Format for Pettit Shootout released, IMCA Modifieds to race 103 laps

By Steven Blakesley

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (Sept. 15, 2023) – Details have been unveiled for the prestigious 13th annual Pat and Jim Pettit Memorial Shootout on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29 and 30 from Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif.

The annual event pays tribute to the parents of Hall of Famer Jim Pettit II and features Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds and Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods racing in complete programs each night at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds dirt track.

The main event is Saturday’s 103-lap IMCA Modified blockbuster, paying $3,006 to win and $206 to start. SportMods race for $1,006 to win that evening. Friday action pays $1,003 in the Modifieds and $553 in the SportMods.

Both Modified feature winners become eligible to qualify for the 2024 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.

During Saturday’s 103 lap Modified feature, caution flag laps will not count and all drivers a single lap down will receive a lucky dog during caution flags (except for during the lap 50 break). The lap 50 break will be a seven-minute break for fuel only. Drivers must complete the entire 103 laps on the same set of tires.

New for 2023 is the addition of a choose cone for all races throughout the weekend, allowing drivers to select the outside or inside line for each double file restart.

Numerous special activities are planned, beginning with Thursday’s popular car show and raffle at Carmona’s BBQ in Watsonville from 5-8 p.m.

Friday night will feature the #suestyle Pit Party after the races with food and a live band. Saturday is Kids’ Night at the Races with prizes, food, and activities on the grandstand side. There will also be an autograph session with many legends of the sport including Dave Byrd, Bobby Hogge III, Bobby Scott and Jeff Silva.

Camping is available by contacting the fairgrounds directly at (831) 724-5671 and is first come, first served. During the upcoming Santa Cruz County Fair, potential campers should be aware of limited availability for fair staff to return phone calls.

An optional $50 pit stall reservation is available as well to get a preferred spot.

Pit gates open at 10 a.m. each day of the Pettit Shootout with pill draw opening at noon and closing at 2:30 p.m. The driver’s meeting is at 2:45 p.m. with cars on track at 3:15 p.m. Pit passes are $50 per person each day.

Race fan tickets will be available at the gate each day.

For more information, follow the event on Facebook or visit

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