Bubby Kerrick's Last Lap Heartbreak Awards ESS Win to John Karklin Jr.
DUNDEE, N.Y. - In an absolute shocking turn of events, Bubby Kerrick saw his sprinter spin around in turn four on lap 19 while leading the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2001 event at the Black Rock Speedway. The 360 degree spin was enough for Cairo, N.Y.'s John Karklin Jr. to take advantage and go on to win his first ever ESS event.
It was enough to make anyone shed a tear. Gorham, N.Y.'s Bubby Kerrick has been a faithful supporter of ESS with his entire family for seven years. Always in the pits at each event and always fast, but, never found the right breaks to be an A-Main winner.
This past Friday night in front of a packed house at the Yates County Oval, Kerrick's former home track, all the chips were falling into place. Kerrick's City Hill Construction #61 was fast, he won his heat by half a track, won his dash and then he took the lead on lap 13 of the 20 lap feature event. Kerrick was just plain gone, pulling out to a huge lead. All there was to do on lap 19 was to wait for him to come down to the checkered flag and begin a long awaited celebration. But, on the last corner of the last lap Kerrick was seen spinning around and everyone saw Karklin Jr. slip right by for the win.
While it was a heart break for Kerrick, it was good fortune for Karklin Jr. who has been a sprint car gypsy for nine years now. "This is amazing!! I can't believe I won a race with ESS." said the driver of the JCK Logging #69K. " I have to admit, Bubby had us covered, he had this thing won and you have to feel for him. I was running for second and was going to be happier than a pig in slop to take second after all we been through the last few races. But, when I saw him spinning around I just knew I had to get by because he was the only guy that passed me all race. If I got him back I knew I would win, luckily I did. I just guess it was my turn to have a good break."
The victory came with an extra incentive as it was a Syracuse Super Shootout Qualifier. Karklin Jr. will be a guaranteed starter in the 20 mile, $5000 to win, $30,000 contest that pits the best from ESS and the United Racing Club during Super DIRT Week.
Karklin Jr's Shaw chassis sprinter was running strong all night on the 4/10ths mile oval and that put him in position to take advantage. "We changed everything on this car. I asked everyone what to do, I changed stuff I didn't realize you could change." said Karklin Jr. afterwards in the pits. "I was hoping for a better car or else I was ready to sit down and wonder If I would stay on the trail."
"I've been around for a while, ran with other clubs, I even ran a club (Karklin Jr. was President of the Eastern Limited Sprints for several years) but this year we all decided to run with ESS. We wanted to give it a good effort. We started out good, but the last few weeks were tough and I was starting to get down. Tonight the car was fast and we got lucky this time. There's nothing that compares to this, to win with all this talent in this club."
From his pole position start, Karklin Jr. took a lead over 18 year old Jeff VanDusen. The two ran one/two for nearly the entire first half of the race. While they were putting on a crowd pleasing dual, Kerrick was also thrilling the fans with his charge to the front.
Starting in the seventh spot, it took Kerrick's Kriner powered Maxim nine laps to take second from VanDusen and then in heavy lapped traffic he found the line to get by Karklin Jr. on lap 13. It was a pass that was to bring Kerrick home for his first ever ESS triumph until the infamous lap 19 where the victory was snatched away. Kerrick made a great save to still come home in second spot.
A true gentleman, Bubby Kerrick still stood alongside his car all night after the checkers and even cracked a smile a few times. "I can't believe that happened. It's so frustrating to lose this race with such a fast car and in front of my home fans." said a low-toned Kerrick. "I guess a lapped car moved out a bit and I tried to miss him. The car just came around. We had the best car all night but I guess it wasn't to be."
At Tommy Burton's checkered flag, Karklin Jr. took ESS career win number one with Kerrick the runner-up. Third was Dan Kaszubinski who's wild rim riding style earned him the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus after starting in 14th. Don Sharp Jr. had a fine run to place fourth just ahead of current ESS points leader Mike Woodring. Rounding out the top ten were VanDusen, the Miller Lite #21A of R.C. Faigle, Alain Bergeron, Scott Holcomb and Lance Yonge.
Only one caution slowed the pace and it was on the first lap when Mike Stelter came into contact with another car which saw his front end collapse.
Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Randy Years, Woodring and Kerrick with Kerrick also winning the Lane's Yamaha/Walt's Hobby Dash event. The KSE Racing Products B-Main was won by Pete Green.
ESS NOTES: Another solid field of 31 sprinters in the pits...A big welcome back to Billy Bradshaw running the family owned sprinter. DIRT 358 star Dale Planck has wheeled the #2 for a few races but it was Bradshaw's turn. Admitting a little rust, Billy was all smiles and all from ESS was glad to see him back after his horrifying accident at Tri-City several years ago...With winning bonuses from Car-Mate Trailers, ATL Fuel Cells, Pro Shocks, Tire Comp. East, Penske Shocks, Extreme Racewear, Hank's Performance Products, Griffin Thermal Products, Duralite Racing Wheels, Hazlitt Vineyards, Total Seal, Bicknell Racing Products, Flag2flag.com, Red's Speed Shop and Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear, the win for Karklin Jr. was worth over $2250...The best from "America's Race Cars" will make their return to Black Rock on Friday, August 10 as a part of Winston Cup weekend...This weekend it's a return to the Stateline Speedway on Sat. and then the Eriez Speedway on Sun.