MARNE, Mich. – Entering Monday’s rescheduled Must See Racing Sprint Car Series event at Berlin Raceway, Jimmy McCune had never found the secret to entering victory lane at the seven-sixteenths-mile oval.
However, McCune finally cracked the code and opened the gate during the tour’s first of two visits to Berlin this season, making a late pass of Tom Jewell to notch a long-overdue win at the facility.
McCune moved up to the high groove with 10 laps left in Monday’s 30-lap feature, charging from fourth to second in a single rotation before setting his sights on Jewell, who led from the drop of the green flag.
A one-second margin was cut to shreds in two laps, before McCune finally made the winning move with an outside sweep in turn two after Jewell bobbled with seven laps remaining.
From there, McCune drove off into the Michigan night, driving away to a 6.230-second margin of victory over the closing stretch for his 26thcareer Must See Racing win and second in three races this season.
“I didn’t think we had any chance in hell to do anything like that from where we were starting,” admitted McCune. “I mean, usually here it’s so hard to pass. It was still hard to pass. The dirty air … when I was behind that group of cars with Litt and them wasn’t easy to navigate. I just found something on the top there late in the race that really helped us.
“I might have learned that trick from old Jason Blonde. I watched him win the race here last year doing that and somehow we made it work tonight as well,” McCune added. Everyone has no idea what this win means to me tonight. It’s like a weight has been lifted off my back. I had so many second place finishes here I’d lost count. It’s awesome to finally break that curse and win one.”
The caution-free feature took just seven minutes and 36.228 seconds to complete, at an average race pace of 103.567 mph.
Jewell started from the pole after an eight inversion, jetting out to the point over fellow front row starter Anthony McCune and opening up a one-second margin over the field by the time 10 laps were in the books as the younger McCune grappled with Canadian Ryan Litt for the runner-up position.
In contrast, Jimmy McCune was only able to work his way up to fifth by that juncture, later passing NASCAR modified ace Bobby Santos III for fourth and holding down that spot all the way to the 10 to go mark, when it appeared Jewell might become the second first-time winner in as many races.
However, the elder McCune saved a few tricks from the way that defending race winner Jason Blonde stormed to the victory at Berlin last May, moving up a lane and a half and suddenly surging past both Litt and his nephew in one lap to move from fourth to second.
The three-time series champion then ran down Jewell and passed him with ease, leaving Jewell to settle for a career-best second-place finish in front of his home state fans.
“You just can’t make a mistake when you’re racing those guys, and I made one little mistake that Jimmy capitalized on right there at the end,” noted Jewell, a native of Vandalia, Mich. “He drove a hell of a race and it’s just one of those things. I made my bed and we ended up second. I’m not disappointed, though. This is one heck of a night for this race team and hopefully now we can keep this momentum going.”
Anthony McCune completed the podium in third after starting on the front row and said his car simply didn’t have the handle he needed to compete for the win.
“We didn’t have the setup completely right and the car wasn’t very good through the corners,” said the younger McCune. “I did what I could do … but it wasn’t doing what I needed tonight. The dirty air was pretty bad for us tonight.”
Litt and Santos finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series returns to action June 23 at Pennsylvania’s Jennerstown Speedway.
- Jimmy McCune, 2. Tom Jewell, 3. Anthony McCune, 4. Ryan Litt, 5. Bobby Santos III, 6. Aaron Pierce, 7. Charlie Schultz, 8. Teddy Alberts, 9. Doug Dietsch, 10. Adam Biltz, 11. Don Dietsch, 12. Joe Speakman, 13. Joey Irwin, 14. Jerry Caryer, 15. Bronzie Lawson IV, 16. H.D. Carter.
-Must See Racing Press Release. Photo Credit: CSP/Chris Seelman