By Jordan Kuehne
LOVES PARK, Ill. (Sunday, July 3rd, 2011) -- 'Better than most' is all Jimmy McCune could say when asked to describe his Fourth of July weekend. The Toledo, Ohio hotshoe certainly wont forget this summer holiday anytime soon after inheriting the lead in tonight's Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Car Series 'Instant Jungle 50', surviving a late restart with 14 laps remaining, and never looking back on the way to his second win in as many nights.
Just 24 hours after collecting the checkers at Dells Raceway Park, it looked like McCune might have to settle for second as the Davey Hamilton funded machine of Mike Larrison steadily paced the field of record-setting winged sprint cars around the lightning fast high banks of the Rockford Speedway. McCune got a break though when Larrison lost control of his 800-horsepower behemoth on the exit of turn two and subsequently handed the top spot over to the new points leader with under fifteen circuits remaining. From there, no one could challenge McCune as he checked out on the way to the winner's circle.
Patrick Bruns took the trophy in the undercard of the all-open wheeled special, getting around Lamont Critchett late and holding him off en route to a second consecutive Illini Racing Series Midgets win at Rockford.
Jimmy McCune muscled his way into the top spot in the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Car Series ‘Instant Jungle 50’ as an early caution flew for a spin by the new track record holder, Jacob Wilson, on the second lap. McCune was dropped to third under yellow after jumping the start as the Davey Hamilton-owned machine of Mike Larrison took over the point.
McCune wasn’t waiting around though, quickly working past Jeff Bloom for the bridesmaid’s position. As Larrison and McCune broke away from the field, Wilson -- who had laid down an unbelievable lap of 11.308 seconds during time trials to shatter the old track record set in 2004 -- went around again on lap five and was black flagged for bringing out a second caution. The top three broke away from the 19-car field as JoJo Helberg pushed past Bloom for the fourth position as racing resumed.
With 17 laps in the books, McCune closed up to the back of Larrison as the leaders negotiated heavy lapped traffic all over the high banked quarter-mile oval. Blazing through laps at a record 11.7 second pace, the race quickly approached the halfway mark as McCune continued to hound the top gun up front.
While Larrison and McCune played a 100 mile-per-hour game of cat-and-mouse, 2010 series champion Troy DeCaire and JoJo Helberg began to slice the deficit and work their way into the picture up front. The dynamics of the entire race changed with 14 circuits remaining as Larrison looped it on the exit of turn two and brought out the caution.
Suddenly, Jimmy McCune was in a familiar position: leading. A night after taking the win at Dells Raceway Park, McCune inherited the top spot thanks to Larrison’s mishap as a hungry Troy DeCaire lingered in second. When the green flag waved, DeCaire dove to the bottom in turn one and desperately tried to pry the lead away.
His attempt failed as McCune quickly eased away to a ten car length advantage while Helberg and Jason Cox jousted for a podium position in third. Helberg held on for third as the laps quickly evaporated into the hot summer night.
No one had anything for McCune though as the Ohio native notched a second consecutive win and assumed the points lead in the process.
“She was a rocket out there,” the victor offered afterwards. “This car wasn’t too fast in qualifying but we got a good invert and started out front. Rockford’s a tight track, tough to pass on, and we were going to have our hands full with Mike (Larrison) but he went around and I just tried to win that last restart. It’s been a great weekend, that’s for sure.”
Troy DeCaire's championship defense surges forward after a runner-up finish as JoJo Helberg hustled through the field for a podium effort in third. Local driver Jason Cox found himself in fourth by the end of the night while Canadian invader Ryan Litt notched a solid top five result with his fifth place finish.
Larrison rallied back into the top ten and ended up ninth while Jacob Wilson's tough luck netted him a disappointing 19th place result.
Six different drivers turned ten overall laps that broke the previous track record during qualifying. Wilson's lap of 11.308 seconds was over three tenths quicker than the previous fast lap set in 2004 by the HOSS sprint cars.
The Illini Racing Series Midgets 30-lap headliner got off to a rough and tumble beginning when Sean Murphy and Bob Adams made contact on the backstretch sending Murphy’s open-wheeled machine careening hard into the wall and ending his night early.
When the green flag waved, Tyler Deschaine drove to the lead as Lamont Critchett immediately jumped to the bottom of the quarter-mile oval initially built for this division and challenged for the top spot. With two laps in the books, Critchett cruised past Deschaine as last month’s IRS Midgets feature winner, Patrick Bruns, followed suit en route to the second spot.
Bruns quickly set his sights on the top spot, slowly closing the gap between himself and the leader as the top two encountered lapped traffic. Scott Dunning burst into a podium spot, taking over third from Deschaine as the race passed the halfway mark. As Bruns eyed an assault on the leader, a caution flew with 14 laps remaining after fast qualifier Aaron Willis Jr. and Rich Drangmeister made contact on the backstretch -- both drivers saw their night end early after the incident.
Critchett commanded the lead when racing resumed as Bruns gave chase in second. With eight laps to go, Critchett’s machine fell off the pace and Bruns burst past him, grabbing the top spot and a ten car length edge over the course of half a lap.
Whatever was ailing Critchett’s machine resolved itself as he tried to piece together a last ditch effort for the win, closing to within three car lengths but the rally ultimately fell short as Bruns headed to victory lane for the fifth time overall and the second time this season at the historic facility.
“I love Rockford, I love this series, I love the invert,” a shrieking Bruns stated in the winner’s circle. “This feels good and we’re off to a real good start this season.”
While Critchett came home second, Mike Gass worked his way up to a strong third place finish. Ray Seech settled for fourth while Scott Dunning rounded out the top five in fifth.
An awesome three nights of racing comes to a close tomorrow night with a Fourth of July special that includes the Bargain Hunter Sportsman taking to the high banks for the second time in three nights as well as the Budweiser American Short Trackers and Mtn Dew RoadRunners ‘Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’ featuring 20 laps in near darkness. Closing out another great night of holiday racing will be the fan-driven Spectacular Drags and the ’10,000 Watt Fireworks Extravaganza’ lighting up the night sky.
For more information on the Rockford Speedway, including the remaining 2011 schedule, visit the track website at www.rockfordspeedway.com or contact the Speedway Box Office at (815)633-1500.
Rockford Speedway Results
Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Car Series
'Instant Jungle 50'
1. 88 Jimmy McCune, Toledo, Ohio;
2. 1 Troy DeCaire, Tampa, Florida;
3. 7 JoJo Helberg, Santa Rosa, California;
4. 40x Jason Cox, Park City, Illinois;
5. 07l Ryan Litt, London, Ontario, Canada;
6. 20k Kyle Flint
7. 26p Aaron Pierce
8. 26 Jeff Bloom
9. 6L Mike Larrison
10. 10b Tim Cox
11. 10s Jason Blonde
12. 8b Dave Baumgartner
13. 0 Buddy Luebke
14. 11 Ron Koehler
15. 82 Travis Miniea
16. 6a Dave Gough
17. 37 Hank Lower
18. 75c Jerry Caryer
19. 07w Jacob Wilson
POSITION CAR# Driver LAP 1 LAP 2 FAST TIME
1) 07W Jacob Wilson 11.424 11.308 11.308
2) 40x Jason Cox 11.459 11.402 11.402
3) 17 Donny Adams 11.671 11.522 11.522
4) 7 JoJo Helberg 11.522 11.528 11.522
5) 07L Ryan Litt 11.534 11.537 11.534
6) 37 Hank Lower 11.580 11.821 11.580
7) 10b Tim Cox 11.755 11.589 11.589
8) 1 Troy DeCaire 11.724 11.619 11.619
9) 6L Mike Larrison 11.638 11.730 11.638
10) 26 Jeff Bloom 11.667 11.715 11.667
11) 88 Jimmy McCune 11.680 11.789 11.680
12) 6A Dave Gough 11.723 11.696 11.696
13) 10s Jason Blonde 11.837 11.850 11.837
14) 75c Jerry Caryer 11.873 11.844 11.844
15) 26p Aaron Pierce 24.662 11.878 11.878
16) 8b Dave Baumgartner 12.002 11.981
17) 20k Kyle Flint 12.202 12.011 12.011
18) 82 Travis Miniea 12.364 12.261 12.261
19) 11 Ron Koehler 12.427 12.443 12.427
20) 0 Buddy Luebke 12.585 12.431 12.431
Illini Racing Series Midgets
A-Main 01 -- 1. Patrick Bruns, Champaign; 2. Lamont Critchett, Demotte, Ind.; 3. Mike Gass, Worth; 4. Ray Seech;; 5. Scott Dunning, Bolingbrook; 6. Tyler Deschaine, Loves Park; 7. Ben Gillis, Wesmont; 8. Dave Ollendorf, Manhattan; 9. Brian Dobis, Frankfort; 10. Eddie Sauer, Davis; 11. Bob Adams, St. Charles; 12. Ryan Probst, New Lenox; 13. Aaron Willis, Jr, Essex; 14. Rich Drangmeister, Hobart, Ind.; 15. Scott Koerner, Joliet; 16. Frank Reiss, Genoa; 17. Sean Murphy, Elk Grove Village.
Heat 01 -- 1. Patrick Bruns, Champaign; 2. Mike Gass, Worth; 3. Aaron Willis, Jr, Essex; 4. Ray Seech;; 5. Sean Murphy, Elk Grove Village; 6. Lamont Critchett, Demotte, Ind.; 7. Scott Dunning, Bolingbrook; 8. Tyler Deschaine, Loves Park; 9. Ryan Probst, New Lenox.
Heat 02 -- 1. Dave Ollendorf, Manhattan; 2. Eddie Sauer, Davis; 3. Scott Koerner, Joliet; 4. Bob Adams, St. Charles; 5. Rich Drangmeister, Hobart, Ind.; 6. Ben Gillis, Wesmont; 7. Brian Dobis, Frankfort; 8. Frank Reiss, Genoa.
Time Trial -- 1. Aaron Willis, Jr, Essex; 2. Lamont Critchett, Demotte, Ind.; 3. Mike Gass, Worth; 4. Ray Seech;; 5. Patrick Bruns, Champaign; 6. Scott Dunning, Bolingbrook; 7. Sean Murphy, Elk Grove Village; 8. Tyler Deschaine, Loves Park; 9. Ryan Probst, New Lenox; 10. Bob Adams, St. Charles; 11. Scott Koerner, Joliet; 12. Ben Gillis, Wesmont; 13. Eddie Sauer, Davis; 14. Dave Ollendorf, Manhattan; 15. Rich Drangmeister, Hobart, Ind.; 16. Frank Reiss, Genoa; 17. Brian Dobis, Frankfort.
This article was posted to the website on July 3rd, 2011
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