Ken McKinley dominated the Bristol night race leading 112 of the 150 lap event!!
Great win Ken!!!!!Ken McKinley dominates Sharpie 125.
By Ron Gephart, Rubbin’s Racin’ Online September 4, 2003
Bristol, TN - Ken McKinley was clearly the car to beat Wednesday night at Bristol. The RROL Bush Series was under the lights of the famed ½ mile bullring for the running of the Sharpie 125. Ken posted the fastest time in practice with a lap of 15.898 (120.694mph) and backed that time up with the pole by running a 15.975 (120.113mph).
The field lined up and took the green flag with Chris Hess to the outside of the #3 Wrangler Chevrolet. Mike Dowell, James Kelly, and Zach Brewer rounded out the top 5.
Ken McKinley jumped out to a quick lead wasting no time showing the field whom to beat.
All ran clean until lap 12 when Ron Gephart went to the high side of the lapped car of Preston Bartlett and was spun into the turn 3 wall. The car was fine but the #12 Harley Davidson Ford was caught 2 laps down. The field took the Green flag and racing resumed with the usual beating and banging. Again Ken drove the #3 Chevrolet to a large lead before the next caution. Under yellow the leaders chose to pit. Ken McKinley was penalized for passing under yellow and was forced to pit under green flag conditions. This handed the lead to RROL rookie driver crash_dewall for the first lead change of the race. Ken dove the #3 Wrangler Monte Carlo to pit road as soon as the green flag dropped to serve his penalty trapping him 2 laps down. But once on track he proved he wasn’t about to give up without a fight. He raced his way back to one lap down when the caution came out later on in the event.
There were only 2 cars on the lead lap, crash_dewall in the #21 and Chris Hess in the #32 Pepsi Pontiac. Crash turned down pit road for service and was penalized for passing the pace car and force to pit under green and serve a one sec penalty. On the drop of the green flag Crash pulled his car down pit road and relinquished the lead to Chris Hess. This also put Ken McKinley and Ron Gephart back on the lead lap. With only 3 cars now on the lead lap Ken wasted no time in catching the #32 Pepsi Grand Prix and taking back over the top spot. Ron Gephart was catching Chris Hess when a lapped car tagged him and put him into the wall. Caution!!!
Chris was able to keep his car on the lead lap, but with extensive damage was unable to contend for the win. Now with only two cars in the hunt for the win and Ken being the clear favorite to win, Ron was content to take 2nd place for the second week in a row. All he had to do was drive the car and not make any mistakes and hope that the lapped cars wouldn’t come into play.
The green flag flew with 30 laps to go and Ken quickly showed he was going to win. Ron drove his #12 Ford around content to finish where he was running. All was fine until the last caution of the night. The field was going to see a green, white, checkered situation. With less than 5 to go the leaders wouldn’t have any lapped cars on the inside. Ron could only hope that Ken would some how, for the first time in the race, slip up and hand him the win. But it just wasn’t in the cards. Ken went on to win the race by .66 sec over the #12. Ron would hold on to his position with Chris Hess taking the 3rd spot as the only other car on the lead lap.
The racing was a typical race at Bristol. Tempers were flaring and sheet metal was crumbling. But Ken ran a hard and clean race. He kept the nose of the #3 Wrangler Monte Carlo out of trouble all night.
There were 7 cautions for a total of 28 laps, 5 lead changes among 4 drivers. Ken led 112 of the 150-lap event.
Congratulation goes out to the #3 Wrangler Chevrolet. Great race!!!