DUNDEE, N.Y. -- Not even your best fiction novelist could muster up a script better than what played in front of the packed house in celebration of the 4th of July at the Black Rock Speedway. When the back cover of the book was closed, there was...
DUNDEE, N.Y. -- Not even your best fiction novelist could muster up a script better than what played in front of the packed house in celebration of the 4th of July at the Black Rock Speedway. When the back cover of the book was closed, there was Freehold, N.Y.'s John Karklin Jr. standing in victory lane to collect his second Empire Super Sprints (ESS) A-Main of the season.
In what looked to be one of the most thrilling finishes in the 20 year history of the 360 sanctioning body, turned into the most unpredictable outcome ever seen. Rob Dietrick, Mike Lutz and Dan Kaszubinski were all under a blanket among lapped traffic in a dog fight that put the throng on their feet. It was to be a three lap battle of the ages for the $1450 top prize.
Lutz, the current ESS point leader, made two daring moves to slip by both Kaszubinski and then leader Dietrick. With both drivers ready to make their moves in return all of a sudden there was a sideways Bubby Kerrick in turn four as the field was ready to score lap 23. First to pile into Kerrick's car was Lutz and then both Dietrick and Kaszubinski followed knocking the top three from contention for the victory.
Just missing the melee was fourth place running Karklin Jr. and Bill Bailey. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing on front of me." said a surprised Karklin. "I did all I could to avoid those cars in four and here I was in the lead after it was all over. I had a fourth place car but I wasn't going to turn down this bit of luck that came my way."
Even though the turn four incident took away the front running trio, the fans at the Dundee, N.Y. oval still saw their three lap shootout as Bailey, who came from his 21st place starting spot, was also looking to collect his second win of the season and challenged Karklin on each turn of each lap.
Bailey tried high, he tried low but Karklin held his ground. "I heard him on the outside right when the green came out.' noted Karklin on the challenge from Bailey. "I just tried to run pretty much in the middle of the track to make it a hard pass for Bill."
The driver of the JCK Transport #69K didn't miss his groove in those final three laps and went on to collect his fourth career ESS victory. While Bailey's challenge wasn't stiff enough, right in victory lane the winner also threw out information that made the fans in awe. "I'll tell you, I'm a bit light headed and my sight isn't the best right now." noted Karklin. "When Bill (Coffey who made contact with his sprinter causing Coffey to flip wildly off turn three) hit me his car came in the cockpit. My elbow is cut up and I felt like I lost some teeth, I can't believe how hard I got hit. The rest of the race I just tried to keep the cobwebs clear."
Karklin continued, "Ya' know, you don't like to win it this way but I've had one taken away from me the same way. Those guys (the leading threesome) deserved to be down here but sometimes it's all how racing goes and we will take it. We are in a good point fight with ESS and this will help."
At the finish of the wild 25 lap feature event it was Karklin over Bailey by a narrow margin. Bob Podolak took third with Justin Barger home in fourth. Barger also had a tale to be told as he took his sprinter pit side on the lap 12 red flag for Coffey to make repairs. The young star made a strong charge to bring home another top five. Lance Yonge held on with a slowly leaking right rear to take fifth place money. Rounding out the top ten were Doug Emery, Mike Stelter, who came from his 23rd place starting spot, Lutz returned to the action and made some wild moves to come back for an eighth place result, Alain Bergeron took ninth followed by Don Sharp Jr. who lead the first five laps before seeing his sprinter spin in front of the field.
Four cautions and one red flag added to the drama: The first yellow on lap five was for Sharp who lost his bid for victory. Lap twelve saw a double spin by Ray Preston and Tim Kelly. On the restart saw Coffey jump the right rear of Karklin sending him into a wild series of flips off turn three. Curt Shuttleworth was also involved and his sprinter went over as well. Coffey was shaken a made a trip to the local hospital while Shuttleworth walked away. On lap 15 Alain Bergeron and Kerrick spun off turn three with the final caution on lap 22 when Kerrick looped his mount and collected the three leaders.
Taking the $25 to win Engler Machine and Tool heat events were Jeff VanDusen, Karklin and Dietrick. The Speedway Performance/Walt's Hobby Dash was won by VanDusen with Tim Kelly collecting the KSE Racing Products B-Main.
ESS NOTES: A total of 26 sprinters were on hand--Making his first ESS start of the season was URC competitor Matt Gerber. Unfortunately it was a night to forget for the Allentown Pa., star as a front spindle broke during his heat sending his sprinter to the inside wall. Frame damage was the end result--.The Walt's Hobby Hard Charger Bonus went to Bailey as he passed 19 sprinters on his way to the second place finish. Bailey had to run the B-Main after losing his entire front end during his heat--.The 20th Anniversary Tour makes two more stops to Black Rock. Friday, August 8th in conjunction with the Winston Cup weekend at Watkins Glen and also on Sept. 5 & 6 for the Fifth Annual Bully Hill Vineyards Fall Sprint Nationals.
Heat 1 -- Jeff VanDusen, Justin Barger, Don Sharp Jr., Bill Wolf, Jim McCaffrey, Randy Years.
Heat 2 -- John Karklin Jr., Alain Bergeron, Lance Yonge, George Ely, Bill Coffey, Bubby Kerrick.
Heat 3 -- Rob Dietrick, Mike Lutz, Dan Kaszubinski, Doug Emery, Bob Podolak, Curt Shuttleworth.
Speedway Performance/Walt's Hobby Dash -- VanDusen.
B-Main -- Tim Kelly, Ray Preston, Bill Bailey, Dick Spadaro.
Provisional -- Mike Stelter, Added Starter -- Nick Fratto.
Did Not Qualify -- Warren Alexson, Matt Gerber.
A-MAIN -- JOHN KARKLIN JR., Bailey, Podolak, Barger, Yonge, Emery, Stelter, Lutz, Bergeron, Sharp Jr., Preston, VanDusen, Wolf, Spadaro, Dietrick, McCaffrey, Years, Fratto, Kelly, Kaszubinski, Kerrick, Coffey, Shuttleworth, Ely.
Lap Leaders -- Sharp Jr. 1-5, Dietrick 6-22, Karklin Jr. 23-25.
Walt's Hobby Hard Charger -- Bailey (19 pos.) $50.
Brodix Cylinder Heads Halfway -- Dietrick $50.
Winner's Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, Sway-A-Way $100, ATL Fuel Cells $100, AFCO Shocks $100, Hank's Performance Products $50, Total Seal $50, Real Wheels $50, American Race Tires $50, Hazlitt Vineyards $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear $20, MRE Productions $10.
Weld Racing Hard Luck -- Coffey $75.
Leaf Racewear -- Podolak $75.
Penske Shocks -- Yonge $200.
Design 500 -- Dietrick $100, Yonge $50.
KSE Racing Products -- Kelly $50.
Zemco Headers -- Stelter $50.
Saldana Racing Products -- Stelter $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos -- Coffey $50.
Bailey Racing Products -- Coffey $35.
Hazlitt Vineyards -- Bailey $30, Podolak $10, VanDusen $10.
HRP -- VanDusen $25.
DMI -- Coffey $25.