From Jacob Seelman
NEW PHILIDELPHIA, Ohio – The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series is set to invade Ohio’s Midvale Speedway for the first time on July 15, with one home state team opening up a seat for a unique series rookie to make his debut.
Two-time defending owner’s champions McCune Motorsports will campaign a third entry during the inaugural Buckeye State Shootout at the three-tenths-mile, slightly banked oval, with South African native Jacques Roos piloting the No. 0X Emerald Towing/Emerald Auto Body entry for the event.
The connection between the Roos family and the McCune family goes back some eight years, when two-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune first traveled to South Africa and raced for Roos’ father Johan.
Now, nearly a decade later, that tie has continued and strengthened.
The last two times McCune has traveled to South Africa to compete in sprint car events, he has driven a car for Jacques Roos, and actually won his most recent start in the country over the offseason on Feb. 4 at Ultimate Raceway Vereeniging.
Now, McCune will get the chance to return the favor and says he is looking forward to competing with his long-time friend on “home turf.”
“It’s going to be a lot of fun seeing that (No.) 0 car on track this weekend; I can tell you that much,” said McCune. “This is something that Jacques and I have talked about for a while and it’s great to see it finally come to fruition. His family has been great to us over the years and we’re glad to have him in our corner this weekend.”
McCune did point out though, that while Roos is a friend, it’s all business once the helmets go on.
“Once we get out on track, I want to beat him just as much as I do anyone else there,” he laughed. “I know he feels the same way when we race down in South Africa because he’s beaten me down there before! It’ll be fun to race him though. I’m looking forward to that and to hopefully picking up a win in front of our home fans.”
Roos has a decorated history in sprint car racing in his own right, being a former winner of the United States vs. South Africa sprint car invitational as well as the current championship leader in the winged sprint car division at Ultimate Raceway this season in a career that stretches back to the turn of the millenium.
But while Roos has three wins in four races at the Vereeniging oval this season and was beaten out by McCune in the fourth, he recognizes that Saturday’s race at Midvale may be his toughest challenge yet.
“It’s not going to be easy, because Jimmy is a very tough competitor!” said Roos, who will be the first South African national to compete in a Must See Racing event. “I’m just excited to have this opportunity to race in the United States and drive for my long-time friend. Jimmy and I … we have always had very close battles and I am sure this race will be no different.”
Though Roos has never seen the Midvale oval before, he did say he has been studying up as much as he can in advance of the race.
“I have spent plenty of time on Google trying to learn as much as I can for the race; I’ve asked Jimmy some questions but he wants to beat me just like I want to beat him so he hasn’t told me everything,” Roos laughed.
And what would the personable driver consider a successful debut with Must See Racing?
“You always come to a track with a want to win, but I want to just finish the race and hopefully we can have a top-10 or top-five run,” Roos explained. “The last time I was here (in the U.S.) we were unable to finish, so I definitely want to cross the checkered flag this time around, for sure.”
McCune enters the Midvale event, which is the only series stop in the state of Ohio this season, with a 55-point lead over National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jeff Bloom in the championship standings.
McCune’s nephew Anthony sits a career-high third in points through four events, three back of Bloom.
Gates at Midvale Speedway open at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, with hot laps kicking off at that time. Qualifying will roll off at 5 p.m., as the Must See Racing sprint cars take aim at the all-time Midvale track record, followed by racing action at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on Must See Racing, including driver and team news, points standings, results, schedule updates and more, visit www.mustseeracing.com.