Kennerknecht to defend Little Valley Street Stock title. Officials set for 2002 Jim Lee Kennerknecht from Erie, Pennsylvania, made a shambles of the Street Stock division at Little Valley Speedway last season, winning five of the six features...
Kennerknecht to defend Little Valley Street Stock title.
Officials set for 2002
Jim Lee Kennerknecht from Erie, Pennsylvania, made a shambles of the Street Stock division at Little Valley Speedway last season, winning five of the six features and taking second in the other one. He also won the track championship at Eriez Speedway in 2001. The 23 year old wunderkind, who began racing at Eriez Speedway in his hometown, right after his sixteenth birthday, has been around racing since he was five years old, when his father Jim Sr., who was heavily involved in racing, took him along when he went to the track.
His father built him a big old race car, a 4800 pound Caprice that seemed to be more tank than race car, but Jim was pretty successful with it anyway, finishing in the top ten in points for three straight years, with his highest finish being fifth, and a total of three feature wins to his credit. The following year they built his current ride, a sleek 79 Monte Carlo which carries the number 18K and flies two American flags from the roof. He's easy to spot because he's usually leading the race after a few laps, no matter where he starts. He's also remarkably smooth, this a product of careful preparation drummed into him by his father right from the get-go. Not only is the car carefully maintained, but the driver walks the track to get a feel for the surface and note any potential problem spots, and according to Jim Sr., he has a knack for picking the right groove and seems to have a sixth sense which enables him to stay out of trouble as well.
Jim Lee and his dad are basically a two man operation, and the two do virtually all of the work on the car from the ground up. Jim, who works for General Electric in Erie, owns the whole operation and is really fond of Little Valley. Echoing sentiments which have been coming from a number of drivers he said, "Looks like you're going to have this place rocking this year. I love the treatment at Little Valley and the competitors. Everyone seems to get along with each other. Once in a while we rub some tin, but hey, that's racin' and the crowd loves it. I'm looking forward to having another great year." Jim Sr. is equally enthusiastic, pointing out the quality of the racing surface, and the impartial application of the rules where everybody is treated the same way. He also had high praise for the officials, who run a class operation at the Speedway. They include: Promoter and Race Director- Gary Montgomery, Pit Steward- Wayne Reed, Starter- John Powell, with Assistant Starters- Teena Powell, Pete Loretto, Mike Harrington, and Mike Pielow, Lineup official- Scott Pingie, Scorers- Rachel Babbitt, along with Bob and Roger Okerland, Tech Coordinators- Dan Deyoe and Ed Imhoff, Announcers Dennis Dye and Al Morton, Track Technician John E. Charlesworth, Media Relations- Dave Sully. Overseeing the entire operation is John R. Charlesworth, President of the Cattaraugus County Agricultural Society.
The season kicks off on May 26th, with the round one of Tri State Championship Series for the Super Late Models, paying the winner $3333 for 33 laps, in conjunction with Raceway 7 and McKean County Raceway. Super Stocks, Street Stocks, with the talented Jim Kennerknecht the man to beat, and school buses are also on the card. The track is located at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds on Rt. 353 in Little Valley, NY, just north of Salamanca. For more information, call the office at 315-536-3728, the track at 716-938-9146, or visit our website at www.littlevalleyspeedway.com.