October 2019 TV Alert
Jimmy McCune Gets One For The Thumb With Fifth Must See Racing Crown
ALTAMAHAW, N.C. – Jimmy McCune may not come to the race track to run second, but his runner-up finish during Saturday’s Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro finale did carry plenty of weight.
By outrunning his chief rival, Canadian Ryan Litt, during both halves of a two-day weekend at Ace Speedway, McCune was able to secure his record-extending fifth Must See Racing championship.
A Friday night victory at the four-tenths-mile oval, combined with his second-place finish Saturday afternoon, was enough to give McCune the crown by an unofficial final margin of 35 points.
In contrast, Litt finished fourth and third in the two season-ending features.
Jimmy McCune took down his fifth Must See Racing points championship on Saturday at Ace Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)
McCune has won every Must See Racing championship from 2015 through 2019, an impressive feat that wasn’t lost on him after all the racing finally died down on Saturday evening.
“Five straight, that’s pretty cool,” he said. “We work our tails off as a team for moments like these.”
McCune’s season was one that was a roller-coaster ride from the very beginning, after an engine failure prior to the second feature of the year at Birch Run (Mich.) Speedway relegated him to seventh in points – the first time since 2015 that McCune had found himself anywhere else other than the top spot.
That gave the whole season a bit of a different feel to it, as instead of defending his position at the head of the points order, McCune was playing from behind almost all year long.
“It was different, yeah, but we tried not to focus on that too much and just stuck to our guns of going out and trying to win every race every time we went to the track,” McCune noted. “We know that if we do that, then the points more often than not take care of themselves, and you see what happened.”
And just as McCune said, things began to look up for him as others around him faltered late.
Charlie Schultz was forced out of the Sandusky Speedway feature in August with electrical issues, McCune’s nephew Anthony lost an engine in the penultimate round at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway and Litt just simply couldn’t match McCune’s torrid pace of podium finishes when it mattered most.
All of that added together to give Jimmy McCune the points lead back with three races left on the table, and he held it thereafter to secure the big trophy and a seat at the head table during the series’ annual awards banquet in Coldwater, Mich., in January.
But even as he came into the Carolinas finally back in a familiar position, McCune refused to think about the prospect of adding another championship to his collection.
“If you let that get into your head, you’re already in trouble; you want to stay focused on the next race,” he said. “We didn’t think about points. Hell, I haven’t thought about points for five years. I just go out, try to collect trophies and we’ve been fortunate enough to turn those into five titles as a team.”
And in the end, that plan worked out – just as it had four times before for the Must See Racing kingpin.
“Just like that, it’s over. A season’s done and we got the championship,” McCune said. “It’s no big deal. I’d rather have had that win … but Litt had the balls to race us from the back and they didn’t. It’s just a shame, man. I would have loved to race Brian from the back, like we should have, but it happens.
“Hats off to all my guys. They’ve worked their asses off all year,” he continued. “To come back from not even starting a race earlier in the season and be standing on the frontstretch with a championship, a win and a second … that’s pretty damn cool in my book.”
McCune will be honored for his championship season during the Must See Racing Awards Banquet in Coldwater, Mich., on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Gerster Aces Must See Racing Season Finale
ALTAMAHAW, N.C. – Brian Gerster may not have had a dog in the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro points race, but he still wanted to fire one final shot in the season finale.
Gerster did just that on Saturday evening, roaring from third to the lead in three corners and going wire-to-wire to win the second half of the Must See Racing Championship at Ace Speedway.
Brian Gerster takes the checkered flag to win Saturday at Ace Speedway. (Blake Harris photo)
A qualifying effort of sixth combined with an eight-car invert put Gerster on the inside of the second row for the 40-lap feature, and Gerster capitalized on that position from the moment the green flag waved.
While front-row combatants Adam Biltz and Johnny Petrozelle raced side-by-side for the first half of the opening lap, Gerster laid in wait just behind before pitching his Dick Myers Racing No. 50m to the apron in turn three and sweeping around both Biltz and Petrozelle in one move off the fourth corner.
From there, the lead – and the win – was decided, though it didn’t come without a fight from all-time series wins leader Jimmy McCune.
McCune, who qualified second and started seventh in the main, raced his way to the runner-up spot by the fifth rotation and gave chase to Gerster’s red-and-yellow mount from then on. He cut a lead of more than three seconds down to just a few car lengths in traffic, but couldn’t mount a charge in the end.
That left Gerster to drive home to his 23rd career Must See Racing victory, second only to McCune, as well as his second of the season following a late-August triumph at Michigan’s Owosso Speedway.
It was also a reversal of the top-two spots from Friday night’s feature at Ace.
Brian Gerster poses in victory lane at Ace Speedway. (Blake Harris photo)
“That may have looked easy, but I can promise you that whole 40 laps was tense,” noted Gerster. “The 88 car (McCune) is the guy to beat right now, and he had track position on his side last night to where we couldn’t do anything with him. Fortunately things worked out in our favor tonight.
“I’ve got to think Dick Myers for a great race car; it’s a lot of fun to wrap up the season and win a race. We won one earlier in the year. We didn’t run the winged car a lot, but hopefully we’ll change that a bit and see everyone out here again next year.”
Though it wasn’t mathematically assured entering the day, McCune still needed a solid performance to wrap up his fifth consecutive series championship. Following qualifying, all the Toledo, Ohio native needed to do was start the feature to clinch the crown, which he did with ease in his familiar No. 88.
That wasn’t enough for McCune, though. He wanted to win – and came up just short of that goal.
“It’s cool to be here celebrating another title, but I wanted to be over there where he (Gerster) is,” noted McCune. “I just wish we could have raced him heads-up from the back instead of him starting third. I think our cars were pretty even and it would have been fun. Traffic was just ugly at the end.
“Oh well, it is what it is. We’ll take a win, a second and the title and come back for more next year.”
Canadian Ryan Litt completed the podium and finished second in the final standings to McCune in his first full-fledged effort at the Must See Racing title in several years.
Litt said that one of his few disappointments on the year was not closing a feature victory, but that he’s motivated to try and get one step higher – both in races and in points – next season.
“We were close, but just could never seal the deal. Jimmy and those guys were really good all season long,” said Litt. “This is motivation though, for sure, and we’ll look to be back full time to try again.”
Joe Liguori and Charlie Schultz completed the top five. Only five cars finished on the lead lap Saturday.
Of note, Johnny Petrozelle concluded car owner Mike Blake’s 50th season in sprint car racing with a sixth-place result in Blake’s iconic orange No. 81, which donned gold-leaf numbers for the whole year.
It was Blake’s best finish by any driver all season long, a strong note to end on.
McCune and the rest of the top contenders will be honored for their achievements during the 2019 Must See Racing championship banquet, scheduled for Jan. 18, 2020 in Coldwater, Mich.
Engine Pro Feature (40 laps): 1. #50m – Brian Gerster (3), 2. #88 – Jimmy McCune (7), 3. #07 – Ryan Litt (8), 4. #13 – Joe Liguori (6), 5. #9s – Charlie Schultz (5), 6. #81 – Johnny Petrozelle III (2), 7. #75c – Jerry Caryer (10), 8. #26 – Jeff Bloom (4), 9. #72s – Joe Speakman (9), 10. #85 – Rick Holley (12), 11. #51 – Joshua Sexton (11), 12. #32 – Todd McQuillen (16), 13. #4 – Anthony Linkenhoker (13), 14. #15 – Tim Henthorne (14), 15. #74 – Ivan Shaver (15), 16. #8a – Adam Biltz (1).
Lap Leader(s): Brian Gerster 1-40.
Hard Charger: #88 – Jimmy McCune (+5)
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Litt Rebounds With Saturday Fast Time At Ace
ALTAMAHAW, N.C. - Ryan Litt did what he could in Must See Racing Sprint Car Series qualifying on Saturday afternoon at Ace Speedway, but it wasn't enough to keep Jimmy McCune from winning the war.
Litt powered to the fastest time of the weekend at the four-tenths-mile oval, a blistering clip of 13.430 seconds (107.223 mph) with his No. 07 Xtreme Metal Worx/BS&B Radiator entry, earning 10 points toward his season total in a last-ditch effort to dethrone McCune.
Ryan Litt at speed at Ace Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)
However, McCune effectively clinched the title by timing in second to Litt, a lap of 13.689 seconds (105.194 mph) marking his best in the No. 88 Abe's Auto Parts/Rev-X Oil mount.
The nine points that McCune earned for his run give him a virtually-unassailable 31-point lead over Litt entering the season-closing 40-lap feature on Saturday afternoon.
Barring a mechanical failure that would prevent the Toledo, Ohio, veteran from starting the main event, once McCune takes the green flag, he'll lock up his fifth straight series title.
Joe Liguori timed in third-quick, followed by Charlie Schultz and National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jeff Bloom. Series qualifying kingpin Brian Gerster was sixth on the time sheets.
Johnny Petrozelle, Adam Biltz, Joe Speakman and Jerry Caryer completed the top 10.
Racing at Ace Speedway kicks off at 2 p.m. ET, co-headlined by the 140-lap Rodney Cook Classic for late model stock cars and the title tilt for the Must See Racing sprint cars.
QUALIFYING RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Ace Speedway; Oct. 19, 2019
- #07 - Ryan Litt, 13.430 seconds
- #88 - Jimmy McCune, 13.689 seconds
- #13 - Joe Liguori, 13.758 seconds
- #9s - Charlie Schultz, 13.759 seconds
- #26 - Jeff Bloom, 13.850 seconds
- #50m - Brian Gerster, 13.870 seconds
- #81 - Johnny Petrozelle III, 14.105 seconds
- #8a - Adam Biltz, 14.139 seconds
- #72s - Joe Speakman, 14.147 seconds
- #75c - Jerry Caryer, 14.296 seconds
- #51 - Joshua Sexton, 15.143 seconds
- #85 - Rick Holley, 15.201 seconds
- #4L - Anthony Linkenhoker, 15.371 seconds
- #15 - Tim Henthorne, 15.786 seconds
- #74 - Ivan Shaver, 15.882 seconds
- #32 - Todd McQuillen, 17.252 seconds
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
- McCune Denies Gerster In Last-Lap Ace Thriller
- It's Another Must See Racing Fast Time For Brian Gerster
- Gerster Paces Friday Must See Practice At Ace
- 2019 Champions Awards Banquet
- Must See Championships Coming To Ace On Oct. 18-19
- 2019 Must See Championship
- Must See Sprint At Rockford Stopped By Weather
- Schultz Gunning For MSR Redemption At Rockford
- Must See Racing Honoring Late Series Flagman At Rockford
- Santos Romps To Must See Glory At Jennerstown