Must See Racing Rookies Making An Early Impact
HOLLY, Mich. – It's only one race into the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series season, but the verdict is already in that the tour's deep rookie class is going to have a big impact throughout the year.
Not only did four of those rookie drivers finish inside the top 11 during the series' season-opening event at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway on May 4, but at least two of the quartet is looking to make a concerted run at rookie-of-the-year honors this season with the 410ci winged asphalt sprint car tour.
Indiana's Tyler Roahrig led the list with a fourth-place finish in the Must See Racing 50, piloting Wayne Stickney's No. 99 to a strong result in what was Roahrig's first winged event in three years.
Must See Racing rookies Tyler Roahrig (99) and Joe Liguori (13) battle at Anderson Speedway during the season opener. (David Sink photo)
While he isn't committed to a full season as of now, Roahrig has momentum and hopes to run the next race on the schedule at Berlin Raceway in June, meaning another big performance could go a long way.
"We're just doing things a race at a time right now," Roahrig noted. "I'm pleased with our Anderson result, even though I honestly think we had a car that could have run in the top three. We just got shuffled back there in traffic and couldn't quite get back what we lost, especially with the 8 (Anthony McCune) coming through there in the last few laps. We've got speed, though, and that's a positive."
Meanwhile, Tampa, Fla., native Joe Liguori is planning a full season with Must See Racing and found himself as high as a battle for second before fading back to fifth in the closing stages of the opener.
Liguori, who has run midgets and USAC Silver Crown cars for years but is new to winged sprint cars on pavement, was pleased with his run and hopes it marks the start of a consistent first season for him.
"We were pretty decent in the opener and I was happy with how we rolled out of the box," said Liguori. "It was fun to be up there battling for the lead, but we just got too free, especially after the long red flag that we had. It's a solid start, though ... a nice step in the right direction that we can build on."
Other standout performances from the Anderson opener included 16-year-old Trey Osborne, who ran eighth in Mike Blake's iconic No. 81 car in his first winged 410 race ever; and 14-year-old Brenden Torok, who took Dave Koyan's No. 99 entry into the top 10 before finishing 11th in his Must See Racing debut.
In all, nine of the 21 starters at Anderson were drivers who fit the Must See Racing rookie criteria, which states that a rookie-of-the-year contender must have four or less appearances with the series to be considered rookie eligible.
Tim Henthorne, Todd McQuillen, Rick Holley, North Carolina's Tony Grams and Joshua Sexton were also among the rookies in action during the Anderson Speedway event on May 4.
Looking ahead to the next stop on the calendar, Grassy Creek, N.C. pilot Ivan Shaver; former 305 driver Bobby Komisarski, also from North Carolina; and Jacob Dolinar, one of the nephews of four-time Must See Racing champion Jimmy McCune, are rookies expected to join the series field at Berlin in June.
Dolinar will pilot the No. 13 car run in previous Must See Racing outings by H.D. Carter.
Across the board, Must See Racing president Jim Hanks is encouraged by the strong car count from the season opener and the infusion of new faces taking their shot at building a resume in pavement sprint car racing.
"All of us at Must See Racing are very pleased by the momentum we built during our season opener and excited to see drivers like Tyler Roahrig, Joe Liguori and the rest of our rookie class doing battle with the veterans of our series," said Hanks. "They've already generated excitement and buzz with their impressive performances early on and we look forward to continuing to see their progression as the season continues."
The June 1 appearance by the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series at Berlin will mark round one of the Engine Pro Fast Car Dash, with round two of the bonus program set during the series' return to the seven-sixteenths-mile oval in Marne, Mich., in August.
The event will be taped for tape-delay broadcast on the award-winning SPEED SPORT series on MAVTV.
Support classes for the Berlin race include modifieds, super stocks and the VROA vintage modifieds.
For more information on Must See Racing, visit www.mustseeracing.com.
Series Announcer for Must See Racing