The annual World Finals came and went this past weekend with a rough Thursday and Friday, a postponed show on Saturday, and a smooth Sunday. All thanks to mother nature who was wreaking havoc on the weekend plans of fans and drivers alike. And of course, the usual suspects turned up in victory lane as Jonathan Davenport, Danny Johnson and Joey Saldana all took home victories.
And there were also some surprises. Like Midwestern sprint star Dusty Zomer who took home the win Friday night. Or rising late model standout Brandon Sheppard who bested the late model field on Friday as well. And also Tim Kerr who won the modified portion on Sunday evening. Wait…..
Who’s Tim Kerr? Unless you’re a diehard northeastern modified fan, that name did not resonate whatsoever. The 29 year old construction worker and Canadian resident had at least 80% of the fans at Charlotte shrugging their shoulders following his upset victory. Most fans in attendance, whether they were more modified oriented or not, still have a general idea of the stars of the division. They’re familiar with Matt Sheppard and Billy Decker. They’ve heard of Stewart Friesen and the Dr. Danny Johnson and of course Brett Hearn had become a household name for more passive modified fans years ago.
Upsets are great to bear witness to. They remind us that the little guy still has a fighting chance even in a field of the best of the best. But often they happen as the result of good fortune. A friendly starting spot with lucky circumstances. A well timed caution with lapped traffic approaching for an inexperienced leader perhaps. Or race leaders who take each other out with a handful of laps to go. But, Kerr’s was a different kind of upset.
Kerr started the night 8th on the grid, and in just 30 laps passed the likes of Decker, Kenny Tremont, Dave Blaney, Duane Howard, Billy Pauch Jr., Larry Wight, and Peter Britten. Diehard fans know these names very well. But more passive fans should know that any one of these guys is a potential winner at any track against anybody in the sport. And not only did Kerr manage a way to get around everybody, he flashed some very good defense in holding off Britten who was furiously trying to take the top spot back in the waning laps. Kerr was good on top, down low and in the middle of a wide and racy surface and in no way could be considered a one groove wonder.
But perhaps the best part of this monumental upset, is the fact Kerr is more or less a weekly driver. He works a hard full time job, and tows from Canada to central New York every Friday and Saturday night competing weekly at Brewerton and Fulton Speedways respectively. To put it into perspective for fans who might not know, this would be the equivalent of your favorite weekly driver pulling off a victory in a King’s Royal for the sprints, or perhaps a Firecracker or Show-Me 100 for the late models. The world finals play host to the best of the best, and on this night, Kerr bested the best. And also, in front of a huge grandstand of spectators. And it has to be considered the highlight of the weekend as a whole.
Not to take anything away from any of the other winners on the weekend who pulled off impressive victories. Their stories will be memorable. But Kerr’s story will be legendary for years. Because he has more in common with the average fan or driver, because he doesn’t do it for a living and puts his heart, soul, and money into his operation because he loves to race. And that is why both his performance, and his victory stood out in Charlotte this weekend.