of missing the podium this season. He’s the first to string together nine straight NARC podiums since Kyle Hirst in 2018. While he’s enjoying the consistency, Scelzi couldn’t help be a little disappointed to miss out on a possible win.
“He (Day) did an awesome job,” Scelzi said. “I just got into traffic, and I don’t really think we got too tight. I think he just did a better job in traffic… At the end of the day, Corey got by the lapped cars and we didn’t and ran second. I’m kind of tired of running second. That’s like three in a row, so let’s get back to getting first-places in a row.”
Completing the podium was Willie Croft in the Amerikote Powdercoating/Holey Smokes BBQ No. 29 as he held on for the good finish even after late contact with the fence. Croft now has five straight series top-fives and podiums in four of his last five races as he continues to chase down Scelzi for his first title.
“I got a little high in the marbles here off of (turn) four and tried to just skim the wall but hit it harder than anticipated,” Croft explained. “But overall everything was good. We had a great car all night. My guys did a great job… It’s a little hard to make up points when Dominic’s on the podium with me, but there’s a lot of races left. We’re just going to keep plugging along and just try to do the best we can every night and see what happens.”
The balance of the top-10 included Justin Sanders, Ryan Robinson, D.J. Netto, Max Mittry, Shane Golobic, Steven Kent, and Chase Johnson.
FUJITSU GENERAL USA FEATURE (30 laps): 1. Corey Day 57 2. Dominic Scelzi 41 3. Willie Croft 29 4. Justin Sanders 2X 5. Ryan Robinson 56 6. D.J. Netto 88N 7. Max Mittry 2XM 8. Shane Golobic 17W 9. Steven Kent 37 10. Chase Johnson 24 11. Bud Kaeding 69 12. J.J. Ringo 2K 13. Kaleb Montgomery 3 14. Joel Myers Jr. 83V 15. Kurt Nelson 72W 16. Koen Shaw 88 17. Billy Aton 26 18. Gauge Garcia 21X 19. Chris Nelson 72JR 20. Logan Forler 2L
HOOSIER TIRE LAP LEADERS: Scelzi 1-7, Day 8-30
ARP FAST QUALIFIER (21 cars): Corey Day 10.968
BROWN AND MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS HEAT ONE (10 laps): Johnson, Faccinto, Day, Myers Jr., Nelson, Garcia, Forler
KIMO’s TROPICAL CAR WASH HEAT TWO (10 laps): Scelzi, Mittry, Kent, Montgomery, Kaeding, Shaw, Nelson
DIRT.TRAVEL CLUB HEAT THREE (10 laps): Golobic, Sanders, Netto, Croft, Ringo, Robinson, Aton
SUNNYVALLEY “POWERED BY BACON” TROPHY DASH (6 laps): Faccinto, Scelzi, Day, Croft, Mittry, Johnson