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OCEAN SPEEDWAY: Police-n-Pursuit raises over $15,000 for Special Olympics

Posted: Monday, Jun 9th, 2014

WATSONVILLE — Scotts Valley Police Lt John Hohmann won the first of four rounds in Ocean Speedway’s Police-n-Pursuit fund racing series.

Friday night’s event nearly doubled the amount raised during last year’s event for the Special Olympics Northern California.

“We’ve accomplished a lot over the years with our Police-n-Pursuit events,” Hohmann said. “And I’m happy to announce that tonight’s race collected over $15,000 for Special Olympics of Northern California.”

Special Olympics is an international organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and active members of society through sports training and competition.

The program offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round training and competition in Olympic-type sports at no cost to the athlete. Just $250 gives an athlete the opportunity to compete in sports for an entire year.

Although as few as 10 percent of intellectually disabled Americans are employed, 52 percent of Special Olympics athletes have jobs. More than 16,700 athletes participate in Special Olympics Northern California

Hohmann was instrumental in organizing the Police-n-Pursuit fundraising events five years ago. His efforts were rewarded this year with support from all the law enforcement agencies in Santa Cruz County.

The hard-hitting Hohmann drove a compact 1994 Plymouth Acclaim, winning the duel in the dirt against CHP officer Jesse Mueller and his bigger and more powerful recycled CHP Ford Crown Victoria cruiser to become “Top Cop of the Oval”. He passed Officer Mueller for the lead using a “Days of Thunder” rubbin’-is-racin’ style of driving.

“Although we work together to make this Special Olympics event a success, the competitive juices run fast when we hit the track,” Hohmann said. “But when the California Highway Patrol showed up with a three-car team, I thought to myself, ‘Let the winner be anybody but the CHP.’”

Officer Mueller, winner of last year’s event, won the first heat race and took the early lead in the main event. What seemed like a dominant run by Mueller turned into a real battle between the CHP and the other competing agencies. Unfortunately, while trying to run down Hohmann for the lead, Mueller’s night was cut short with mechanical problems just a few laps from the end. He finished ninth.

During the final caution period in the race, Hohmann became the center of a CHP sandwich and was squeezed between Mueller and second-place finisher CHP officer Kevin Devery. The metal-crunching experience was a friendly reminder that he was running with the big dogs.

Mueller was body slammed in the early laps by Watsonville Police Department’s Terry Traub, winner of last year’s Gavin Jack fundraiser. Traub suffered a flat tire after the hit. The second heat race winner high-sided his car when trying to exit the track for repairs.

Sergeant Mike Kimura of UC Santa Cruz drove his BMW to a third-place finish. In his first appearance, Detective Billy Burnett drove a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria to a fourth-place finish. Santa Cruz Police Department’s Christian Le Moss finished fifth driving a 1997 Ford Probe.

Six through tenth place finishers were Michael Birley (Scotts Valley), Cliff Sloma (Capitola), Scott Christie (Santa Cruz), Mueller (CHP), Vincent Hohmann (Scotts Valley). 11 through 13th were Shawn Wilson (California State Parks), Bryan Mutoza (CHP) and Traub (Watsonville).

IMCA Modifieds

The Burke brothers finished one-two for the second consecutive week in IMCA racing action. Austin Burke, winner of the second heat race, lost the lead to his older brother at the restart of the race on lap 15. Although the two brothers ran side-by-side for several laps, Cody Burke won by more than one second ahead of Austin.

Austin and Cody Burke along with Todd Hermosillo broke the eight-lap heat race record. Austin won the heat race completing the eight laps in 1:58.435. Cody’s second place time was 1:58.696 and Hermosillo rolled in with a 2:01.381. The old record, established in 2010 by track champion Andy Obertello, was 2:01.395.

Watsonville’s Kenny Nott drove from a ninth-place start to a podium finish in third place. Kyle Wilson of Salinas and Gilroy’s Jerry Movrich completed the top five. Alex Wilson, who experienced a wild mid-air rollover crash last week, won the first heat race.

IMCA Sport Modifieds

Nick Spainhoward and Ethan Dotson not only won their respective heat races, they also made it another one-two Bakersfield finish in Friday night’s IMCA sport modified 20-lap main event.

The 2013 IMCA California state sport modified champion won his second consecutive main event, his third for the season at the Speedway. He and Dotson are currently first and second IMCA state standings.

TJ Etchison’s attempt to end the win streak by Central Valley drivers fell short when his chassis developed a push entering turns one and three. Passing pole position starter Matt Kile on the second lap, Etchison led 10 laps before giving way to the better handling cars. He finished third. Two-time feature winner Rick Diaz of Chowchilla and Brentwood’s Fred Ryland completed the top five.


Luke Babcock, an Aptos High senior, led the final four laps of the 20-lap 4-Banger main event to earn his second career feature win.

Although Jake Roberson finished second to Babcock, the 15 year-old racer led the first 16 laps and was running one of the best races of his young career.

Dan Downey, winner of last week’s 4-Banger main event, finished third followed by heat race winner Justin McPherson of San Martin and Boulder Creek’s Andy LaVerne.

Non-wing Sprint Cars

Tim DeCarlo Jr. won his second consecutive non-wing main event and reset his own 20-lap feature race record. The Morgan Hill resident ran the nonstop main event in 4:49.302. Last week DeCarlo ran the 20-lap race in 4:49.529 seconds.

Tommy LaLiberte, 2013 champion, finished second. Brent Maggi finished third. Eric Rossi, who led the first nine laps, finished fourth. Evan Bonnema of Corralitos finished fifth. Maggi and LaLiberte were heat race winners.

Bryan Grier of Hollister led laps 9-16 before dropping out with mechanical problems.

South Bay Dwarf Cars

Terry Rothweiler won his second South Bay Dwarf Car feature of the season. Shawn Jones also a two-time feature winner finished second. Salinas’ Camron Diatte, who led the first 11 laps, finished third. Marty Weisler and Gene Pires Jr. finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Jones and Doug Penny were heat race winners.

Next Friday, Ocean’s winged 360 sprint cars sponsored by Taco Bravo will return for round seven. The American stocks, IMCA’s modified and sport modified divisions and the non-wing sprint cars will also return.

For the complete article see the 06-10-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-10-2014 paper.

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