Racing: Gualda takes first at Ocean Speedway

Hollister racer Tony Gualda takes part in the Johnny Key Classic at Ocean Speedway last month. Gualda drove the fastest time of his career, winning the track’s heat. Gualda did not participate in the main event. 

At only 12-years old, Hollister racer Tony Gualda continues to make a name for himself at race tracks throughout California.

On Aug. 25, Gualda continued his racing ascension, going the fastest he has ever gone while racing in front of his biggest crowd during the Johnny Key Classic at Ocean Speedway.

“It was amazing,” Gualda said. “It was so much fun. I was going about 80 miles per hour. It was cool going on the corners at the top. I really don’t know how to describe it.”

And Gualda wasn’t even supposed to race. Trying to save his car for races later this year, Gualda didn’t plan on taking part in the race or its festivities beyond the national anthem. But with the large crowd and the track conditions, Gualda along with his crew chief father Tony Gualda decided to race.

Joining the Micro class hot laps, Gualda kept his fast pace and was rewarded a chance to participate in the heat race. Running his heat race last, Gualda, driving for the first time at Ocean Speedway, drove well.

After he needed to restart his car after the first race, Gualda sped around the track on his second try.

“I found some good moisture on the bottom of the raceway and drove around the leader on the top coming off the corner hard,” Gualda said. “I came side by side with (the) leader at that point while going down the backstretch. I had the better car … and I was able to drive around him on the top side and take the lead.”

Going more than 80 miles per hour, Gualda won the heat. Gualda, though, decided not to take part in the main event to save his car for a later race, he said.

“We didn’t want to wreck it,” Gualda said. “It wasn’t worth it.”

Gualda wants to keep the car pristine for the California Cup at Lemoore on Oct. 5 through Oct. 6, he said.

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