John Karklin Jr. Ends Early Season Slump with Empire Super Sprints Victory at Autodrome Granby. GRANBY, QUE. - Freehold, N.Y.'s John Karklin Jr. finally put an end to his horrible beginning of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) Tour 2004 with...
John Karklin Jr. Ends Early Season Slump with Empire Super Sprints Victory at Autodrome Granby.
GRANBY, QUE. - Freehold, N.Y.'s John Karklin Jr. finally put an end to his horrible beginning of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) Tour 2004 with a solid victory Friday night at Autodrome Granby in Quebec, Canada. Taking the lead on lap 11 from Tim Kelly, the JCK Timber #69K had to hold off a late race charge from 2003 ESS rookie of the year Nick Fratto for the victory in third Spectro Oils Canadian Invasion Series event.
The likeable driver is coming off his best season ever with a solid placing of fourth in points with two A-Main wins and high hopes for the new year. But, a bad handling car coupled with early dropouts has made him a non-factor during the first quarter of the season. A switch back to last years J&J chassis and just simply staying out of trouble was key to feature triumph #1 in ESS' 21st. Anniversary Season.
"You just don't know how much pressure this relieves. Here I was coming into the year hoping for a championship, a new car, a good motor, lots of extra parts, great sponsors, I had everything in place." said Karklin on his early season enthusiasm. "But, it just went so bad, so fast! I only made one lap in two features and that new car (a 2004 J&J) is now getting cut up, it just didn't work"
The switch was made last years mount last week a Cornwall and while a 12th place finish didn't make headlines, the relief of just finishing gave some new hope. On this night however, the Karklin camp knew they had something for the field. "This car was fast right at the beginning of the night. With all the bad luck we had I had an idea we were going to get an upfront starting spot and we just had to take advantage."
The starting spot was third and when Sylvain Mercier dropped the green Karklin's charge began. Passing Jeff Cook for second on lap six and then ducking under Kelly coming off turn four to lead lap 11, it was a lead that was challenged but never surrendered.
The 25 lap finale' actually came down to a lap 19 caution with Karklin leading the young teenager in Fratto. He new his challenge and he knew his strategy. "When the caution came out I looked at the scoreboard and saw Nicky (Fratto) was second. I then knew what to do." noted the veteran sprint chauffeur." I just felt that he would go to the cushion, he likes the high side most of the time and when the green came out I just drove in high to take the lane away. It worked and we finally put together a good night...almost."
Almost?...Karklin explains. "Just as I was getting ready to wave under the cool down lap here is this sprinter driving over the back of me! It was Nick. He just never saw the white flag and he thought we had one lap to go. I couldn't believe how hard he hit me, I could have killed the kid. But, I understood, I've done it too. It made for an interesting victory lane with two messed up sprinters but it's all good. I'll just have to get him at the post-race party!"
At the finish it was Karklin in for ESS career win #5, Fratto's best finish ever at second followed by Lance Yonge, Kelly and Justin Barger who collected the Lane's Yamaha hard charger bonus coming from 15th. Rounding out the top ten were Don Sharp Jr., hometown favorite Alain Bergeron, Alex Mosher, Kyle Moffit and Bubby Kerrick.
Three cautions for minor spins slowed the pace: Doug Emery looped around on lap 12, Cook did the same on lap 14 and Frank Senzio on lap 19.
The three Engler Machine and Tool heat events were won by Bergeron, Fratto and Karklin Jr.
ESS NOTES: A total of 23 sprinters made the long town to the big half-mile oval...Point leader Dan Kaszubinski did a rollover during his heat. With rain moving in, the A-Main was pushed up and he didn't have enough time to fix his car so he took out the Bergeron back up...Flat tires were the talk of the night as four of the top six came over the scales with right rears either flat or losing air...ESS returns to Granby on Friday, Sept. 3rd.
Heat 1 - Alain Bergeron, Don Sharp Jr., Jeff VanDusen, Mike Stelter, Frank Senzio, Justin Barger, Randy Years.
Heat 2 - Nick Fratto, Alex Mosher, Tim Kelly, Doug Emery, Bob Podolak, Bubby Kerrick, Jim Senzio, Alexandre Hade.
Heat 3 - John Karklin Jr., Lance Yonge, Billy Krull, Kyle Moffit, Mike VanDusen, Dick Spadaro, Dan Kaszubinski.
A-Main - JOHN KARKLIN JR., Fratto, Yonge, Kelly, Barger, Sharp Jr., Bergeron, Mosher, Moffit, Kerrick, M. VanDusen, J. VanDusen, Years, Emery, Cook, J. Senzio, Spadaro, F. Senzio, Stelter, Krull, Podolak, Kaszubinski.
DNQ - Hade.
Gater News Lap Leaders -- Kelly 1-10, Karklin Jr. 11-25.
Lane's Yamaha Hard Charger -- Barger (10 pos.) $50. 2Brodix Cylinder Heads Halfway -- Karklin Jr. $50.
Winner's Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, ATL Fuel Cells $100, Penske Shocks $100, Hank's Performance Products $50, Total Seal $50, Real Racing Wheels $50, B&B Oval Track Products $50, American Racer Tires $50, Saldana Racing Products $50, Racing Optics $30, Frankland Racing Products $25, The Race Depot $25, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse $20, MRE Productions $10.
Weld Racing Hard Luck -- Kaszubinski $100.
Leaf Racewear -- Yonge $75
M & W Aluminum Products -- Years $75.
Penske Shocks -- Mike VanDusen $100.
Design 500 -- Cook $100, Barger $50.
Zemco Headers -- Barger $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos -- Krull $50.
Engler Machine and Tool -- Bergeron, Fratto, Karklin Jr. $25.
DMI -- Kaszubinski $25
HRP -- Years $25.