From Jacob Seelman
NEWTON, N.C. (November 18, 2017) — Just as they have all season long, the McCune family kicked off the final weekend of the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series season in dominating fashion, sweeping Friday’s twin 20-lap qualifying races for the MSR Championships at Hickory Motor Speedway.
19-year-old Anthony McCune led the entirety of the first qualifier from the outside pole, jumping out to a full second’s margin on the opening lap and polesitter Charlie Schultz waged an early scrap with Brian Gerster for the runner-up spot.
Gerster worked around Schultz on the second revolution but could never catch the younger McCune, who maintained a consistent 1.5-second gap throughout the remaining distance en route to the win, his first major triumph in Must See Racing competition.
Though Gerster and third-place finisher Aaron Pierce faded in the final laps, both veterans locked themselves into the top-six redraw by finishing on the podium of the qualifying race.
In the second qualifier, three-time series champion Jimmy McCune — Anthony’s uncle — assumed the top spot after polesitter and early leader Bronzie Lawson IV fell out with motor issues on lap nine, necessitating a caution and the lone restart of the entire day.
From there, the elder McCune held off a hard-charging Johnny Petrozelle to win the qualifier, with Petrozelle and Steve Surniak completing the podium and locking into Saturday’s redraw for their starting positions.
Meanwhile, Pierce came away with a $100 bonus for setting the Abe’s Auto Parts Fast Time during two-lap qualifying to start the program, posting a lap of 12.293 seconds (106.304 mph) in the No. 26 Sam Pierce Chevrolet/Valvoline entry.
Friday’s effort marked the second fast time of Pierce’s Must See Racing career, as well as his first since Hickory in 2015.
Petrozelle, Gerster, Jimmy McCune and Anthony McCune completed the top-five in time trials.
Of note, Jimmy McCune had already clinched his third-consecutive series championship prior to rolling through the gates at Hickory on Friday, carrying an unassailable 97-point lead over Anthony McCune on the strength of seven wins throughout the season.
Saturday’s portion of the MSR Championships kicks off at 10 a.m. with final practice for the sprint cars, followed by the top-six redraw at noon. The 50-lap feature will take the green flag at 1:45 p.m.
RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Hickory Motor Speedway; Nov. 17, 2017
Abe’s Auto Parts Time Trials: 1. #26 – Aaron Pierce, 12.293; 2. #59 – Johnny Petrozelle, 12.367; 3. #50m – Brian Gerster, 12.383; 4. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 12.618; 5. #8 – Anthony McCune, 12.766; 6. #4B – Bronzie Lawson, 12.863; 7. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 13.165; 8. #1st – Steve Surniak, 13.430; 9. #8A – Adam Biltz, 13.806; 10. #33 – Joe Larkin, 14.496; 11. #12 – Glenn Worrell, 14.849; 12. #4L – Anthony Linkenhoker, 14.975; 13. #88VA – Bobby Rice, 15.344.
Abe’s Auto Parts Qualifier #1 (20 laps, top three to redraw): 1. Anthony McCune, 2. Brian Gerster, 3. Aaron Pierce / 4. Charlie Schultz, 5. Adam Biltz, 6. Glenn Worrell, 7. Bobby Rice.
B&B Machinery Movers Qualifier #2 (20 laps, top three to redraw): 1. Jimmy McCune, 2. Johnny Petrozelle, 3. Steve Surniak / 4. Anthony Linkenhoker, 5. Joe Larkin, 6. Bronzie Lawson (DNF).