From Jacob Seelman
NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio – Saturday night, the McCune family completed the task they set out to accomplish two weeks ago in Must See Racing Sprint Car Series competition, finishing one-two in the Buckeye State Shootout at Midvale Speedway.
Leading the way was two-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune, who took the lead on lap 11 of the 40-lap main event and never looked back en route to his milestone 20th-career series win.
Though he was challenged the entire way by his 19-year-old nephew, Anthony McCune, Jimmy McCune held steadfast out front despite a deflating right-rear tire in the closing stages.
“Man, I could feel something was wrong because it was going all over the place on me,” said Jimmy McCune in victory lane. “It was really, really good there early on. When I went around (Anthony) on the outside, I had found something in that mid-to-upper groove that was really working. Then it got tight and once it picked up the push … I had to move back down to the bottom and it was just rough.”
“I kept blowing the corner in two once the tire started going away on me and it was all I could just to hang on to it. It was a good race … Anthony did a hell of a job. He’s gonna win one of these soon.”
With his win Saturday night, McCune is off to the best start by a single driver in series history, having won four of the first five races this season.
Only a single caution, at lap 12 after polesitter Bronzie Lawson IV spun off the exit of turn four, slowed the pace during an action-packed night of racing that saw winged sprint cars return to Midvale for the first time in 16 years.
Leading the first 10 laps from the outside pole, Anthony McCune kept his uncle in his sights the entire way after being passed for the lead, closing in mightily over the final 10 circuits as Jimmy McCune’s right-front tire began to give up.
However, despite the teenager’s best efforts, he was unable to work his way around Jimmy at the end, settling for a career-best second and crossing the twin checkers .303 of a second in arrears.
“I was trying to reel him in for most of the race, and by the time I finally got to him there just weren’t enough laps left to really set him up,” said Anthony McCune. “Lap traffic was really tough tonight … I have to work on getting better at working through it, but this was a good night. I’m really happy with this finish.”
Ryan Gillenwater completed the podium, making it a sweep of the top-three spots by drivers from Ohio.
“It’s great to be back in the Buckeye State and be able to race in front of all my home fans,” Gillenwater said. “This is a fun race track. It’s a racy place in traffic. I think if we’d had about 10 more laps … we were knocking on the door of the top two there, but just couldn’t find an opening. Hopefully we can come back here again in the future and make another go at it.”
Fast qualifier Brian Gerster finished fourth, ahead of National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jeff Bloom.
South African native Jacques Roos made his first Must See Racing appearance a largely successful one, winning his heat race and coming home sixth in the main event.
The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series returns to action on July 28 at Madison Int’l Speedway.
RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Midvale Speedway; July 15, 2017
1-800-RADIATOR A-Feature (40 laps): 1. #88 – Jimmy McCune ; 2. #8 – Anthony McCune ; 3. #45 – Ryan Gillenwater ; 4. #50m – Brian Gerster ; 5. #26 – Jeff Bloom ; 6. #Y0 – Jacques Roos ; 7. #9S – Charlie Schultz ; 8. #7 – Tom Jewell ; 9. #75c – Jerry Caryer ; 10. #72s – Joe Speakman ; 11. #4X – Bronzie Lawson III ; 12. #85 – Rick Holley ; 13. #28 – Todd McQuillen ; 14. #8A – Adam Biltz ; 15. #4B – Bronzie Lawson IV .
Abes Auto Parts Time Trials: 1. #50m – Brian Gerster, 12.497; 2. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 12.519; 3. #45 – Ryan Gillenwater, 12.556; 4. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 12.642; 5. #8 – Anthony McCune, 12.958; 6. #4B – Bronzie Lawson IV, 12.978; 7. #Y0 – Jacques Roos, 13.007; 8. #9S – Charlie Schultz, 13.009; 9. #72s – Joe Speakman, 13.326; 10. #7 – Tom Jewell, 13.351; 11. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 13.394; 12. #4X – Bronzie Lawson III, 13.514; 13. #85 – Rick Holley, 13.705; 14. #8A – Adam Biltz, 13.956; 15. #28 – Todd McQuillen, 13.995.
Abe’s Auto Parts Heat #1 (10 laps): 1. Jerry Caryer ; 2. Rick Holley ; 3. Bronzie Lawson III ; 4. Todd McQuillen ; 5. Adam Biltz .
B&B Machinery Movers Heat #2 (10 laps): 1. Jacques Roos ; 2. Joe Speakman ; 3. Charlie Schultz ; 4. Bronzie Lawson IV ; 5. Tom Jewell .
RAM Engineering Midwest Heat #3 (10 laps): 1. Ryan Gillenwater ; 2. Jimmy McCune ; 3. Brian Gerster ; 4. Anthony McCune ; 5. Jeff Bloom .