DEGRAFF, Ohio – Veteran Charlie Schultz proved that experience was the key to victory lane during Friday’s inaugural event for the Must See Racing Midwest Lights Series at Shady Bowl Speedway.
Driving the No. 92 for his 410 car owner, John Reiser, Schultz inherited the top spot after polesitter and early leader Brenden Torok crashed working lap seven and led the rest of the way at the three-tenths-mile oval.
Schultz opened up a margin of more than five seconds at times during the 40-lapper and led the final 34 circuits virtually uncontested. He took the checkers 1.542 seconds clear of runner-up Dylan Watson.
“Brenden was leading pretty good … I was about a half a straightaway back, and he got into (turns) three and four a bit high, and it shot him up the race track into some speedy dry and then into the fence,” Schultz recalled. “It knocked the front end and the rear end out of his car, but that’s what put us in the lead.
“We had a good car, but we changed a bunch of stuff after the heat race and right before the feature because the car was terrible tight,” Schultz added. “Between John (Reiser), the Shark (Anthony Linkenhoker), Adam (Biltz) and myself, we got this thing rolling really good when it mattered.”
The event featured full-sized sprint cars competing with Chevrolet Performance 602 crate engines, with the long-term goal being for the Midwest Lights Series to become a feeder pipeline for drivers to later step up to the premier 410ci series under the Must See Racing banner.
Schultz started fourth on the grid Friday night, but had passed up to second by lap five, just two tours before Torok hit the wall and dropped from contention. Torok, 16, ended up ninth in the final rundown.
Toward the front of the field, it was a race for second after Schultz assumed command, with Watson grabbing the position on lap 18 and chasing Schultz for the remaining distance.
Jason Rader filled out the podium, followed by J.J. Henes and Joey Wyckoff.
Tim Henthorne was the final car on the lead lap in sixth place.
Schultz was quick to point out after the race that Friday night’s debut Midwest Lights race was a solid first step and that the series should grow as the season goes on, along with the talent in the field.
“I think this series will turn into a really viable thing, it just takes time when you’re building something,” Schultz noted. “It’s really cost-effective and a good stepping stone for guys to learn the sprint cars on pavement before they move up into the 410s. That’s what the goal is for this deal and I can see the path that Jim and Nancy (Hanks) want to take with it. I think it’s going to be a good thing as it grows.
“It’s cool to be the first Must See Midwest Lights winner,” Schultz continued. “I was the first King of Wings (supermodified) winner at Oswego (Speedway in New York) back 10 or 11 years ago, and now we’ve gotten another first here this weekend and those things are always special to our race team.”
The next race for the Must See Racing Midwest Lights Series will be July 18 at Lorain County Speedway, a companion event with the national Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro.
RESULTS: Must See Racing Midwest Lights Series; Shady Bowl Speedway; July 3, 2020
Qualifying (best of two laps): 1. 12-Dylan Watson, 11.985; 2. 90-Joey Wyckoff, 12.259; 3. 92-Charlie Schultz, 12.365; 4. 36-J.J. Henes, 12.510; 5. 52-Jason Rader, 12.680; 6. 99-Brenden Torok, 12.743; 7. 51s-Joshua Sexton, 12.756; 8. 15t-Tim Henthorne, 12.807; 9. 63-James Rader, 12.864.
Heat #1 (10 laps, all transfer): 1. Tim Henthorne , 2. Jason Rader , 3. Brenden Torok , 4. Joshua Sexton , 5. James Rader .
Heat #2 (10 laps, all transfer): 1. Dylan Watson , 2. J.J. Henes , 3. Charlie Schultz , 4. Joey Wyckoff .
Engine Pro Feature (40 laps): 1. 92-Charlie Schultz , 2. 12-Dylan Watson , 3. 52-Jason Rader , 4. 36-J.J. Henes , 5. 90-Joey Wyckoff , 6. 15t-Tim Henthorne , 7. 63-James Rader , 8. 51s-Joshua Sexton , 9. 99-Brenden Torok .
Feature Lap Leader(s): Brenden Torok 1-6, Charlie Schultz 7-40.
Hard Charger: 12-Dylan Watson (+4)