Santos Romps To Must See Glory At Jennerstown
JENNERSTOWN, Pa. – Bobby Santos left Jennerstown Speedway frustrated one year ago, vowing to come back stronger after being defeated by Jimmy McCune in the inaugural American Racer David D. Mateer Memorial.
Santos did just that on Saturday night, putting on a driving clinic to capture the second running of the event and pick up a victory in his first Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro start of the season.
Bobby Santos hoists the winner's check alongside his crew Saturday night at Jennerstown Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)
After being squelched by rain and a call into action as a substitute driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for much of the summer, Santos came back to asphalt sprint car racing at the lightning-fast half-mile and proved quickly he hasn't lost his touch at driving the methanol-fueled beasts.
Santos started fourth, but raced his way to the lead by the eighth revolution and set sail after that. He had two seconds in hand by lap 10 and when the lone caution of the race waved with five to go, the Franklin, Mass., veteran was more than eight seconds clear of his nearest pursuer.
Not even the ensuing restart could slow Santos down. He drove away from second-running Ryan Litt to take the checkered flag in front by 1.815 seconds at the finish.
Saturday night's romp, worth $4,000, was the second Must See Racing victory of Santos' career.
"These guys did an awesome job today. We made all the right adjustments and it was a lot of fun," said Santos in victory lane. "It's an honor to win this event tonight, with the caliber of field and the heavy hitters that were here. None of these wins are ever easy, but this one was definitely tough.
"Last year, we just weren't good enough, and we had to make a couple of adjustments on it compared to what we had last year," Santos added. "We continued to work on it throughout the day today. I was a little rusty through the first two practices with these things, just because I haven't done it much this year, but my dad and everybody gave me what I needed and we put a good car where it belonged."
The only incident in the 30-lap feature came when Joshua Sexton spun off the second corner and came to a stop on the backstretch, slowing the pace with 25 laps complete and setting up the final restart.
Bobby Santos at speed on Saturday at Jennerstown Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)
Litt, who drove past early leader Jason Blonde with 12 to go to secure the runner-up spot, said afterward that he simply had nothing for Santos as the laps wound down.
"Man, I knew that clean air would play a big role at a really fast tracks like this one, so once he got out there, I knew it wasn't going to be easy," said Litt. "My only shot was getting into turn one (on the final restart) and I tried him there and I was just sliding all over the place, whereas he had all the grip.
"This was a good run for us, but I just really want to win one of these things. I'm tired of being second."
New all-time track record holder Brian Gerster, who turned a lap of 15.198 seconds in qualifying and had to start eighth due to the inversion, completed the podium in the Dick Myers Racing No. 50m.
"We didn't have anything for Bobby, and I'm not sure anyone else did either," Gerster admitted. "We wound up just being a little bit too free there in the feature. Bobby's a hell of a race car driver. I mean, pavement fans know that he can drive anything and he's real good, so it's not really anything to hang your head about when you get beat by Santos.
"We don't like running third, but we had a pretty good start," Gerster added. "I thought we were going to have a shot at getting up there and racing with those guys, but Bobby got away from us a little bit late and I traded spots in there one time. We just weren't quite good enough to get the job done."
Charlie Schultz crossed the line fourth ahead of Jimmy McCune, with Blonde coming home sixth as the final car on the lead lap after pacing the first seven rotations around the Pennsylvania speed plant.
Polesitter Kevin Feeney finished eighth, one lap behind the frontrunners.
Anthony McCune lost the series point lead after fuel flow issues that he and his No. 8 team battled all afternoon prevented him from taking the green flag in Saturday night's 30-lap feature.
Jimmy McCune, who came into the day 10 points back of his nephew, assumed command of the standings by virtue of his quiet fifth-place finish.
While only Sexton's spin hampered the main event, two major incidents did mar heat-race action.
In the first heat, a broken right-front wheel center on the No. 7 of Tom Jewell sent the Michigan veteran hard into the outside wall at full speed in turns three and four working lap two. Jewell's car grinded to a halt high off the exit of the fourth corner, and he climbed from his car and walked back to the pit area.
The second heat saw Bobby Komisarski's No. 17 grenade a right-rear tire on the final lap of the heat in turn one. Komisarski tagged the outside wall and spun to a stop, done for the night, but was unhurt.
The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series season continues Sept. 28-29 at Rockford (Ill.) Speedway.
RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Jennerstown Speedway; Sept. 14, 2019
Hamilton Trucking Time Trials (best of two laps): 1. #50m – Brian Gerster, 15.198 (NTR); 2. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 15.421; 3. #07L – Ryan Litt, 15.431; 4. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 15.640; 5. #22a – Bobby Santos III, 15.653; 6. #13 – Joe Liguori, 15.725; 7. #42 – Jason Blonde, 15.738; 8. #8 – Anthony McCune, 15.915; 9. #6k – Kevin Feeney, 16.107; 10. #10k – Christian Koehler, 16.139; 11. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 16.177; 12. #7 – Tom Jewell, 16.245; 13. #8a – Adam Biltz, 16.400; 14. #17 – Bobby Komisarski, 16.770; 15. #81 – Johnny Petrozelle III, 16.783; 16. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 16.813; 17. #51 – Joshua Sexton, 18.094; 18. #15 – Tim Henthorne, 18.324; 19. #85 – Rick Holley, 18.387; 20. #32 – Todd McQuillen, 19.087; 21. #4 – Anthony Linkenhoker, 19.626; 22. #74 – Ivan Shaver, 20.430.
Abe's Auto Parts Heat #1 (8 laps, all transfer): 1. Ryan Litt , 2. Kevin Feeney , 3. Joe Liguori , 4. Johnny Petrozelle III , 5. Rick Holley , 6. Tim Henthorne , 7. Ivan Shaver , 8. Tom Jewell .
Abe's Auto Parts Heat #2 (8 laps, all transfer): 1. Bobby Santos III , 2. Jeff Bloom , 3. Charlie Schultz , 4. Anthony McCune , 5. Bobby Komisarski , 6. Joshua Sexton , 7. Todd McQuillen . (2:10.331)
Abe's Auto Parts Heat #3 (8 laps, all transfer): 1. Adam Biltz , 2. Jimmy McCune , 3. Brian Gerster , 4. Jerry Caryer , 5. Christian Koehler , 6. Jason Blonde , 7. Anthony Linkenhoker . (2:19.055)
David D. Mateer Memorial A-Feature (40 laps): 1. #22a – Bobby Santos III , 2. #07L – Ryan Litt , 3. #50m – Brian Gerster , 4. #9s – Charlie Schultz , 5. #88 – Jimmy McCune , 6. #42 – Jason Blonde , 7. #13 – Joe Liguori , 8. #6k – Kevin Feeney , 9. #8a – Adam Biltz , 10. #10k – Christian Koehler , 11. #26 – Jeff Bloom , 12. #75c – Jerry Caryer , 13. #81 – Johnny Petrozelle III , 14. #85 – Rick Holley , 15. #51s – Joshua Sexton , 16. #15 – Tim Henthorne , 17. #74 – Ivan Shaver , 18. #4L – Anthony Linkenhoker , 19. #32 – Todd McQuillen , 20. #8 – Anthony McCune (DNS), 21. #7 – Tom Jewell (DNS), 22. #17 – Bobby Komisarski (DNS).
Lap Leader(s): Jason Blonde 1-7, Bobby Santos III 8-30.
Hard Charger: #50m – Brian Gerster (+5)
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Brian Gerster Resets Jennerstown Track Record
JENNERSTOWN, Pa. – Brian Gerster smashed the sprint car track record at Jennerstown Speedway on Saturday afternoon during qualifying for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series David D. Mateer Memorial.
Brian Gerster at speed Saturday during qualifying at Jennerstown Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)
Gerster toured the lightning-fast, .522-mile oval in 15.198 seconds (123.648 mph) to top a 22-car field with his familiar No. 50m RAM Engineering Midwest-backed, Dick Myers Racing-prepared entry.
The top qualifying effort, Gerster's third of the season, was the 30th of his Must See Racing career and eclipsed the 14-year-old track record of 15.32 seconds set by Jeff Bloom back on Aug. 13, 2005.
It also came within a whisker of the all-time mark of 15.121 seconds (124.277 mph), which was posted by Dave Shullick Jr. in 2015 during ISMA Supermodified Series competition.
The scary thing for the rest of the field? Gerster was lamenting the lap after climbing from his car, saying that he felt he could have gone even quicker had it not been
"We missed it a little bit, actually. I made a mistake with the wing placement and it cost us, so we could've had that absolute track record if the driver hadn't screwed up," noted Gerster. "They should not leave adjustments in there for me. I should just have the steering wheel and pedals. But the car was still good. It was fun to go fast time here. Now I'm open for a small or huge invert, one or the other.
"There's a lot of fast cars; we're good, but this'll be a place that's aero dependent and traffic will be tough and everything like that," Gerster added. "We want to be fast all night, so there's three things we've got to do well, and that's qualifying, heat racing and the feature. The first one's over, but the feature is where the big money is at.
"That's where we want to be the best."
Brian Gerster (right) poses with Must See Racing President Jim Hanks (center) and a representative from American Racer Tires. (Jacob Seelman photo)
Gerster earned a $500 bonus for topping qualifying courtesy of American Racer Tires, the presenting sponsor of Saturday night's racing program at the Jennerstown speed plant.
Charlie Schultz, who finished third during last year's inaugural Must See Racing stop at Jennerstown, qualified second overall with a lap of 15.421 seconds (121.860 mph) in his John Reiser-owned No. 9s.
Canadian Ryan Litt was third on the speed charts (15.431/121.781) after pacing one of the two practice sessions held earlier in the day. Defending Jennerstown winner Jimmy McCune and past NASCAR modified champion Bobby Santos III followed in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Joe Liguori qualified sixth-quickest, ahead of recent Berlin Raceway winner Jason Blonde, current points leader Anthony McCune, Kevin Feeney and Christian Koehler.
Former track record holder Bloom was 11th fastest (16.177116.165) during two-lap qualifications.
Racing action at Jennerstown Speedway kicks off just after 6 p.m. local time.
QUALIFYING RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Jennerstown Speedway; Sept. 14, 2019
1. #50m – Brian Gerster, 15.198 (NTR); 2. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 15.421; 3. #07L – Ryan Litt, 15.431; 4. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 15.640; 5. #22a – Bobby Santos III, 15.653; 6. #13 – Joe Liguori, 15.725; 7. #42 – Jason Blonde, 15.738; 8. #8 – Anthony McCune, 15.915; 9. #6k – Kevin Feeney, 16.107; 10. #10k – Christian Koehler, 16.139; 11. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 16.177; 12. #7 – Tom Jewell, 16.245; 13. #8a – Adam Biltz, 16.400; 14. #17 – Bobby Komisarski, 16.770; 15. #81 – Johnny Petrozelle III, 16.783; 16. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 16.813; 17. #51 – Joshua Sexton, 18.094; 18. #15 – Tim Henthorne, 18.324; 19. #85 – Rick Holley, 18.387; 20. #32 – Todd McQuillen, 19.087; 21. #4 – Anthony Linkenhoker, 19.626; 22. #74 – Ivan Shaver, 20.430.
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Litt & Gerster Pace MSR Practices In Pennsylvania
JENNERSTOWN, Pa. – Ryan Litt and Brian Gerster split a pair of Must See Racing Sprint Car Series practice sessions held under cloudy skies on Saturday afternoon at Jennerstown Speedway.
Ryan Litt led one of two practice sessions for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series at Jennerstown Speedway Saturday. (Jacob Seelman photo)
Litt topped the opening round at 16.095 seconds (116.757 mph) and was second in final practice, but it was Gerster who had the fastest lap overall with a time of 15.779 seconds (119.095 mph) in the familiar No. 50m Dick Myers Racing sprinter.
Litt's second-round time of 15.794 seconds (118.982 mph) was good enough for second on the combined speed charts, followed by four-time Must See Racing champion and reigning Jennerstown winner Jimmy McCune, whose final practice time of 16.106 seconds (116.677 mph) put him third.
Charlie Schultz and Bobby Santos completed the fast five in practice times.
Adam Biltz was sixth-quick, followed by Kevin Feeney, Jason Blonde, Tom Jewell and Anthony McCune.
Hamilton Trucking Time Trials for the Must See Racing sprint cars are slated for 3 p.m. local time.
PRACTICE RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Jennerstown Speedway; Sept. 14, 2019
- #50m – Brian Gerster, 15.779
2. #07L – Ryan Litt, 15.794
3. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 16.106
4. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 16.130
5. #22a – Bobby Santos, 16.156
6. #8a – Adam Biltz, 16.249
7. #6k – Kevin Feeney, 16.410
8. #42 – Jason Blonde, 16.443
9. #7 – Tom Jewell, 16.505
10. #8 – Anthony McCune, 16.534
11. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 16.580
12. #13 – Joe Liguori, 16.676
13. #81 – Johnny Petrozelle, 16.994
14. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 17.117
15. #17 – Bobby Komisarski, 17.123
16. #10k – Christian Koehler, 17.178
17. #85 – Rick Holley, 18.347
18. #15 – Tim Henthorne, 18.563
19. #51 – Joshua Sexton, 18.641
20. #32 – Todd McQuillen, 19.738
21. #4 – Anthony Linkenhoker, 20.036
22. #74 – Ivan Shaver, 22.321
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Christian Koehler captured a top-five finish with the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series at Berlin Raceway on Saturday
HOLLY, Mich. – Christian Koehler is hoping to convert the momentum of his recent career-best finish with the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro into even more success.
Koehler, a part-time competitor with the 410ci winged asphalt sprint car tour in recent years, grabbed a top-five result Saturday at Berlin Raceway, part of a consistent performance from start to finish.
Christian Koehler captured a top-five finish with the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series at Berlin Raceway on Saturday. (Jacob Seelman photo)
The South Bend, Ind., native qualified sixth, ran well in his heat race and then finished fifth in the 30-lap main event at the seven-sixteenths-mile oval, the first top-five finish of his Must See Racing career.
"It's definitely a good feeling," said Koehler of his top-five effort. "To come out here and build on the way that we ran last time, which was all right, but not quite where we want to be ... and to get up in the top five and be behind guys like Jimmy and Anthony (McCune) and Jason (Blonde) is just great for a team like ours. Heck, even Charlie Schultz was up there, and he was our feature winner last time we were here, so that tells you the competition level of this series that we were in the middle of all that.
"It feels good to be up there with that company and competing, so now hopefully we can try and get that first top three or maybe even that first feature win," Koehler added. "We're raising the bar."
Koehler noted that he felt the speed in his No. 10k sprinter from the moment he laid a tire onto the race track for qualifying.
"That qualifying lab was pretty impressive, but you know, I had to let off a little bit coming out of (turn) four and that hurt us," Koehler tipped. "Otherwise, we may have even been a little bit quicker, but we did a lot of things right and a lot of things we're proud of right now. This car definitely has been hooked up, and if we can get everything dialed in right where it needs to be, we have a chance to go for a win.
"But yes, from the start, that qualifying lap definitely gave us a lot of hope."
Koehler was among those who was able to navigate traffic well during the 30-lap Engine Pro Fast Car Dash feature event, staying on the lead lap for the entire distance and running as high as fourth before a late caution allowed Anthony McCune to rally past him on a green-white-checkered finish.
Still, however, Koehler was pleased with the overall effort of his family race team.
"It was a little bit crowded out there, but the slower cars did a good job of keeping it in one lane so that the faster cars could make it around them," Koehler said. "A few times, we did have a couple of close calls running up on the back of slower cars ... but that's just a learning process for me as our car gets quicker and I learn more about how to get through that lap traffic."
With one top-five finish in hand, Koehler's long-term goal is continued improvement.
"We're planning to be at the next race at Jennerstown Speedway, so hopefully everything goes good this Thursday when we run non-winged in the Anderson 125-lap event and then we can get the car set up for a winged race on Saturday and go out to Jennerstown and hopefully have another solid outing.
"The goal is to build on the last race and get another top five, if not better."
Koehler and the rest of the Must See Racing travelers, including four-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune, current series point leader Anthony McCune, Canadian hotshoe Ryan Litt, Ohio veterans Charlie Schultz and Adam Biltz, National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jeff Bloom and more will next test their skills during the second annual David D. Mateer Tribute Race, Sept. 14 at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway.
Additional heavy hitters expected to make the haul to Pennsylvania include recent Berlin winner Jason Blonde, all-time series fast qualifier and two-time champion Brian Gerster and Bobby Santos III, a former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist.
The lightning-quick half-mile oval is welcoming Must See Racing back for a second-straight season, after Jimmy McCune won the series' debut appearance last year to clinch his fourth championship.
Pit gates at Jennerstown open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with a one-hour sprint car practice session scheduled from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in the afternoon. Sprint car qualifying begins at 3 p.m., with opening ceremonies and feature racing beginning just before 6 p.m. local time.
The Super Cup Stock Car Series will co-headline the racing card alongside Must See Racing, with late models, street stocks, chargers, modifieds and 4-cylinders also in action at Jennerstown as well.
For more information on Must See Racing, visit www.mustseeracing.com.
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
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