It's been a self-professed bad season for Jared Kern in his United Rebel Sprint Series campaign.
Kern has dealt with personal health and car engine issues this season which has caused him not to compete in the URSS. He claimed his second main feature appearance of the season Friday night at Dodge City Raceway Park.
A chance to start on the pole in the 25-lap feature proved to be the antidote for all that the Great Bend had suffered before as he led from wire-to-wire to claim the main feature. It was Kern's second career URSS win after claiming a feature in LaCrosse last year.
Kern drives the "007k" sprint, but it wasn't the stealthy James Bond that took him to the winner's circle. It was having to handle the hard challenges by three different racers in separate points of the race that allowed Kern to claim only his second career feature in the series.
"I think I got the trick tonight," Kern said. "I could do was to keep telling myself to keep calm."
The first challenge came for Kern came from Koby Walters for the first 11 laps. Kern stayed just ahead in the challenge until Walters ran into the back of the leader and lost momentum which he could never recover.
The second challenge came from Luke Cranston, who has been a multiple-time winner at DCRP. The defending state champion from Plains started catching up with the first two drivers and was able to get behind Kern immediately after Walters dropped out.
That only lasted for a few laps as Kern started to move away until a caution on lap 13. Kern's good jump at the restart started to cause him to move away from the pack as Cranston and Zach Blurton battled each other for second place.
Blurton was able to get by Cranston and set his sights on Kern, narrowing the gap with each lap as both started to coming onto lapped traffic.
The former Jetmore driver was up to the bumper of Kern and had a final chance to snatch away the victory on the final lap, but the leader was able to move alongside the lapped car of Kaden Taylor and boxed in Blurton to earn the win by a length.
"I said my pace to not get into lapped traffic and it about bit me there in the end," Kern said. "I could hear him on top of me and I was just hoping I could make it to the checkered flag before anybody else."
Blurton said he felt like he might have given away the feature win to Kern, but knew that the second place helps him as he looks to battle the 2014 Kansas region series tittle.
"I kind of showed him my nose and I think maybe I could have pushed the issue a little more," Blurton said. "We settled for second and we had three more nights (of action), so we'll build off that."
Cranston held on to finish third and Steven Richardson placed fourth. Dodge City's Brian herbert finished sixth, while defending national series champion Jake Bubak placed eighth and Walters fell back to 13th in the final standings. Blurton, Bubak and Cranston all claimed heat race victories.
UNITED REBEL SPRINT SERIES
(July 25 feature at Dodge City Raceway Park)
1. 007k-Jared Kern, 2. 2j-Zach Blurton, 3. 20-Luke Cranston, 4. 0-Steven Richardson, 5. 95-Gavin Stout, 6. 97-Brian Herbert, 7. 50-Jed Werner, 8. 9x-Jake Bubak, 9. 4s-Kevin Schramek, 10. 49-Kris Moore, 11. 77-Cody Caldwell, 12. 911-Rick Salem, 13. 33-Koby Walters, 14. 51r-Ross Essenburg, 15. 88j-Jeremy Huish, 16. 16k-Kaden Taylor, 17. 1x-Cody Lampe.