A budding star is rising in the world of winged sprint cars. Adam Kekich, a second-generation driver from Hermitage, Pennsylvania, had a statement win two weekends ago at his home track, Mercer Raceway Park, when he drove through the field for a dominant 410 cubic inch Sprints win, the first of his career.
Adam Kekich enjoys the winners circle after domination at Mercer Raceway Park in the 410 cubic inch Sprint Car class
"Driving through the field was pretty cool," the kid they call 'Adam Bomb' said. "It felt like any other race, because no matter what, I show up to the track to win. But to be able to race for the win with guys that I grew up watching win races, was really cool."
Adam Kekich hopes to keep waving checkered flags for the remainder of 2012 in his number 5k Sprint Car
"If I had a helmet camera, my face would've been priceless to see when I took the lead. It was an unforgettable feeling."
Kekich is in the middle of one of those 'turning point' seasons, where a driver finally puts it all together and the talent shines through with results. He is sitting sixth in points at Mercer and he has started to run races at other tracks as well, perhaps setting him up for a move into some travelling series down the road.
"We have had our ups and downs (this year) but we keep working to be consistent week in and week out. We have moved around a little this year to help me get seat time at different tracks and to race with the top guys in the All Star series. We went to Fremont Speedway for the two-day All Star show, and by going to that race I learned a lot that helped me out when we came back home to race at local tracks.
"I would have liked to get my first win sooner, but we just started to get the balance of the car to where I can put it anywhere I want to and still be fast."
With the monkey off his back, Kekich is looking to impress potential owners and move into a United States Auto Club (USAC) ride in the future, a goal for all aspiring open-wheel racers.
Many Sprint Car racers, like Adam Kekich, trust K&N products to protect their race cars
"I feel like we are in contention to win more races this year, so I would like for my career to take off from here. I would really like to find the opportunity to find a USAC Midget ride. All I want to do is race as many days as I can, and I feel, if I got the opportunity, Midgets would help develop me as a driver in the open wheel cars."
You would think that getting his first career win would be the highlight of the season for a young racer, but perhaps in a sign of maturity, Kekich also pointed out that his performance at Fremont was a game-changer for his confidence.
"The All Star at Fremont was the first time we were at that track and we went out and qualified twelfth in a very strong forty-car field. That was pretty cool to go out there and run that fast."
Kekich said the race he looks forward to the most from here on out, is "whatever race is next." but ideally the team would like to travel some more, visiting Fremont, the incredibly competitive, Lernerville Speedway, and Attica Raceway Park, but "that is all depending on our budget. We are still looking for some extra help with sponsorship to finish off the year, but I am looking forward to the rest of the season."
"Our goal is to win more races and finish strong every week. Also, we'd like to be a solid car in the rest of the All Star races that we go to. K&N's support has made a world of difference for our program. First, in performance, these 410 engines need lots of air to make horsepower, and with the K&N air box attached it can really breathe.
"Second is in engine life. We race on the dirt, and the dirt is the mortal enemy of any engine, but especially when you are turning 8,000 plus RPM. Not only does our engine last all season, but at tear down each year, the bearing and cylinder walls have no scoring from dirt. It's less expensive to rebuild and there is no loss of power, amazing!"
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