Blonde Snaps Two Year MSR Qualifying Drought At Berlin
MARNE, Mich. – Former Berlin Raceway winner Jason Blonde raced to the top of the speed charts during Hamilton Trucking Time Trials for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series on Saturday evening, becoming the eighth different fast qualifier in 11 races this season.
Blonde, who won at the seven-sixteenths-mile oval in May of 2017, turned a lap of 13.286 seconds (118.546 mph) with the No. 42 Bingham Farms/Hamilton Trucking/Dowker Engines sprinter to notch his sixth-career fast time and first since July 2, 2016 at Owosso Speedway.
"It feels good to roll off the trailer and be fast here, but we know that's only part of the battle," said Blonde. "This is a tricky race track and what you need to be quick in the feature isn't always what it takes to be fast in qualifying. Hopefully we can adjust the right way and be up there when it counts later on tonight."
Jimmy McCune, who is closing in on securing his fourth-consecutive series championship, timed in second-fastest with a lap of 13.298 seconds (118.439 mph) in the No. 88 Abe's Auto Parts/B&B Machinery Movers/Rev-X Oil machine, just .013 of a second off Blonde's pole mark.
Smoking the tires all the way through turns three and four on both laps, Charlie Schultz followed in third (13.350/117.978) for his best-ever qualifying effort with the series in his second full-time season.
Former NASCAR Modified champion Bobby Santos III, who was fastest during practice earlier in the day, faded to fourth (13.465/116.970) in time trials ahead of Ike Beasley.
Teddy Alberts, Christian Koehler, Doug Dietsch, Jerry Caryer and Tom Jewell completed the top 10.
Santos and Koehler both discovered engine issues after bringing their cars back to the pit area. Santos is a scratch for the rest of the night, while Koehler will drop to the rear of the starting grid for the feature.
Back to School Night at Berlin Raceway, featuring the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series, is scheduled to get the green flag at 6:30 p.m.
QUALIFYING RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Berlin Raceway; Aug. 18, 2018
1. #42 – Jason Blonde, 13.286
2. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 13.298
3. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 13.350
4. #22a – Bobby Santos, 13.465
5. #97 – Ike Beasley, 13.573
6. #44 – Teddy Alberts, 13.668
7. #10k – Christian Koehler, 13.803
8. #0 – Doug Dietsch, 13.814
9. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 14.093
10. #7 – Tom Jewell, 14.117
11. #8a – Adam Biltz, 14.376
12. #6k – Kyle Feeney, 14.685
13. #88n – Frank Neill, 14.727
14. #11g – Tom Geren, 15.303
15. #81 – Sondi Eden, 15.351
16. #90 – Tom Nichols, 16.382
17. #13 – HD Carter, 18.136
18. #8 – Anthony McCune, NT
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Santos Sweeps Must See Practice At Berlin
MARNE, Mich. – After winning his first Must See Racing Sprint Car Series event earlier in the summer, Bobby Santos III hasn't slowed down one bit.
In fact, he's only continued to improve as he pursues a second-career series victory.
Santos swept both practice sessions for Back to School Night at the seven-sixteenths-mile oval on Saturday afternoon, turning the fastest lap of the day in the second round at 13.352 seconds (117.960 mph) with the No. 22a Mayhew Tools sprinter for long-time car owner Dick Fieler.
The 2010 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion is a three-time fast qualifier with Must See Racing at Berlin, most recently sweeping the two qualifying sessions held there in 2017.
Jimmy McCune ended the afternoon second-quick on the overall time sheets, landing in the runner-up position in both sessions. His best time was 13.656 seconds (115.334 mph) in the No. 88 Abe's Auto Parts/B&B Machinery Movers/Rev-X Oil machine, set during final practice.
Litchfield, Mich., veteran Jason Blonde was third-fastest (13.854/113.686) in the No. 42 Bingham Farms/Hamilton Trucking machine. Blonde won with Must See Racing at Berlin in May of 2017.
Fellow Michigan natives Ike Beasley (13.979/112.669) and Doug Dietsch (13.983/112.637) completed the Fast Five.
Anthony McCune was sixth-quick, followed by Charlie Schultz, Teddy Alberts, Jerry Caryer and Christian Koehler.
Sondi Eden, making her return to Must See Racing competition for the first time in several years, was 14th fastest in practice with the No. 81 Mike Blake-owned machine.
Qualifying for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series kicks off at 5:15 p.m.
PRACTICE RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Berlin Raceway; Aug. 18, 2018
1. #22a – Bobby Santos, 13.352
2. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 13.656
3. #42 – Jason Blonde, 13.854
4. #97 – Ike Beasley, 13.979
5. #0 – Doug Dietsch, 13.983
6. #8 – Anthony McCune, 14.055
7. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 14.195
8. #44 – Teddy Alberts, 14.249
9. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 14.342
10. #10k – Christian Koehler, 14.412
11. #6k – Kevin Feeney, 14.745
12. #7 – Tom Jewell, 14.801
13. #8a – Adam Biltz, 14.972
14. #81 – Sondi Eden, 15.218
15. #88n – Frank Neill, 15.349
16. #11g – Tom Geren, 15.873
17. #90 – Tom Nichols, 16.455
18. #13 – HD Carter, NT 19.650
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Christian Koehler Carrying Momentum Into MSR Return To Berlin
HOLLY, Mich. – After a career showing at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway last weekend, Must See Racing Sprint Car Series young gun Christian Koehler hopes to carry his positive momentum into this weekend's Engine Pro Fast Car Dash at Berlin Raceway.
The series' return to Berlin marks the 10th race of the season and Koehler comes to the seven-sixteenths-mile oval fresh off the strongest outing of his career.
The third-generation driver and grandson of former Hoosier Outlaw Sprint Series champion Ron Koehler started ninth but ran his way up through the field during the first half of the 50-lap feature at Anderson. He was running fourth when overheating problems forced him to retire his No. 10k sprinter.
Despite the disappointment of not finishing after such an increase in speed with his team, Koehler has been looking at the positives and took away plenty of notes from what he called "a career day."
"Man, to have the kind of run going that we had going and not be able to close it out was a real bummer, but I'm so proud of the effort our team put in and the speed we showed at Anderson," said Christian Koehler. "The engine just got hot on us. We had to richen it up a little bit for the feature anyways, because we saw it running a little warm during the heat (race) and we thought we could get away with it. It just couldn't quite make it all 50 laps.
"It felt great to show everyone what I'm really capable of tonight," he added. "I've had some good luck, but I've had a lot of bad luck over the past few years and just haven't felt like we've gotten the breaks we've needed. That's racing though, and sometimes things don't go your way. They certainly were going our way for a while tonight, and that felt really good while it lasted out there."
Koehler said Saturday's race at Anderson was motivation for him to keep pushing forward.
"I'm glad we still had a car in one piece last weekend to be able to bring to Berlin on Saturday, because I feel like we can be really strong there and contend for another good day," Koehler noted. "We're motivated and we're hungry, so we'll go out and see what we can do this weekend and hopefully surprise a few more people."
Three-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune leads the Must See Racing field into Berlin, having won the series' most recent appearance there in June for his first-career victory at the track. He carries a lead of more than 50 points on nephew Anthony coming into the Fast Car Dash.
Other contenders expected to challenge for the win include Charlie Schultz, Adam Biltz and Tom Jewell, who ran second to Jimmy McCune in June after leading the first 23 laps of the feature and is seeking his first Must See Racing victory.
The event will again feature the Fast Car Dash format, which pits the top eight qualifiers against one another in a fully-inverted, eight-lap heat race that pays points towards a prize fund at the end of the season.
In addition, series officials have confirmed that the planned two-day season finale at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Nov. 16-17, has been cancelled.
The 2018 season will now conclude with the $4,000-to-win, $700-to-start David D. Mateer Tribute presented by American Racer at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway on Sept. 15.
For more information on Must See Racing, visit the series website at www.mustseeracing.com.
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Engine Pro Fast Car Dash - Saturday, August 18th
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