From David Sink
HOLLY, Mich. (August 23, 2022) — The battle for the Must See Racing Engine Pro Sprint Car Series championship has come down to one final showdown between two journeyman veterans of sprint car racing.
Indiana’s Joe Liguori and Ohio’s Charlie Schultz will engage in a no-holds-barred duel for supremacy – and a sizable trophy – during Saturday night’s David D. Mateer Tribute at Pennsylvania’s Jennerstown Speedway, the final stop of the year for Must See Racing’s traveling national sprint car tour.
Liguori holds a 13-point edge over Schultz in the aggregate standings entering the high-speed half mile, but there’s some additional math that will come into play when it comes to determining the eventual champion.
By rule this season, each Must See Racing driver must drop their lowest points-scoring night from their year-end total, throwing a substantial wrench into the works and opening up several pathways for both drivers to secure the national title.
Factoring in the current drop races for both drivers, Liguori’s advantage over Schultz slims from 13 to just six points, meaning that the Jennerstown finale affords Schultz a chance to come from behind.
Should neither Schultz nor Liguori have to use Jennerstown as their drop night, Schultz would have to out-score Liguori by seven points across qualifying, heat races and the 30-lap feature in order to secure his first Must See Racing championship.
If Liguori were to stumble and Jennerstown became his drop race, Schultz would have to earn a combined 83 points between qualifying, heats and the main in order to overhaul Liguori, who would inherit a 76-point night in that scenario.
A bad night for Schultz at Jennerstown would clinch the title for Liguori, who earned last year’s Must See Racing Driver of the Year award.
Liguori would have been named champion officially in 2021, had the COVID-19 pandemic not put a one-year pause on the season-long points format, and he’s eager to put that conversation to bed Saturday.
“This is what we’ve worked all year for,” said Liguori, an owner-driver who works on his own equipment, following the most recent race at Lorain Raceway Park on Aug. 6. “It’s a one-night showdown for all the marbles, and I couldn’t think of a better guy to race for this title than Charlie. We’ve both put so much into racing over the years and we both know how to race one another cleanly and fairly. It’s going to be a show that I hope the fans really enjoy.”
Schultz is aiming to rebound from a crash on lap two at Lorain that put a damper on his title hopes. While he’s far from out of the equation, there is still a path that allows the former supermodified ace to control his own destiny in the championship battle.
A perfect 100-point night – setting fast time, winning his heat race and winning the feature – would guarantee Schultz the championship no matter what Liguori does at Jennerstown.
That’s something that Schultz nearly achieved on opening night at South Boston (Va.) Speedway in April. He came up one position short to eventual winner Bobby Santos III, who will be returning to the Must See Racing field this weekend.
This time, Schultz hopes to get revenge and seal the deal on both the race and the series title.
“We know what we have to do, and that’s the beauty of the format this year,” noted Schultz, who drivers . “We’re trying not to over-think things and we’re just going to go out and go as fast as we can in every single session all night long. If we can do that and the points fall our way, then we’ll have what we came for. If it doesn’t work out, then someone I really respect and enjoy racing with, in Joe, will be celebrating.
“One way or another, the party will be at one of our trailers after the race Saturday night!”
Whichever driver prevails on Saturday will become the sixth different champion in the 13-year history of Must See Racing, joining Troy DeCaire (2010-’11), JoJo Helberg (2012), Brian Gerster (2013-’14), Jimmy McCune (2015-’19) and Anthony McCune (2020).
No season champion was crowned last year due to format changes required by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liguori and Schultz may be leading the championship fight, but the rest of the Must See Racing Engine Pro Sprint Car Series field will also be back in action during the upcoming David D. Mateer Tribute at Jennerstown, including Santos, the returning Mike McVetta, recent winner Jason Blonde and more.
The event honors the late Mateer, who served as the director of racing for Specialty Tires of America for many years. Specialty Tires of America manufactures the American Racer tires used on all Must See Racing national and crate sprint car entries throughout the season.