ANDERSON, Ind. – Four-time defending Must See Racing Sprint Car Series champion Jimmy McCune made one thing abundantly clear Saturday night at Anderson Speedway: he’s not about to slow down.
McCune charged to his milestone 30th career Must See Racing victory and sixth at Anderson during the season-opening Must See Racing 50, firing past Tom Jewell on a lap-19 restart and never looking back.
The Toledo, Ohio veteran led the final 32 laps uncontested en route to his fourth-straight season-opening victory with the 410ci winged asphalt sprint car tour.
“I’m pretty dang pleased,” said McCune, who started 10th. “We made a lot of changes over the winter, and this is one of the places where we knew we had to get better. We’d been so strong over the years, but just missed something last year and I think we got a lot of it back tonight, for sure.”
Saturday night’s marathon feature took more than an hour to complete the 50-lap distance, in part due to a 20-minute red flag with six laps complete for a track wrecker that was stuck deep in the mud in turn one, after steady morning rains drenched the already-saturated grounds.
Despite that delay, the racing on the track was fast and furious throughout the night.
Jewell and 16-year-old rookie Trey Osborne led the field to green from the front row, after engine issues for provisional polesitter Ryan Litt left the Canadian unable to take the start under power.
Osborne stumbled on the green flag, allowing Jewell to get away and pace the first four laps, before a spinning Tom Geren in turn three brought out the first caution of the night and bunched the field up.
That incident was followed two laps later by a hard crash between Christian Koehler and Joshua Sexton in turn one, eventually leading to the delay for the stuck wrecker.
Both Koehler and Sexton were uninjured in the crash, which occurred while the pair was racing for 12th.
Jewell held serve once racing finally resumed, while McCune – who was up to fifth at the time of the yellow – got up on the wheel and started making moves. He passed Tyler Roahrig for fourth on lap seven, then dispatched Geoff Kaiser for third on the 11th revolution with a dive in turn two.
A three-wide move in slower traffic gave McCune the second spot on lap 14, setting him up on Jewell’s back bumper when Jerry Caryer smacked the outside wall off turn four to draw the third and final caution flag of the night with 18 laps in the books.
Jewell attempted to time the ensuing restart and get away from McCune, but McCune gave Jewell a shot in the back nerf bar that sent Jewell sideways, allowing McCune to duck to the inside and get away.
From there, it was all but over as McCune pulled away to a straightaway-plus advantage over the rest of the field, cruising to the twin checkers over a 32-lap, green-flag run to the finish.
“Unfortunately for him (Jewell), he likes to play with the starts,” McCune noted. “I’ve told him not to do that, but he waited for me to thump him … and he wrung the tires. I just ran on by after that.”
McCune’s nephew, Anthony McCune, powered past Jewell with an inside dive in turn four coming to three laps to go and hung on for second. The run tied the 21-year-old’s highest Must See Racing finish.
“This was a really good night; we just started really far back and had to pick our way through the field,” said Anthony McCune. “Jimmy got a really good start, got ahead of me and passed cars way before I could. That was the difference tonight, but I’m pleased with our effort tonight.”
Jewell completed the podium and lamented the restart where he lost the lead, but still carried a smile after a strong run to open the season.
“If we keep running like this, a win will come,” Jewell noted. “Gene (Fogel, car owner), had it dialed in. You always want to win, but we’ll take this one. … Jimmy just flat hit me, anticipating my start. I’m not really mad at him; it just happened. We’ll learn from all this and come back stronger next time.”
Roahrig and Joe Liguori, a pair of rookie-of-the-year contenders, were fourth and fifth, respectively.
RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Anderson Speedway; May 4, 2019
1-800-RADIATOR A-Feature (50 laps): 1. #88 – Jimmy McCune , 2. #8 – Anthony McCune , 3. #7 – Tom Jewell , 4. #99s – Tyler Roahrig , 5. #13 – Joe Liguori , 6. #10N – Geoff Kaiser , 7. #9s – Charlie Schultz , 8. #81 – Trey Osborne , 9. #71 – Brian Vaughn , 10. #11g – Tom Geren , 11. #99k – Brenden Torok , 12. #15t – Tim Henthorne , 13. #4L – Anthony Linkenhoker , 14. #32 – Todd McQuillen , 15. #26 – Jeff Bloom , 16. #75c – Jerry Caryer , 17. #85 – Rick Holley , 18. #22 – Tony Grams , 19. #51s – Joshua Sexton , 20. #10k – Christian Koehler , 21. #07L – Ryan Litt .
Lap Leader(s): Tom Jewell 1-18, Jimmy McCune 19-50.
Hard Charger: #71 – Brian Vaughn (+12)
Hamilton Trucking Time Trials (best of two laps): 1. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 11.006 seconds; 2. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 11.047 seconds; 3. #8 – Anthony McCune, 11.075 seconds; 4. #10n – Geoff Kaiser, 11.075 seconds; 5. #26 – Jeff Bloom, 11.095 seconds; 6. #13 – Joe Liguori, 11.179 seconds; 7. #99s – Tyler Roahrig, 11.207 seconds; 8. #7 – Tom Jewell, 11.217 seconds; 9. #81 – Trey Osborne, 11.268 seconds; 10. #07L – Ryan Litt, 11.361 seconds; 11. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 11.414 seconds; 12. #10k – Christian Koehler, 11.657 seconds; 13. #51s – Joshua Sexton, 11.878 seconds; 14. #85 – Rick Holley, 12.019 seconds; 15. #32 – Todd McQuillen, 12.328 seconds; 16. #22 – Tony Grams, 12.401 seconds; 17. #11g – Tom Geren, 12.421 seconds; 18. #15t – Tim Henthorne, 12.443 seconds; 19. #99k – Brendan Torok, 12.629 seconds; 20. #4L – Anthony Linkenhoker, 13.098 seconds; 21. #71 – Brian Vaughn, NT.
Heat #1 (10 laps): 1. Tony Grams , 2. Brenden Torok , 3. Tim Henthorne , 4. Todd McQuillen , 5. Anthony Linkenhoker , 6. Tom Geren , 7. Brian Vaughn (DNS).
Heat #2 (10 laps): 1. Ryan Litt , 2. Jerry Caryer , 3. Trey Osborne , 4. Tom Jewell , 5. Joshua Sexton , 6. Rick Holley , 7. Christian Koehler .
Heat #3 (10 laps): 1. Jeff Bloom , 2. Charlie Schultz , 3. Joe Liguori , 4. Jimmy McCune , 5. Tyler Roahrig , 6. Anthony McCune , 7. Geoff Kaiser .
-Must See Racing Sprint Car Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Chris Seelman