McCune Competes Southern Shootout Sweep With Win At Hickory
NEWTON, N.C. – For the second season running, Must See Racing Sprint Car Series kingpin Jimmy McCune completed a sweep of the Southern Shootout, winning Saturday night's 50-lap finale at Hickory Motor Speedway in dominating fashion.
Jimmy McCune celebrates after winning Saturday's Must See Racing Sprint Car Series feature at Hickory Motor Speedway. (CSP/Chris Seelman photo)
After qualifying fourth, the two-time series champion was shuffled to the pole position thanks to a four invert, and he used the prime starting position to jump out to the lead immediately after the green flag.
From there, McCune survived two early restarts to lead every lap of the main event behind the wheel of his No. 88 B&B Machinery Movers/Abe's Auto Parts & Sales sprinter, pulling out to a 3.578-second victory over two-time Little 500 champion Jacob Wilson.
The win was the 18th of McCune's Must See Racing career, second in a row and second at Hickory.
From L to R: runner-up Jacob Wilson, winner Jimmy McCune and third-place Johnny Bridges celebrate on the podium after Saturday's Must See Racing Sprint Car Series feature at Hickory Motor Speedway. (CSP/Chris Seelman photo)
"Wow, I don't even know what to say," McCune said in victory lane. "I've loved coming south (to race) for as long as I can remember. It didn't matter what we were racing ... midgets, quarter midgets ... when we came south good things always seemed to happen, and they did again tonight. Hats off to these guys though (Wilson and Johnny Bridges), because I drove my tail off for 50 ... so I know they did!"
"This was a tough track tonight; it was a handful for us all the way through the race. We never really got a great handle on it ... so I would just have to run the wing back until the tires came off of it, and then run it back some more. We just chased (the track) for 50 (laps) tonight. During the middle stint, I swear I could hear somebody (behind me), but maybe it was just my own echo off the wall; I don't know."
Coming down to the Carolinas for the first time in his Must See Racing career, Wilson came home as the runner-up in his No. 07 Jet Star/Mitch Smith Auto Services machine.
Jimmy McCune takes the checkered flag to win Saturday's Must See Racing Sprint Car Series feature at Hickory Motor Speedway. (CSP/Chris Seelman photo)
"There off the start, I actually feel like our car was a little better than Jimmy's over the course of the run, to be honest with you," Wilson said. "I just burnt my stuff up trying to chase him. When you're in front, you can set the pace and everyone else has to drive around your dirty air, so good job to him for getting out front early and leading the whole way. We had a really good car; just not quite enough."
After slight contact in turns three and four while racing for second with 12 laps to go, North Carolina native and hometown favorite Johnny Bridges completed the podium with a third-place finish.
"He (Wilson) slowed up a little bit and gave me the inside, but I just got out of the throttle a little bit to gather it up in the center of the corner and he was able to pull back away from me," Bridges said. "I've got the qualifying thing down, just need to work on the winning part now. I really thought we had something for these guys tonight, but they're really good drivers and just didn't make any mistakes."
Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Bobby Santos was fourth, the final car on the lead lap as a result of McCune's torrid pace in the feature, with 2015 Hickory winner Jeff Bloom completing the top five.
Jimmy McCune battles former Hickory winner Jeff Bloom during Saturday's Must See Racing Sprint Car Series feature. (CSP/Chris Seelman photo)
Light sprinkles at lap six drew the first caution of the night at the same time as Bronzie Lawson IV also slowed in turn four, while a stalled Jay Dunham at the bottom of Turns 3 and 4 slowed the pace for the final time on lap 11.
In qualifying, Johnny Petrozelle III nearly reset Brian Gerster's Hickory track record set last April, coming eight one-hundredths of a second short after a lap of 12.159 seconds (107.476 mph).
The effort was the first Must See Racing fast time of Petrozelle's career, netting him $100 in bonus money.
Lawson, Bloom and Bridges won their respective heat races, also picking up $100 apiece for their efforts.
The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series continues their 2017 season on May 13 at Michigan's Berlin Raceway.
RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Southern Shootout II; Hickory Motor Speedway; April 22, 2017
Engine Pro A-Feature (50 laps): 1. #88 – Jimmy McCune ; 2. #07W – Jacob Wilson ; 3. #07 – Johnny Bridges ; 4. #22A – Bobby Santos ; 5. #26 – Jeff Bloom ; 6. Johnny Petrozelle III ; 7. #9S – Charlie Schultz ; 8. #8 – Anthony McCune ; 9. #7 – Tom Jewell ; 10. #4L – Anthony Linkenhoker ; 11. #33 – Joe Larkin ; 12. #4B – Bronzie Lawson IV ; 13. #51 – Jay Dunham ; 14. #4X – Bronzie Lawson III ; 15. #72S – Joe Speakman  (DNS); 16. #75C – Jerry Caryer  (DNS).
Lap Leaders: J. McCune (1-50)
Hard Charger: Anthony Linkenhoker (+4)
Time Trials: 1. #59III – Johnny Petrozelle, 12.159; 2. #07 – Johnny Bridges, 12.235; 3. #07W – Jacob Wilson, 12.645; 4. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 12.661; 5. #22A – Bobby Santos III, 12.731; 6. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 12.955; 7. #75C – Jerry Caryer, 13.170; 8. #9S – Charlie Schultz, 13.213; 9. #7 – Tom Jewell, 13.640; 10. #8 – Anthony McCune, 13.665; 11. #72S – Joe Speakman, 13.827; 12. #4B – Bronzie Lawson IV, 13.857; 13. #4X – Bronzie Lawson III, 14.431; 14. #4L – Anthony Linkenhoker, 14.889; 15. #33 – Joe Larkin, 15.000; 16. #51 – Jay Dunham, 16.000
Mahle Heat #1 (10 laps): 1. Bronzie Lawson IV ; 2. Joe Speakman ; 3. Anthony Linkenhoker ; 4. Bronzie Lawson III ; 5. Joe Larkin ; 6. Jay Dunham  (DNS)
Clevite Heat #2 (10 laps): 1. Jeff Bloom ; 2. Charlie Schultz ; 3. Tom Jewell ; 4. Anthony McCune ; 5. Jerry Caryer 
Rev-X Oil Heat #3 (10 laps): 1. Johnny Bridges ; 2. Jimmy McCune ; 3. Jacob Wilson ; 4. Bobby Santos ; 5. Johnny Petrozelle III 
Jimmy McCune Tames Anderson Again To Open 2017 Must See Racing Season
Jimmy McCune celebrates in victory lane after winning Friday's Must See Racing Sprint Car Series race at Anderson Motor Speedway. (CSP/Chris Seelman photo)
WILLIAMSTON, S.C. – Jimmy McCune kicked off his quest for a third-straight Must See Racing Sprint Car Series championship the same way he did one year ago, by winning the season-opening Southern Shootout at Anderson Motor Speedway in dominating fashion on Friday night.
McCune wheeled his No. 88 B&B Machinery Movers mount around the outside of former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Bobby Santos at lap 19 and never looked back, pulling out to a lead of as much as six seconds over the second half of the race en route to victory.
The caution-free affair took just 12 minutes and 40 seconds to complete, at an average race pace of 88.816 mph.
Jimmy McCune takes the checkered flag to win Friday at Anderson Motor Speedway. (CSP/Chris Seelman photo)
McCune also drove into the Must See Racing history books as a result of his performance on Friday night, scoring his record-breaking 17th career series win and second in a row at AMS.
"Wow. I don't even know where to start," said McCune, who broke a tie with fellow two-time champion Brian Gerster atop the series win list. "What a night. This car is just a blast to drive right now. I can't thank everyone who lays a hand on it enough ... because this was a team effort. I'm just the lucky guy who gets to drive it."
While McCune admitted that Santos was "legitimately faster" over the first part of Friday night's run, the Ohio veteran moved up a groove in a search for speed – a move that ultimately propelled him from fifth on the grid to the eventual win.
"He got out on us, and I just kept tweaking on the wing ... trying to figure out where the car was fastest at. There were times when the car was fastest up on the high line, and I finally found a sweet spot where it really worked well up top. I could tell, once I started lapping cars, how much I was pulling away from them and I knew we had something special."
Santos faded through the second half of the race after starting on the pole, ultimately coming home 4.831 seconds adrift at the finish in his No. 22A Parker's Sanitary Pumping/Dick Fieler Racing entry.
"I think it was a combination of us losing a little bit and (Jimmy) gaining a bit," said Santos, who led the first 18 laps. "We got a little bit tight, but those guys were really, really good tonight. Jimmy is on top of his game right now. They're the guys to beat ... so we're just going to go home, work a little bit harder and hopefully come back tomorrow night and try to finish one spot better."
Two-time Little 500 champion Jacob Wilson completed the podium in third, followed by Jeff Bloom and Johnny Petrozelle.
2015 Must See Racing Rookie of the Year Anthony McCune pulled double-duty on Friday night, subbing for Sam Hatfield in the USAC Eastern Midget feature in addition to driving his winged 410ci sprint car.
The younger McCune, Jimmy's nephew, finished third in the Eastern Midget race and ran sixth in the Must See Racing feature, coming one spot shy of duplicating his career-best mark from 2014 at Salem.
In qualifying, Johnny Bridges defended his Anderson Motor Speedway track record for the second-straight year with a lap of 13.225 seconds (102.079 mph) around the three-eighths-mile oval, earning $100 in qualifying bonus money for his efforts.
Tom Jewell and Jimmy McCune won their respective 10-lap heat races, also collecting $100 in bonus money for their preliminary efforts.
Friday night's event served as the season-opening event for both the Must See Racing North and Must See Racing South divisions, paying championship points separately towards both series.
The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series continues its 2017 season on April 22, with round two of the Southern Shootout at North Carolina's Hickory Motor Speedway.
RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Southern Shootout I; Anderson Motor Speedway; April 21, 2017
Engine Pro A-Feature (50 laps): 1. #88 – Jimmy McCune ; 2. #22A – Bobby Santos III ; 3. #07W – Jacob Wilson ; 4. #26 – Jeff Bloom ; 5. #59III – Johnny Petrozelle ; 6. #8 – Anthony McCune ; 7. #07 – Johnny Bridges ; 8. #75C – Jerry Caryer ; 9. #7 – Tom Jewell ; 10. #72S – Joe Speakman ; 11. #4L – Anthony Linkenhoker ; 12. #4B – Bronzie Lawson IV ; 13. #4X – Bronzie Lawson III ; 14. #33 – Joe Larkin  (DNS).
Lap Leaders: Santos 1-18, J. McCune 19-50.
Hard Charger: Jimmy McCune (+4)
Time Trials: 1. #07 – Johnny Bridges, 13.225; 2. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 13.249; 3. #59III – Johnny Petrozelle, 13.610; 4. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 13.690; 5. #07W – Jacob Wilson, 13.775; 6. #22A – Bobby Santos III, 13.821; 7. #75C – Jerry Caryer, 13.891; 8. #8 – Anthony McCune, 13.956; 9. #72S – Joe Speakman, 14.206; 10. #7 – Tom Jewell, 14.487; 11. #4B – Bronzie Lawson IV, 14.510; 12. #4L – Anthony Linkenhoker, 14.874; 13. #33 – Joe Larkin, 15.431; 14. #4X – Bronzie Lawson III, 15.589.
Clevite Heat #1 (10 laps, all transfer): 1. Tom Jewell , 2. Anthony McCune , 3. Bronzie Lawson IV , 4. Joe Speakman , 5. Anthony Linkenhoker , 6. Joe Larkin , 7. Bronzie Lawson III .
Mahle Heat #2 (10 laps, all transfer): 1. Jimmy McCune , 2. Jeff Bloom , 3. Johnny Bridges , 4. Jacob Wilson , 5. Bobby Santos III , 6. Jerry Caryer , 7. Johnny Petrozelle III .
Count Down to the Carolinas - Jacob Wilson
Count Down to the Carolinas - Ryan Litt
- Count Down to the Carolinas - Johnny Petrozelle
- Must See Racing Welcomes REV-X
- Count Down to the Carolinas - Johnny Bridges
- 2017 Southern Shootout Field Continues to Grow
- Count Down to the Carolinas - Brian Gerstner
- 2017 April 3 - TV Alert
- Count Down to the Carolinas 2017 - Jerry Caryer
- 2017 Count Down to the Carolinas - Jeff Bloom
- 2017 Count Down to the Carolinas - Jimmy McCune
- Count Down to the Carolinas 2017 - Bobby Santos III