BIRCH RUN, Mich. – Anthony McCune’s quiet podium finish during Friday night’s Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro feature at Birch Run Speedway might not have seemed like much at first glance.
However, it could go a long way towards determining the season championship later in the year.
The nephew of four-time Must See Racing champion Jimmy McCune raced his way from fifth on the grid to a third-place finish during the Firecracker Night of Speed 30-lap feature at the four-tenths-mile oval.
Anthony McCune’s run, combined with his uncle’s failure to start the main event due to engine trouble discovered after his heat race, meant that the younger McCune found himself catapulted into the points lead for the first time in his young sprint car career.
In fact, it’s the first time the points sheet has had a name other than Jimmy McCune at the top of the order since Aug. 7, 2015 – the day before the Toledo, Ohio veteran took the lead for good on the way to his first of four consecutive series championships.
That nugget wasn’t lost on Anthony McCune after Friday’s race, though he admitted his primary focus had been on going to victory lane.
“It’s definitely a different position, one that I’ve never been in, for sure,” noted Anthony McCune. “I wasn’t even thinking about the points all day, though, to be honest. We just wanted to go out and have a good day, maybe get a win if the car was there. We’ve been close a few times, just not close enough.
“To have the points lead is cool, though. The problem now is that we have to figure out how to keep it.”
Anthony McCune kept his No. 8 Abe’s Auto Parts/B&B Machinery Movers sprinter inside the top five all race long after starting there, though it wasn’t until a restart with five to go that he was able to close up to and subsequently pass Charlie Schultz for the show position.
Following on from his runner-up finish at the season opener in May at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway, it was the fourth-generation driver’s second podium in two races to kick off the year.
“I had to kind of dive in on Charlie a bit there, but at the end of the day, it was a move that I felt I had to make to get where I needed to be,” Anthony McCune said. “It worked, thankfully, and we were able to bring home another solid finish.”
Anthony McCune leads Schultz by 10 points in the standings, with Jimmy McCune sitting back in seventh, 43 points adrift and in the lowest position he’s been in points in four full years.
The new championship leader isn’t focused on where his rivals are right now, though. He’s just worried about making his own team stronger.
“I can’t control what anyone else does, so I’m going to stay focused on my car,” said Anthony McCune. “If we do that, then hopefully the points will take care of themselves as we go here.”
The next Must See Racing Sprint Car Series event is scheduled for Aug. 10 at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway.