MARNE, Mich. – Former Midwest Supermodified Association champion Charlie Schultz finally scored his first Must See Racing 410 sprint car win during Saturday’s Back to School Night program at Berlin Raceway.
It wasn’t easy at all, however, as Schultz had to hold off one of the best ever in the state of Michigan on a four-lap dash to the checkered flag before he could celebrate in victory lane.
Schultz held off a hard-charging Jason Blonde to pick up the win at the tricky seven-sixteenths-mile oval, pulling away following a lap 27 restart and never looking back en route to a 2.276-second margin at the checkered flag.
He first took the lead on the second revolution and dominated the remaining 29 laps of the 30-lap feature. The Lorain, Ohio native became the seventh different winner in 11 series races this season.
“I’m absolutely amazed,” said Schultz, who became the 19th different driver in Must See Racing’s nine-year history to win a feature event. “I’m not really amazed, because I know we have a great group of people here … but wow. I can’t thank John (Reiser, car owner), my girlfriend Debbie, Steven Berlin and my teammate Adam Biltz enough. We do this week in and week out. What a way to end our ‘Hell Week.’
“My dad helps me put these motors together. He’s been doing it for 40 years, and I don’t think anyone got more smoke down the straightaways then we did tonight,” Schultz continued. “As soon as we finished warm-ups tonight, I knew this thing was a rocket ship. To hold off Blonde and Jimmy (McCune), that’s two of the best in the business and for us to come out on top says so much.”
After an eight-car inversion to start the night, Adam Biltz and Tom Jewell led the field to the green flag to start the 30-lap feature, with Jewell gaining the advantage and leading the first lap before a spinning Tom Geren slowed the pace and set up an early restart.
Schultz, who was running third at that point, took full advantage. He dove low entering turn one to pass Biltz for second on the restart and then surged past Jewell in turn three on the same lap to take command for good.
Fifth-starting Blonde quickly forged ahead into second and gave chase to Schultz, appearing to have a shot at the No. 9s when the caution waved again with six laps scored for a crash in turn four, this time involving third-running Jimmy McCune and the lap car of Tom Nichols.
“He just spun in front of me,” McCune explained after the race. “I had nowhere to go.”
With McCune having to drop to the tail, Schultz’s objective was simple: hold Blonde at bay. He did just that when racing resumed on lap seven, nailing the restart and pulling out to a six car-length advantage.
Schultz held that margin through the halfway point, with Blonde, Ike Beasley, Jimmy McCune and Jerry Caryer trailing, but the Ohio veteran steadily began to extend the gap as he worked masterfully through slower traffic in the closing stages.
He held a lead as large as a second and a half in the final 10 laps, before a caution for the stopped car of Frank Neill bunched up the field and gave Blonde one last fighting chance with four to go.
Blonde could only watch, though, when Schultz got another perfect restart and drove off into the night.
“I was just too loose coming off turn two, and then we were way tight in turn four … almost took the wall down there a couple of times,” said Blonde. “Hats off to Charlie. He ran a hell of a race and he was just as good as we were tonight.”
McCune completed the podium and nearly put the finishing touches on his fourth-straight series title, leaving Berlin with an unofficial 70-point lead over nephew Anthony. As soon as he signs in for the season finale at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway on Sept. 15, he’ll lock up the crown.
“That’s a good feeling; it’s nice to know we’ll be able to celebrate another championship, but I felt like we had a car that could have won this race tonight,” said Jimmy McCune. “I just wore my stuff out trying to get back to the front. I would have been a good fight if we could have stayed up with them.”
Beasley crossed the line fourth and Anthony McCune, who battled motor issues all day, came from the rear of the field after failing to post a qualifying time to finish fifth and earn hard charger honors.
RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Berlin Raceway; Aug. 18, 2018
1-800-RADIATOR A-Feature (30 laps): 1. #9s – Charlie Schultz ; 2. #42 – Jason Blonde ; 3. #88 – Jimmy McCune ; 4. #97 – Ike Beasley ; 5. #8 – Anthony McCune ; 6. #75c – Jerry Caryer ; 7. #7 – Tom Jewell ; 8. #8a – Adam Biltz ; 9. #44 – Teddy Alberts ; 10. #6k – Kyle Feeney ; 11. #81 – Sondi Eden ; 12. #88n – Frank Neill ; 13. #13 – HD Carter ; 14. #90 – Tom Nichols ; 15. #11g – Tom Geren ; 16. #10k – Christian Koehler ; 17. Doug Dietsch [17, DNS]; 18. #22a – Bobby Santos III [18, DNS].
Lap Leader(s): Jewell 1, Schultz 2-30.
Hard Charger: #8-Anthony McCune (+9)
Hamilton Trucking Time Trials (best of two laps): 1. #42 – Jason Blonde, 13.286; 2. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 13.298; 3. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 13.350; 4. #22a – Bobby Santos, 13.465; 5. #97 – Ike Beasley, 13.573; 6. #44 – Teddy Alberts, 13.668; 7. #10k – Christian Koehler, 13.803; 8. #0 – Doug Dietsch, 13.814; 9. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 14.093; 10. #7 – Tom Jewell, 14.117; 11. #8a – Adam Biltz, 14.376; 12. #6k – Kyle Feeney, 14.685; 13. #88n – Frank Neill, 14.727; 14. #11g – Tom Geren, 15.303; 15. #81 – Sondi Eden, 15.351; 16. #90 – Tom Nichols, 16.382; 17. #13 – HD Carter, 18.136; 18. #8 – Anthony McCune, NT
Abe’s Auto Parts Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Sondi Eden, 2. Tom Geren, 3. Tom Nichols, 4, HD Carter, 5. Anthony McCune, 6. Christian Koehler (DNS).
Abe’s Auto Parts Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Tom Jewell, 2. Adam Biltz, 3. Jerry Caryer, 4. Frank Neill, 5. Kyle Feeney, 6. Doug Dietsch (DNS).
Abe’s Auto Parts Heat #3 (8 laps): 1. Ike Beasley, 2. Jimmy McCune, 3. Teddy Alberts, 4. Jason Blonde, 5. Charlie Schultz, 6. Bobby Santos (DNS).
-Must See Racing Press Release. Photo Credit: Chris Seelman