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Pierce Stops McCune's Owosso Winning Streak With Firecracker 50 Win

PHOTOS CREDIT TO JACOB SEELMAN


OVID, Mich. – Aaron Pierce ended Jimmy McCune's quest for a double hat trick at Owosso Speedway with a come-from-behind victory in Saturday night's Must See Racing Sprint Car Series Firecracker 50 at the three-eighths-mile oval.

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McCune was gunning for his third straight Firecracker 50 win and his third straight Must See Racing feature win at Owosso and took the lead at the halfway point of the 50-lap main, but Pierce was simply not to be denied, despite starting 10th after the inversion and having to come from the rear of the field due to a deflating right rear tire during an open red flag period with 10 laps complete.


Through it all, Pierce rallied back to end a lengthy Must See Racing winless drought, passing McCune with an inside sweep down the backstretch and leading the final three circuits for the win.


"I knew how good all the cars I was going through and passing were, so I knew this thing was bad fast. I moved the wing just a little bit and she absolutely took off," said Pierce in victory lane. "I got by Blonde with 15 to go ... and I was driving my guts out at that point just to have a shot at it. When I could see Jimmy and that I was catching him, I knew it was game on.


"He was loose, I used that to my advantage and it all worked out. I wasn't sure if our night might not be over after that flat tire," Pierce added. "Somehow it all worked out and we came all the way back through there. What an awesome night."

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A rash of caution flags in the first 10 laps led to a stoppage for refueling, with Anthony McCune having led every lap up to that point. However, his car began to fade as a long run finally broke out after lap 12, and he finally ceded the top spot to his uncle Jimmy as the field came by to complete the halfway lap.


From there, Jimmy McCune opened up a margin of three seconds before traffic and an ill-handling race car began to be his undoing. Pierce finally took second from Jason Blonde with 15 to go nd quickly carved a 2.5-second deficit to the three-time defending series champion into mincemeat.


While the elder McCune held on to second at the finish, he noted that lack of grip in his rear tires was much of his downfall.


"We just got loose and started spinning the tires," lamented McCune. "We wore them off and here, there's nothing you can do once that happens but hang on. Fifty laps around here runs the wheels off these things. I'm not sure how we got beat, but we missed the setup and ran second. It is what it is."


Jason Blonde completed the podium and shared similar thoughts after the race.


"Right from the start tonight, this track was greasy and we were slipping and sliding, but that's what makes it fun," said Blonde. "It made for a lot of passing tonight ... even if it was a long one. We got to halfway and I was thinking, 'We're only halfway? Holy cow, I'm gonna die out here,'" he laughed.


"The tires held up, for dirt-tracking it the last 30 laps anyways. It's not what we came here to achieve, but it's a good night for us as a team and I knew I had to get moving, no matter what. Just not quite enough tonight."


Brian Gerster came home fourth and NASCAR modified ace Bobby Santos, who finished second in the USAC Silver Crown race at Madison Int'l Speedway on Friday night, was fifth.


Anthony McCune faded to sixth at the checkered flag, the final car on the lead lap.


The finish:

Aaron Pierce, Jimmy McCune, Jason Blonde, Brian Gerster, Bobby Santos, Anthony McCune, Jeff Bloom, Ike Beasley, Tom Jewell, Charlie Schultz, Ryan Gillenwater, Frank Neill, Adam Biltz, Doug Dietsch, Tom Nichols, Joe Speakman, Joey Schmidt, Tom Geren, Teddy Alberts, Jerry Caryer, Joey Irwin.


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Jacob Seelman
Freelance Writer
Series Announcer for Must See Racing

Gerster Gets Back To MSR Victory Lane At Birch Run

PHOTOS CREDIT TO JACOB SEELMAN


BIRCH RUN, Mich. – Brian Gerster finally found his way back to victory lane with the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series for the first time in nearly a year, winning Sunday afternoon's steamy Xtreme Speed 30 at Birch Run Speedway.


Gerster started fourth but methodically worked his way through the field, finally driving around the outside of Ryan Gillenwater in turn two and leading the final 13 laps en route to the win.

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Sunday's matinee performance marked Gerster's 20th career series victory, and he becomes the fourth different winner in five races this season, already breaking last year's mark of three different winners.


"I haven't raced here (at Birch Run) for 11 years, so I have to thank Dick Myers and Rick Ferguson for giving me a great race car," said Gerster. "It was a long, hot weekend but we made it all work and got it done. The fans are the real troopers on a day like this one. I'm glad we were able to give them a great show.


"I knew that there would be some speed moving up (the track), it was just a matter of doing it the right way and making the right adjustments during the race," Gerster added. "When your race car's fast, you don't think about the heat as much as well. It's good to get back in victory lane with Must See, too. (Jimmy) McCune has been inching ahead of us on the win list, so we'll have to come back and race with him a little bit more to get that gap closed back up."


While the closing stages may have seemed easy, the heat and a hard-charging Bobby Santos III meant that Gerster couldn't let off the gas as he worked traffic in the final laps.


Santos moved into second one lap after Gerster's pass for the lead and carved a nearly two-second deficit down into mere car lengths coming to the white flag. He lost ground in turns one and two, however, and trailed Gerster by four tenths of a second at the finish line.

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"I just screwed up the original start, really, is where I think we lost this one," lamented Santos. "We had a great car and I think if we had been able to get out front right away, we could have held it to the finish. I hate it for my car owner Dick (Fieler). I wish we could have got him a win on his birthday because this team deserves to be in victory lane, but we'll try again next time."


The run to the twin checkers appeared to be a photo finish, with Santos pulling alongside Gerster, however that move came on the cool-down lap and was for naught for the veteran open-wheeler.


"I think we ran an extra lap as it was; it was a little crazy with (flagman) J.D. (Wilbur) trying to help work lap traffic for us and get the checkered going, but it was a fun race," noted Gerster. "Either way, Bobby Santos is one of the best pavement racers in the country, so to have him wheel to wheel with us at the end is pretty cool, if you ask me."


Three-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune completed the podium, while polesitter Gillenwater eventually faded to fourth after leading the first 17 laps.


Anthony McCune crossed the line fifth. Aaron Pierce, who won Saturday night's feature at Owosso Speedway and set fast time on Sunday, struggled during the main and came home a distant seventh.


The finish:

Brian Gerster, Bobby Santos, Jimmy McCune, Ryan Gillenwater, Anthony McCune, Ike Beasley, Aaron Pierce, Joey Schmidt, Frank Neill, Jason Blonde, Charlie Schultz, Tom Jewell, Adam Biltz, Joe Speakman, Joey Irwin, Jeff Bloom, Doug Dietsch.


--
Jacob Seelman
Freelance Writer
Series Announcer for Must See Racing

Jimmy McCune Leads MSR Sprints Into Michigan Doubleheader

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Seelman


HOLLY, Mich. – Following the excitement of the tour's most recent event at Berlin Raceway, the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series will lead into Independence Day with a Michigan doubleheader this Saturday and Sunday.


The 410ci winged asphalt sprint car series concludes the month of June with the third-annual Firecracker 50 at Owosso Speedway in Ovid, Mich. on June 30 before kicking off the month of July with a rescheduled race at Birch Run Speedway in Birch Run, Mich., on July 1.

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Owosso and Birch Run will mark the fourth and fifth races of the Must See Racing season, getting the series back on track after twin rainouts in May disrupted the early portion of the calendar.


Three-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune lead the points chase over fellow veteran Aaron Pierce by 19 markers entering the two-race weekend, as he kicks his pursuit of a fourth-straight title into high gear.


McCune already has two wins in the first three races of the year, winning the season opener at Anderson Motor Speedway on April 20 and tallying his second victory during the rescheduled Must See Racing stop at Berlin Raceway on June 11, which accompanied the Money in the Bank 150.


If that wasn't enough, the Toledo, Ohio driver is the two-time defending champion of the Firecracker 50 and swept the series races at the three-eighths-mile oval, as well as won the non-points Must See Racing special at Birch Run last August. He also has a non-winged sprint car victory at Birch Run as well.


"I'm excited every time we go into a race weekend, but our track record at the two tracks we'll be at this weekend has me really looking forward to chasing a couple of victories," said McCune. "Good runs always give you confidence to come back to a track and repeat that success, but we never take anything for granted and approach each race as a new day because everyone has a clean slate when we open the pit area. We'll go out, try and make the car the best we can and see if we can get our third win of the year on Saturday."


Asked what has made him so good of late at Owosso, McCune chuckled before offering a response.


"Hard work and preparation is really all I can tell you," he said. "I don't know what it is outside of that, but it's always been a special place for me. I got my first win ever in racing there when we won in the midget back early in my career ... so it's always been important to me to keep running as well as we can there each time we come back."


McCune will have a list of characters to defeat, however, if he is going to etch his name into the Owosso and Birch Run record books as a winner once again.


National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jeff Bloom, Pierce, NASCAR modified champion Bobby Santos and former supermodified ace Charlie Schultz are among the expected challengers to the dominance of the No. 88 Abe's Auto Parts and Sales/B&B Machinery Movers sprinter.


Home-state drivers anticipated to compete during the weekend include former Owosso winner Jason Blonde, Ike Beasley, Teddy Alberts and recent Berlin runner-up Tom Jewell.


Alongside the Must See Racing sprint cars, the Midwest Compact Front Wheel Drives and Pro Late Models will also be on the racing card at Owosso, while Sunday's program at Birch Run will include Pure Stocks, Modifieds and Lightning Sprints in addition to the stars of Must See Racing.


Pit gates open at Owosso at noon on Saturday, followed by grandstand gates at 2 p.m.


On Sunday, the Birch Run pit area opens at 9 a.m., with a prayer service at the Must See Racing tent at 10 a.m. Grandstand gates open to the public at noon.


For more information on Must See Racing, visit www.mustseeracing.com.


--
Jacob Seelman
Freelance Writer
Series Announcer for Must See Racing

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