Halie Sullivan Photo
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MADERA, Calif. – (July 27, 2020) – Kercie Jung turned in the best finish of her young career in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series at Madera Speedway on Saturday night by earning a runner-up finish against a 20-car field.
Jung started off the night by qualifying third, which sent the 14-year-old racer to the pre-race redraw. During the redraw she pulled the number two pill, putting her on the outside pole alongside fellow female racer Holly Clark.
Early in the feature the Bakersfield, Calif., driver briefly faded to fifth. However, she patiently worked her way back through the field and by the halfway break in the 70-lap feature Jung was running second.
“It got a little difficult because the car started getting tight towards the end, so it was hard to battle and pass people because the car wanted to drift up towards the wall,” Jung said.
Jung stood her ground during the second half of the feature, running second as race leader Bradley Erickson pulled away to a comfortable lead. A caution flag with 11 laps left allowed Jung to close the gap on the leader.
Following an aborted restart attempt, Jung and race leader Erickson went toe-to-toe for the race lead. Erickson’s run on the top proved the difference as he retained the lead, with Jung settling back into second.
Two more caution flags slowed the field in the final laps, but Jung wasn’t able to challenge Erickson, instead having to survive an intense battle for second. She held on to finish in the runner-up position, matching the best finish by a female competitor in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series at the third-mile asphalt oval.
“We were still battling a little bit of tightness after we made some adjustments,” Jung said of her car. “The high side came in, so he (Erickson) got a little slingshot coming out of the corner. Overall, it was really exciting and nerve wracking.”
Jung credited veteran racer Buddy Shepherd, whom she has been working with recently, for his help preparing her to battle at the front of the field
“It’s been helping a lot. I have Buddy there all the time. He’s in my ear all the time being a cheerleader,” Jung said. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without all of our sponsors, Daryl Curtis, Cousin Cary, Shepherd Racing, Bobby Courtney Racing Enterprises and San Joaquin Collision.”
Jung would also like to thank her parents and her team, Franks Cabinet Shop, Harrison Street Automotive, Ian M Hassett Foundation, Ybnormal Graphics, The Society of Disabled Children of Bakersfield, WileyX, Sparrow Ranch and MPM Marketing for their support.