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Ocean Speedway: Capitola PD’s Sloma rides BMW to win

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David Spencer – TDS Shots San Jose Police Department’s Tori Dellicarpini (99), Scotts Valley PD’s Michael Birley (02), CHP’s Jesse Mueller (720) and SVPD’s John Hohmann (01) compete at the Police-N-Pursuit event at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville on Friday, Aprils 25, 2015.

By Tony Karis, sports@santacruzsentinel.com

WATSONVILLE >> Cliff Sloma, a 23-year veteran with the Capitola Police Department, flat-footed his BMW sedan and made the little engine that could scream with joy all the way to the checkered flag.

Sloma is proof that practice pays off, leading all 15-laps of the “Police-N-Pursuit” fund racing main event Friday night at Ocean Speedway.

“I think that the practice session at the track last week made the difference,” Sloma said. “The win feels good but the real winner is the Special Olympics of Northern California.”

According to John Hohmann of the Scotts Valley Police Department, the 15 competitors from nine police agencies raised more than $19,000.

The inaugural event in 2013 raised $6,600 and last year nearly a dozen drivers collected more than $15,000.

Sloma began racing with a Chevy Monte Carlo, then switched to an Alfa Romeo. He acquired the BMW in the offseason from UC Santa Cruz driver Mike Kumura and created the winning package.

Shawn Wilson, representing California State Parks officers, recovered from an earlier off-track excursion to finish second.

Michael Birley, with Scotts Valley Police, had a strong third-place finish driving a 1991 Toyota Corolla.

This year’s event included officers from San Jose and Santa Clara police departments. Drivers were lined up according to the amount of money raised for the event. Pole position was assigned to the driver raising the most amount of money.

San Jose Police officer Tori Dellicarpini, driving a Mercury Grand Marquis, started from pole position. She was substituting for the injured Jodi Williams. Being a rookie and new to dirt track racing, she finished outside of the top 10.

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Santa Cruz Police Department’s Alex Martin loses his rear bumper at the Police-N-Pursuit fundraiser at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville on Friday. David Spencer — TDS Shots

360 SPRINT CARS

The colder weather suited Brad Furr just fine as he led the entire 30-lap Taco Bravo feature race. This is the 2013 Taco Bravo champion’s first win of the season.

“We simply returned to the basics of chassis setup,” Furr said. “That really paid off for us. Lapping slower traffic was a challenge, but thankfully I made the right moves. We’re happy to get the win.”

Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi finished second after dueling with Watsonville’s Justin Sanders.

“The car was perfect but the driver wasn’t,” Scelzi said. “I’m disappointed that I didn’t do a better driving job. I believe I could have won this one. But it’s over; so we’ll just come back and do it again.”

Sanders’ season is on a roll with two wins and nine top-five finishes in 12 starts. He’s been on the podium seven times this season.

“Racing with Dominic is always fun but racing for the win is always better,” Sanders said. “When you can stay almost on the bumper of the car in front of you while driving through slower traffic, you know your race car is working.”

Dustin Golobic completed his first top five with a fourth-place finish. Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson finished fifth.

Shane Golobic finished sixth after restarting from the rear of the field twice. Golobic was the fastest qualifier, winning the Ray Scheidts $100 fast time award.

As a result, he elected to take the back row challenge in an attempt to double his winnings.

By lap 10, Golobic was up to sixth place. He stopped on the back stretch with mechanical problems, bringing out the caution flag. Restarting from the back of the pack a second time, he used the final 20 lap to finish just outside the top five.

Heat race winners were Scelzi, Nicolas Ringo and Austin Liggett.

AMERICAN STOCKS

Ron Bonnema won his first American stocks main event of the season. He led 13 of 20 laps. Nick Triolo of Gilroy and last week’s feature winner Robert Gallaher raced from 11th and 12th positions, respectively, to finish second and third on the podium.

“Hopefully, we’ve got the crash monkey off our back,” Bonnema said. “Those first two races were rough ones. We’ve spent a lot of time making repairs. Tonight’s win is really good medication for the first two weeks of pain.”

Bonnema and Tony Oliveira were heat race winners.

IMCA SPORT MODS

Gary Vincelet of Salinas was declared the winner of the IMCA sport modified main event. Paul Mulder of Pleasanton crossed the finish line first but failed to report to post race tech inspection and was disqualified.

Vincelet is a driver with the least experience in the class. As a result, he was the slowest car in the field. It was a race between the tortoise and the hare; the tortoise won.

Heat race winner Dennis Simunovich led the first five laps. Jeremy Hoff of Copperopolis, Anthony Guliani and Mulder were also race leaders. Destruction reigned supreme again as four cars hobbled across the finish line, only two without crutches.

Next week the IMCA modifieds and Ocean’s 4-banger divisions return for round four of the Taco Bravo sprint car series, along with the American stock division.

If You Go

Ocean Speedway

When: Friday, 6 p.m.

Where: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 East Lake Ave., Watsonville

Divisions: 360 sprint cars, 4-bangers, American stocks, IMCA modifieds.

Tickets: Available at the track

Link to original article: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/sports/20150425/ocean-speedway-capitola-pds-sloma-rides-bmw-to-win

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