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Right Place, Right Time: Tanner Thorson Becomes First Nevada Driver to Win Johnny Key Classic


(PETERSEN MEDIA- Aptos, CA, )- While it looked as if Cory Eliason would be the driver to take home the $5000 on Saturday night at Ocean Speedway, the old adage “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over’ came into place as Eliason would trip over the curb on lap 44 and Thorson would be waiting in the wings to take over the top spot and race his way to his first ever Johnny Key Classic feature event win and his second career Civil War Series pres. by Flowmaster win.

With Eliason and Thorson leading the field to green, the first two attempts at a start would be waived off with Nick Ringo and Justin Sanders each getting upside down in separate incidents.

The third time would prove to be the charm as the two heavy hitters ran side by side for the first lap with Eliason powering by Thorson in three and four to secure the race lead and begin leading the way.

Behind the duo, Kurt Nelson would run in third as Brad Furr and Mitchell Faccinto rounded out the Top-Five. The 50-lapper would go non-stop during the first 25 lap segment as fans were treated to all kinds of action with the leaders in traffic from the sixth lap on.

While Eliason would seemingly get through traffic smooth, Thorson would match his moves and pull alongside him on a couple of occasions, but Eliason would find himself in the top spot when Ed Entz dropped the yellow flag on the 25th circuit for the scheduled halfway ‘Open Red’.

Back underway, the race would come to a quick halt as Dustin Golobic came to a stop in turn two. He would be able to restart and tag the tail of the field and resume his race.

With Eliason continuing to lead the way, a pair of drivers starting deep would come forward and make a bid for positions inside the Top-Five as 17th starting Bud Kaeding, and 13th starting Shane Golobic became players late in the race.

Mitchell Faccinto would make a big move around Kurt Nelson to take over the third position, and a few laps later Nelson’s extremely strong run would come to a close as he would trip over the thick cushion in turns one and two and come in contact with the wall.

Nelson would be the first to do so, but would start a trend that saw much of the top five get themselves into trouble.

While Eliason continued to open up his lead, Thorson would find himself tripping over the cushion and it would allow the Kingsburg, CA pilot to open up to over a six second lead.

As the laps clicked off, traffic would allow Thorson and third running Mitchell Faccinto close back in with less than 10-laps to go in the race.

Leading the 44th lap, Eliason would have issues in turn two himself as the McColloch Motorsports entry would get up over the cushion in turn two and bounce off the wall sending him across the speedway.

Thorson would make contact with Eliason as he slid toward the infield, and somehow was able to keep his machine going and find himself in the lead as Golobic got by Faccinto at this time to take over third with Eliason falling back to fifth.

Up front, Thorson would lead the final five laps despite having a damaged nose wing to claim the 58th Johnny Key Classic.

Golobic would cap off an impressive run to second while Bud Kaeding would make a very nice move around Faccinto to take the final position on the podium. Faccinto would run fourth, Eliason would take the checkered flag in fifth with Kyle Hirst, Ryan Bernal, Brad Furr, Colby Copeland, and Matthew Moles rounding out the Top-10.

Saturday night saw 38 Civil War Series pres. by Flowmaster cars check into the Ocean Speedway for round No. 8 of action in 2018 with Brad Furr earning quick time honors.

A four heat-race program was in place on Saturday night with wins going to Kurt Nelson, Tanner Thorson, Justin Sanders and Mitchell Faccinto.

Twin B-Main wins went to DJ Netto and Scott Parker with Nick Ringo and Cole Macedo each transferring out of B Main No. 1 and Dustin Freitas and Cody Lamar transferring from B Main No. 2.

Thorson would win the Flowmaster Dash and earn the pole for the 50-lap feature event.

Saturday night’s High Five Pizza Hard Charger was Bud Kaeding who advanced from his 17th starting position to finish third, while the Beer Optics Hard Luck recipient was third starting Justin Sanders who was involved in a flip during the second attempted start on Saturday night.

2018 Civil War Series presented by Flowmaster Schedule

9/5   Silver Dollar Speedway- Gold Cup Opener

9/15 Calistoga Speedway- Season Finale with World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series

ON TAP: The Civil War Series presented by Flowmaster will take this weekend off before returning to action for the annual Wednesday night show that will open up the Gold Cup Race of Champions in Chico, CA on September 5th.

2018 WINNERS: Justin Sanders (March 24th Marysville Raceway), Bud Kaeding (April 21st Thunderbowl Raceway), Steven Kent (May 5th Thunderbowl Raceway), Justin Sanders (May 26th Marysville Raceway), Kyle Hirst (May 27th Silver Dollar Speedway), Colby Copeland (June 23rd Calistoga Speedway), Tanner Thorson (July 20th Ocean Speedway), Tanner Thorson (August 25th Ocean Speedway).

STAY CONNECTED: Keep up with the Civil War Series Presented By Flowmaster, and find complete results and point standings by clicking over to, ‘Liking’, or following us on twitter at For more information on Flowmaster, please visit

CIVIL WAR SERIES PRESENTED BY FLOWMASTER- Founded in 1991 as the North-South Series, the Civil War Sprint Car Series was born in 1993 giving 360ci Sprint Cars in California a sanctioning body. What started as just a handful of races at three different tracks has evolved into quite the series. In 2018, the Civil War Sprint Car Series will host 10 events at 5 different tracks around California.




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