INDIAN TRAIL — When his high school baseball career ended at Cuthbertson High last spring, Jake Karklin traded in his batting helmet for a racing helmet.
Jake Karklin comes from a baseball and sprint car racing family and the 2017 Cuthbertson graduate probably could have followed his older brother, Josh, and given college baseball a shot. Josh Karklin is a sophomore pitcher on the Wingate University baseball team.
But Jake Karklin, 18, has decided to follow his father, John, into the world of winged sprint car racing. Jake Karklin will make his rookie debut April 28 at a Carolina Sprint Tour race in Sumter, S.C. in a 305-winged sprint car. A 305 (500-horsepower) is a feeder group for the bigger 360 (725-horsepower) winged sprint cars. Depending on the track, a 305 can reach speeds of 80-130 miles per hour.
John Karklin raced sprint cars for over 20 years, including nine years full time when he lived in New York. Jake Karklin started racing at age 8 and has competed in Quarter Midgets and Outlaw Karts. He has run two practice races in his 305 in preparation for his rookie debut.
“Outlaw Carts is basically a go-cart on steroids,” Jake Karklin said. “Quarter Midgets are similar to the car I am racing now, but smaller. I’m excited for my first race, I can’t wait.”
Jake Karklin, who is taking classes at Southern Piedmont Community College and working for a local electrician, is hoping to enter 20 or more races this year.
“We are going to compete for Rookie of the Year and hopefully get a few wins, too,” John Karklin said.