BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – JoJo Helberg put a cap on the inaugural King of the Wing Sprint Car championship by winning the season ending race on Sunday evening at Kern County Raceway Park.
Helberg’s win at the lightning fast half-mile was his fourth win in the six race series for winged pavement sprint cars.
The series organized by Davey Hamilton ran a three race swing across Southern California, with Helberg winning the Saturday night round at Irwindale. Helberg kicked off Sunday’s round at KCRP with a blistering 14.296 second, 125.909 mph lap in qualifying to set the all-time track record.
Helberg started on pole after pulling a zero invert and paced the field comfortably through the first nine laps that went caution-free. A lap 18 caution for oil fire on Ohio’s Kyle Edwards brought out a red flag for refueling.
With the refueling completed incoming Western Swing points leader Sierra Jackson of Idaho saw her hopes dashed as she dropped from fourth to eighth on the restart. Aaron Pierce hounded Helberg with Chowchilla’s Eric Humphries running third. Humphries night went up in smoke on lap 30 to set up a ten lap sprint to the finish.
Pierce used the restart to clamp down on Helberg, and on lap 35 the Indiana driver made his move. Diving into turn three, Pierce went side-by-side with Helberg briefly before washing up the race track. The maneuver allowed Helberg to pull away to a 10 car length lead that never waivered. Helberg sprinted past the checkers for the $3,000 win ahead of Pierce, Bobby Santos, Wisconsin’s David Byrne, and Sierra Jackson. Helberg not only won the overall series championship but won the Midwest Swing in July and unofficial won the Western Swing with the win Sunday.
Helberg made waves with outside pass on the last turn to win his heat race, with other heat race wins to Pierce, Jackson, and Edwards. A scary incident occurred on the opening lap of the first heat race when Rick Brown tagged the backstretch wall and rode against it all the way into turn three. Brown was transported by helicopter to Kern Medical Center but was reported to have only minor injuries.
For the NASCAR Spec Modifieds, Sunday’s 30 lap race was a non-points special event that attracted a 12 car field.
Brock Thompson led the first five laps of competition before Gary Dutton steered the No. 25 ERG Resources machine to the front. A caution flew on lap six when two-time division champ Chris Dalton suffered a flat left rear tire. The ensuing restart saw Johnny White work his way into the second position and run briefly on the back bumper of Dutton before Dutton was able to motor away.
Dalton made it back through the pack to third but ran out laps to catch the leaders. Dutton took a 2.197 second win over White, Dalton, Ethan Dotson in his asphalt debut, and Thompson the top-five.
JoJo Helberg, Aaron Pierce, Bobby Santos, David Byrne, Sierra Jackson, Cody Gerhardt, Kevin Feeney, Jacob Wilson, Ken Hamilton, Ronnie Larson, Richie Larson, Davey Hamilton Jr., Tom Paterson, Eric Humphries, Kyle Edwards, Robert Beck, Tom Skoglund, Matt Mansell, Randy Dubois, Anthony Simone, Davey Hamilton.