Fourteen-year-old Kercie Jung is ready to hit the track running to kick off her season on March 14 at California’s Madera Speedway.
Jung is beginning her second full season of competition in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series at Madera. Last year she made her debut in the series, earning a seventh-place finish in the championship standings.
She’ll look to improve upon that this year beginning with the 70-lap opener, which will be broken into segments of 40 and 30 laps. She’ll be leaning on a pair of racing veterans, Dick and Buddy Shepherd, to help accelerate her learning curve this year.
“My expectations this year are pretty high because it is my second year in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series at Madera Speedway,” Jung said “We are hoping for some top-three finishes and a couple of wins if we can pull them off. This year I’m really excited to be working with Dick and Buddy Shepherd and learning as much as I can. We’re working with a new car this season and it’s important to me to show that racing can be a girls’ sport too.”
In order to shake off the offseason rust and get used to her new car, Jung recently took part in an open test session at Madera. The test didn’t go exactly as planned, but the team did manage to gain some valuable data they can use in the season opener.
“The test session started off a little rough. When I was jacking up the car the jack slipped from under the car and we tore up the right side door,” Jung explained. “After we straightened out the door I started to get ready for the first practice. After a couple of warm-up laps so I could get the feeling of the car we were ready to see what we could do. We got faster with every practice, but sadly our practice ended early due to our trailing arm mount breaking and ending our day.
“Overall practice was great and I was very happy with the times we were running until the trailing arm mount broke.”
Jung believes it’ll be important to start the season on a positive note, which she hopes will set the tone for the rest of her season at Madera Speedway.
“It is important to me to come out strong the first race because the first one is always the season starter and helps remind you where you should and shouldn’t be running,” Jung said.
“The first race for me has always given me an outlook on how the racing season will go, so our hopes are high for the first race and our 2020 season.”