Blonde Denies Litt In A Must-See Thriller At Birch Run
BIRCH RUN, Mich. – Jason Blonde used some late-race theatrics to end a two-year Must See Racing Sprint Car Series winless drought on Friday night at Birch Run Speedway and Event Center.
Blonde, who was a distant second to Ryan Litt for much of the 30-lap feature, got a breath of new life in the form of a caution flag with five laps to go – after rookie Bobby Komisarski spun in turn two.
Jason Blonde in action at Birch Run Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)
That set up a restart with Blonde on Litt's back bumper, and the home-state veteran took full advantage.
Blonde trailed Litt for a lap and a half before ducking to the inside off turn two on lap 28, powering past the Canadian in turn three and pulling away over the final two circuits for his sixth-career series win.
The victory ties Blonde for fifth all-time on the series win list with Troy DeCaire, who made his return to Must See Racing competition after a five-year absence on Friday night and finished fourth.
"Ryan was checked out tonight; if it wasn't for that yellow, I wouldn't have had a chance," noted Blonde. "I just have to thank this No. 42 crew, because we were really good in one hot lap session today, but in qualifying, we weren't that good and in our heat race, we were really bad. They just kept working on it, though, we threw the kitchen sink at it and it worked well enough to get here to victory lane tonight."
Litt was solid for the first 25 laps of the race, picking his way through traffic from sixth on the grid and taking the lead on the 10th round with a diving move around Charlie Schultz in turn two.
Once out front, Litt extended his advantage over the field to nearly five seconds despite slower traffic that hassled his No. 07 at times. However, Litt's attempt to take home the winner's plaque and his first Must See Racing victory since March of 2013 at Five Flags Speedway was foiled by the late yellow.
He nailed the final restart and opened a quick gap over Blonde, but Blonde quickly carved the deficit back down before making the race-defining pass entering turn three with three laps to go.
Blonde noted afterward that "it was simply a case of who was going to lift first, and I wasn't lifting."
Jason Blonde poses in victory lane after winning Friday night at Birch Run Speedway. (David Sink photo)
"My car started off really good. I was actually surprised I picked my way through there like I did. We just started to get loose, and I wasn't sure what we'd have after the caution," added Litt. "Jason's always really strong on the restarts, and I knew he would try and come at me. My car just wasn't good enough to hold him off at the end. It's a good points day, but all I know is I just lost and I hate losing."
Anthony McCune completed the podium after passing Schultz following the final restart. DeCaire, driving Wayne Stickney's No. 99, trailed the younger McCune in fourth and Schultz finished fifth.
Fast qualifier Brian Gerster, Joe Liguori, Tom Jewell, Kevin Feeney and Frank Neill completed the top 10.
Four-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune saw his hopes of a fifth-straight title take a huge blow when engine issues after his heat race Friday night left him unable to take the green flag.
His nephew, Anthony McCune, took over the top spot in points as a result of those mechanical woes.
The next race for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series will be Aug. 10 at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway.
RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Birch Run Speedway; July 5, 2019
Hamilton Trucking Time Trials (best of two laps): 1. #50m – Brian Gerster, 13.287; 2. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 13.580; 3. #99 – Troy DeCaire, 13.583; 4. #07L – Ryan Litt, 13.587; 5. #8 – Anthony McCune, 13.636; 6. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 13.698; 7. #42 – Jason Blonde, 13.716; 8. #97 – Ike Beasley, 13.777; 9. #13 – Joe Liguori, 13.842; 10. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 13.891; 11. #6k – Kevin Feeney, 13.905; 12. #7 – Tom Jewell, 13.924; 13. #88n – Frank Neill, 14.001; 14. #8a – Adam Biltz, 14.063; 15. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 14.202; 16. #72s – Joe Speakman, 14.357; 17. #44 – Teddy Alberts, 14.423; 18. #17 – Bobby Komisarski, 14.431; 19. #85 – Rick Holley, 15.277; 20. #00 – Joey Irwin, 15.453; 21. #32 – Todd McQuillen, 15.715; 22. #74 – Ivan Shaver, 16.635; 23. #13J – Jacob Dolinar, NT
Abe's Auto Parts Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Bobby Komisarski , 2. Teddy Alberts , 3. Jeff Bloom , 4. Rick Holley , 5. Joe Speakman , 6. Todd McQuillen , 7. Ivan Shaver , 8. Joey Irwin (DNS).
B&B Machinery Movers Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Tom Jewell , 2. Frank Neill , 3. Kevin Feeney , 4. Joe Liguori , 5. Jerry Caryer , 6. Adam Biltz , 7. Ike Beasley (DNS).
RAM Engineering Heat #3 (8 laps): 1. Anthony McCune , 2. Troy DeCaire , 3. Charlie Schultz , 4. Ryan Litt , 5. Jason Blonde , 6. Brian Gerster , 7. Jimmy McCune (DNS).
1-800-RADIATOR A-Feature (30 laps): 1. #42 – Jason Blonde , 2. #07L – Ryan Litt , 3. #8 – Anthony McCune , 4. #99 – Troy DeCaire , 5. #9s – Charlie Schultz , 6. #50m – Brian Gerster , 7. #13 – Joe Liguori , 8. #7 – Tom Jewell , 9. #6k – Kevin Feeney , 10. #88n – Frank Neill , 11. #75c – Jerry Caryer , 12. #26 – Jeff Bloom , 13. #8a – Adam Biltz , 14. #17 – Bobby Komisarski , 15. #44 – Teddy Alberts , 16. #85 – Rick Holley , 17. #00 – Joey Irwin , 18. #32 – Todd McQuillen , 19. #74 – Ivan Shaver , 20. #72s – Joe Speakman , 21. #88 – Jimmy McCune (DNS); 22. #97 – Ike Beasley (DNS); 23. #13J – Jacob Dolinar (DNS).
Lap Leader(s): Liguori 1-4, Schultz 5-9, Litt 10-27, Blonde 28-30.
Hard Charger: #07L – Ryan Litt (+4)
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Gerster Keeps Rolling With MSR Fast Time At Birch Run
Brian Gerster at speed at Birch Run Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)
BIRCH RUN, Mich. – Brian Gerster kept his success streak at Birch Run Speedway going by topping Hamilton Trucking Time Trials for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series on Friday evening.
Gerster, the winged asphalt sprint car tour's all-time qualifying leader, rolled to his 28th career MSR Fast Time Award with a lap of 13.287 seconds (108.377 mph) in the No. 50m Dick Myers Racing machine.
Four-time series champion Jimmy McCune followed Gerster in second with the familiar No. 88 Abe's Auto Parts/B&B Machinery Movers/Rev-X Oil sprinter at 13.580 seconds (106.038 mph), and returning two-time champion Troy DeCaire was third-quick at 13.583 seconds (106.015 mph).
Canadian Ryan Litt and former MSR rookie of the year Anthony McCune completed the top five.
Charlie Schultz qualified sixth, followed by Jason Blonde, Ike Beasley, Joe Liguori and Jerry Caryer.
Beasley scratched for the night following qualifying due to an engine issue with his No. 97 car.
Heat races for the Must See Racing sprint cars are scheduled for roughly 8:15 p.m. ET.
QUALIFYING RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Birch Run Speedway; July 5, 2019
1. #50m – Brian Gerster, 13.287
2. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 13.580
3. #99 – Troy DeCaire, 13.583
4. #07L – Ryan Litt, 13.587
5. #8 – Anthony McCune, 13.636
6. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 13.698
7. #42 – Jason Blonde, 13.716
8. #97 – Ike Beasley, 13.777
9. #13 – Joe Liguori, 13.842
10. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 13.891
11. #6k – Kevin Feeney, 13.905
12. #7 – Tom Jewell, 13.924
13. #88n – Frank Neill, 14.001
14. #8a – Adam Biltz, 14.063
15. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 14.202
16. #72s – Joe Speakman, 14.357
17. #44 – Teddy Alberts, 14.423
18. #17 – Bobby Komisarski, 14.431
19. #85 – Rick Holley, 15.277
20. #00 – Joey Irwin, 15.453
21. #32 – Todd McQuillen, 15.715
22. #74 – Ivan Shaver, 16.635
23. #13J – Jacob Dolinar, NT
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Gerster Sweeps Birch Run Must See Practice
Brian Gerster looks on at Birch Run Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)
BIRCH RUN, Mich. – Brian Gerster hasn't raced with the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro since last season, but he quickly proved Friday that he hasn't lost his touch.
Gerster swept practice for the Firecracker Night of Speed at Birch Run Speedway by leading both sprint car sessions, posting a fast lap of 13.711 seconds (105.025 mph) with the No. 50m RAM Engineering mount for Dick Myers Racing around the four-tenths-mile oval.
The two-time series champion is the defending Birch Run winner and seeking his first win of the year.
Home-state driver Jason Blonde was second-quick in the Tony Nosa-owned No. 42 at 13.779 seconds (104.507 mph), followed by four-time defending champion Jimmy McCune in third (13.796/104.378).
Troy DeCaire and Canadian Ryan Litt completed the Fast Five, ahead of Anthony McCune, Joe Liguori, Ike Beasley, Kevin Feeney and Charlie Schultz.
Three drivers – Beasley, rookie Jacob Dolinar and Joey Irwin – only ran the first round of practice on Friday afternoon.
Qualifying for the Must See Racing sprint cars is set for just after 7 p.m. ET.
PRACTICE RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Birch Run Speedway; July 5, 2019
1. #50m – Brian Gerster, 13.711
2. #42 – Jason Blonde, 13.779
3. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 13.796
4. #99 – Troy DeCaire, 13.801
5. #07L – Ryan Litt, 13.873
6. #8 – Anthony McCune, 14.001
7. #13 – Joe Liguori, 14.041
8. #97 – Ike Beasley, 14.076
9. #6k – Kevin Feeney, 14.114
10. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 14.165
11. #8a – Adam Biltz, 14.299
12. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 14.494
13. #7 – Tom Jewell, 14.546
14. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 14.550
15. #17 – Bobby Komisarski, 14.557
16. #88n – Frank Neill, 14.601
17. #44 – Teddy Alberts, 14.867
18. #72s – Joe Speakman, 15.536
19. #85 – Rick Holley, 15.628
20. #32 – Todd McQuillen, 15.815
21. #13 – Jacob Dolinar, 15.981
22. #00 – Joey Irwin, 16.208
23. #74 – Ivan Shaver, 17.134
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
DeCaire Targeting Must See Sprint At Birch Run
Troy DeCaire looks on during a recent asphalt sprint car start. (David Sink photo)
HOLLY, Mich. – Troy DeCaire will make his homecoming to the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro on Friday night when the tour visits Michigan's Birch Run Speedway and Event Center.
DeCaire, who won the first two points championships in series history, will drive for veteran owner Wayne Stickney in the iconic, white-and-orange No. 99s at the four-tenths-mile oval as he chases his seventh-career series victory and first since Berlin Raceway in August of 2014.
The Tampa, Fla., driver and current Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series point leader will fill in behind the wheel of Stickney's mount for Tyler Roahrig, who piloted the car during the season opener at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway in May but has late model obligations keeping him from racing at Birch Run.
It's a reunion of a pairing that has produced two victories in DeCaire's prior two starts for Stickney.
"I drove for Wayne in 2014 at Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway – the last race of the season, actually, when I was living up in the Midwest still – and we sat on the pole, won the race and he won the championship," DeCaire recalled. "We all said after that one that if we ever got the chance again, we'd get back together and go racing. He tried to have me come race for him a couple of times after that, but I was always busy doing stuff ... and it just seemed like we could never get things to quite line up how they needed to.
"Last year, he finally got me back up to run at Kalamazoo (Speedway) and Toledo (Speedway), and we won at Kalamazoo, but broke the motor and couldn't even start at Toledo," DeCaire added. "We figured now, we're undefeated in races that we've run together, so when he called me this year and offered me the races in his car that Tyler (Roahrig) couldn't run, I figured it was a no-brainer to go ahead and do it."
DeCaire is riding a six-race win streak in asphalt sprint car competition, encompassing three different regions of the United States, in his first season back regularly behind the wheel in several years. His day job consists of selling RVs in his home state of Florida.
"My current car owner in Florida kind of forced me back into racing, because I was pretty much content with taking time off, building shocks and not being so eaten up with racing," DeCaire noted. "We struggled at the start, but once we put a new motor in, things really took off and we started winning a bunch. I went out to Seattle and won a race out there, too. It's been a lot of fun lately.
"I don't ever go to the race track to run second. If I'm showing up, it's because I feel confident that I have a chance to win," said DeCaire. "We know we're capable; we've done it before. I just have to shake the rust off as far as running on the American Racer tires and see if I can't keep this run going."
To extend his run of success to seven-straight victories, DeCaire will have to top a field that includes Canadian star Ryan Litt, National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jeff Bloom and four-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune, who won the season opener on May 4 and has 30 Must See Racing victories.
With their decorated asphalt resumes, a battle between DeCaire and McCune at the front of the field at Birch Run appears imminent, and it's one that DeCaire is eagerly looking forward to.
"Jimmy knows how I race and I know how Jimmy races. He's obviously on a pretty good run himself, right now, but I think there's a lot of mutual respect between the two of us," explained DeCaire. "I'm looking forward to racing him, just like I am everyone else at the front of the field. It's going to be fun.
"I believe we can win," DeCaire noted. "It's all about seeing how it shakes out Friday, now."
In addition to the Must See Racing sprint cars, the Midwest Compact Touring Series, VROA modifieds and Birch Run Pure Stocks will also be on the racing card. The night will also include a fireworks show in celebration of the Fourth of July holiday.
Pit gates at Birch Run are scheduled to open at 2 p.m. on July 5, with hot laps starting at 4 p.m., qualifying beginning at 6 p.m. and racing kicking off promptly at 7:30 p.m.
A rain date of Saturday, July 6 has been established, if necessary.
For more information on Must See Racing, visit the series online at www.mustseeracing.com.
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
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