Schultz Soars To First Must See Sprint Victory At Berlin
MARNE, Mich. – Former Midwest Supermodified Ass'n 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).
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
PHOTOS CREDIT TO CHRIS SEELMAN
Blonde Snaps Two Year MSR Qualifying Drought At Berlin
MARNE, Mich. – Former Berlin Raceway winner Jason Blonde raced to the top of the speed charts during Hamilton Trucking Time Trials for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series on Saturday evening, becoming the eighth different fast qualifier in 11 races this season.
Blonde, who won at the seven-sixteenths-mile oval in May of 2017, turned a lap of 13.286 seconds (118.546 mph) with the No. 42 Bingham Farms/Hamilton Trucking/Dowker Engines sprinter to notch his sixth-career fast time and first since July 2, 2016 at Owosso Speedway.
"It feels good to roll off the trailer and be fast here, but we know that's only part of the battle," said Blonde. "This is a tricky race track and what you need to be quick in the feature isn't always what it takes to be fast in qualifying. Hopefully we can adjust the right way and be up there when it counts later on tonight."
Jimmy McCune, who is closing in on securing his fourth-consecutive series championship, timed in second-fastest with a lap of 13.298 seconds (118.439 mph) in the No. 88 Abe's Auto Parts/B&B Machinery Movers/Rev-X Oil machine, just .013 of a second off Blonde's pole mark.
Smoking the tires all the way through turns three and four on both laps, Charlie Schultz followed in third (13.350/117.978) for his best-ever qualifying effort with the series in his second full-time season.
Former NASCAR Modified champion Bobby Santos III, who was fastest during practice earlier in the day, faded to fourth (13.465/116.970) in time trials ahead of Ike Beasley.
Teddy Alberts, Christian Koehler, Doug Dietsch, Jerry Caryer and Tom Jewell completed the top 10.
Santos and Koehler both discovered engine issues after bringing their cars back to the pit area. Santos is a scratch for the rest of the night, while Koehler will drop to the rear of the starting grid for the feature.
Back to School Night at Berlin Raceway, featuring the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series, is scheduled to get the green flag at 6:30 p.m.
QUALIFYING RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Berlin Raceway; Aug. 18, 2018
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
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Santos Sweeps Must See Practice At Berlin
MARNE, Mich. – After winning his first Must See Racing Sprint Car Series event earlier in the summer, Bobby Santos III hasn't slowed down one bit.
In fact, he's only continued to improve as he pursues a second-career series victory.
Santos swept both practice sessions for Back to School Night at the seven-sixteenths-mile oval on Saturday afternoon, turning the fastest lap of the day in the second round at 13.352 seconds (117.960 mph) with the No. 22a Mayhew Tools sprinter for long-time car owner Dick Fieler.
The 2010 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion is a three-time fast qualifier with Must See Racing at Berlin, most recently sweeping the two qualifying sessions held there in 2017.
Jimmy McCune ended the afternoon second-quick on the overall time sheets, landing in the runner-up position in both sessions. His best time was 13.656 seconds (115.334 mph) in the No. 88 Abe's Auto Parts/B&B Machinery Movers/Rev-X Oil machine, set during final practice.
Litchfield, Mich., veteran Jason Blonde was third-fastest (13.854/113.686) in the No. 42 Bingham Farms/Hamilton Trucking machine. Blonde won with Must See Racing at Berlin in May of 2017.
Fellow Michigan natives Ike Beasley (13.979/112.669) and Doug Dietsch (13.983/112.637) completed the Fast Five.
Anthony McCune was sixth-quick, followed by Charlie Schultz, Teddy Alberts, Jerry Caryer and Christian Koehler.
Sondi Eden, making her return to Must See Racing competition for the first time in several years, was 14th fastest in practice with the No. 81 Mike Blake-owned machine.
Qualifying for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series kicks off at 5:15 p.m.
PRACTICE RESULTS: Must See Racing Sprint Car Series; Berlin Raceway; Aug. 18, 2018
1. #22a – Bobby Santos, 13.352
2. #88 – Jimmy McCune, 13.656
3. #42 – Jason Blonde, 13.854
4. #97 – Ike Beasley, 13.979
5. #0 – Doug Dietsch, 13.983
6. #8 – Anthony McCune, 14.055
7. #9s – Charlie Schultz, 14.195
8. #44 – Teddy Alberts, 14.249
9. #75c – Jerry Caryer, 14.342
10. #10k – Christian Koehler, 14.412
11. #6k – Kevin Feeney, 14.745
12. #7 – Tom Jewell, 14.801
13. #8a – Adam Biltz, 14.972
14. #81 – Sondi Eden, 15.218
15. #88n – Frank Neill, 15.349
16. #11g – Tom Geren, 15.873
17. #90 – Tom Nichols, 16.455
18. #13 – HD Carter, NT 19.650
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
Christian Koehler Carrying Momentum Into MSR Return To Berlin
HOLLY, Mich. – After a career showing at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway last weekend, Must See Racing Sprint Car Series young gun Christian Koehler hopes to carry his positive momentum into this weekend's Engine Pro Fast Car Dash at Berlin Raceway.
The series' return to Berlin marks the 10th race of the season and Koehler comes to the seven-sixteenths-mile oval fresh off the strongest outing of his career.
The third-generation driver and grandson of former Hoosier Outlaw Sprint Series champion Ron Koehler started ninth but ran his way up through the field during the first half of the 50-lap feature at Anderson. He was running fourth when overheating problems forced him to retire his No. 10k sprinter.
Despite the disappointment of not finishing after such an increase in speed with his team, Koehler has been looking at the positives and took away plenty of notes from what he called "a career day."
"Man, to have the kind of run going that we had going and not be able to close it out was a real bummer, but I'm so proud of the effort our team put in and the speed we showed at Anderson," said Christian Koehler. "The engine just got hot on us. We had to richen it up a little bit for the feature anyways, because we saw it running a little warm during the heat (race) and we thought we could get away with it. It just couldn't quite make it all 50 laps.
"It felt great to show everyone what I'm really capable of tonight," he added. "I've had some good luck, but I've had a lot of bad luck over the past few years and just haven't felt like we've gotten the breaks we've needed. That's racing though, and sometimes things don't go your way. They certainly were going our way for a while tonight, and that felt really good while it lasted out there."
Koehler said Saturday's race at Anderson was motivation for him to keep pushing forward.
"I'm glad we still had a car in one piece last weekend to be able to bring to Berlin on Saturday, because I feel like we can be really strong there and contend for another good day," Koehler noted. "We're motivated and we're hungry, so we'll go out and see what we can do this weekend and hopefully surprise a few more people."
Three-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune leads the Must See Racing field into Berlin, having won the series' most recent appearance there in June for his first-career victory at the track. He carries a lead of more than 50 points on nephew Anthony coming into the Fast Car Dash.
Other contenders expected to challenge for the win include Charlie Schultz, Adam Biltz and Tom Jewell, who ran second to Jimmy McCune in June after leading the first 23 laps of the feature and is seeking his first Must See Racing victory.
The event will again feature the Fast Car Dash format, which pits the top eight qualifiers against one another in a fully-inverted, eight-lap heat race that pays points towards a prize fund at the end of the season.
In addition, series officials have confirmed that the planned two-day season finale at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Nov. 16-17, has been cancelled.
The 2018 season will now conclude with the $4,000-to-win, $700-to-start David D. Mateer Tribute presented by American Racer at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway on Sept. 15.
For more information on Must See Racing, visit the series website at www.mustseeracing.com.
Series Announcer for Must See Racing
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