OVID, Mich. – Though he hasn’t been able to race “a whole lot” through the summer months of the season, Brian Gerster’s will to win has in no way diminished.
That passion for competition was on full display Saturday night at Owosso Speedway, as Gerster dominated to score the victory in round one of Must See Racing’s Border Wars doubleheader.
Gerster took the lead from Jason Blonde on lap 11 of the 40-lap sprint car feature and never looked back, driving away over the second half en route to his first series win of the season.
Saturday night’s triumph was the 22nd of Gerster’s Must See Racing career, second only to Jimmy McCune’s series-leading 31 wins, and one that the Indiana veteran described as “much-needed.”
“Us drivers don’t like to talk about it much, but I’m getting older and these (wins) are fewer and farther between, now,” admitted Gerster in victory lane. “That being said, it’s really cool to win a race tonight. The 88 car (Jimmy McCune) I knew was going to be tough, but I saw he had some trouble there, so that was certainly a help in a way. It still wasn’t easy, though; we still had to race the 42 (Jason Blonde) and the 9 (Charlie Schultz) … even the 8 (Anthony McCune) was quick. There’s a lot of good cars in the field.
“I hope the fans enjoyed that show, because this is a neat little race track and we enjoy coming here.”
Blonde started third but powered to the lead on the opening lap, passing polesitter Joe Liguori in turn three before Johnny Petrozelle III and Tom Geren tangled on the backstretch a half-lap later to draw the first yellow flag of the night.
The collision sheared the left-front wheel off Petrozelle’s Mike Blake Racing sprinter, ending his night, while Geren also retired after his car left the track on the back of a flatbed.
From there, the course of the race shifted further working lap four, when Jimmy McCune spun from fourth place coming onto the frontstretch to bring another caution out, slowing the pace again.
That relegated the elder McCune to 16th place for the restart, where he took just four laps to improve 10 positions and get back inside the front six. Meanwhile, Blonde, Schultz and Gerster put on an epic battle for the lead up front, with Schultz nearly making a slide job stick several times at the front.
Gerster finally wrested second away on the ninth round, and it was just two more circuits before he ducked inside Blonde to take a lead he wouldn’t relinquish after that.
“This is the best car that we’ve had here at Owosso, start to finish through the feature,” Gerster noted later on. “We were able to get a win here last year, but we were struggling at the end and the 88 was coming hard on us there. Luckily it wasn’t 50 laps last year. But the car was really, really good tonight.
“I’m pretty excited to win a race. We haven’t raced a whole lot this summer. This one is fun.”
After moving into the top spot, Gerster set a blistering pace, opening up nearly four seconds over the field before a lap-21 yellow for a slowing Ryan Litt bunched the field back up one more time.
The final restart of the night saw Schultz power back past Blonde to reclaim the runner-up position, but behind them, Jimmy McCune was charging through the field like a man possessed.
McCune was up to fourth at the 12 to go benchmark, then split his nephew Anthony and the lapped car of Joe Speakman to grab a podium position with nine circuits left.
His final hurrah came with four to go, when he drove around Schultz to secure the runner-up spot, but by then Gerster was gone by a whopping 5.784 seconds.
That left Jimmy McCune to settle for a frustrating second, instead of his third win of the season.
“Our night wasn’t too bad. Second sucks, but you know how it is,” said McCune. “The car got tight on me? I shook it loose and it got really loose. We spun it after that … and it’s uncharacteristic; I don’t think I’ve spun out in about 10 years, but we did tonight and we still came back to second.
“I just wish we would have had the whole race to show that 50 what we really had.”
Schultz completed the podium, followed by Anthony McCune and fast qualifier Ryan Litt.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.