One of the newest teams on the Auto Value Super Sprints Series circuit, the Temperance-based Rapp Racing Team, is one of the favorites to win the winged sprint car portion of Friday night's “Fastest Short Track Show in the World” at Toledo Speedway.
This is because, although the team might be new, its two key players, 74-year-old car owner Benny Rapp and 26-year-old driver Jimmy McCune both are veterans of the sport.
For Rapp, the 2002 season is the first time since 1946 that he is not behind the wheel of a race car in competition. Even though Rapp says that he's “getting too old for driving,” he quickly adds, “I still enjoy being around the sport. I wouldn't be without it.” So today Rapp, from Temperance, is still very busy both on and off the track keeping his No. 14 sprint car race-ready for McCune, of Sylvania.
One of the reasons Rapp chose McCune to drive his sprint car, which for the third season in a row is powered by a Chuck Noonen, Performance Machine-built 410-cubic-inch engine, is that “he drives like I used to.”
While McCune, a Northview High School alumnus, might be almost five decades younger than his car owner, he brings to the team 14 years of driving experience.
One of the newest ventures McCune has experienced this season is driving in the Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway.
McCune said that driving a non-wing sprint car for hundreds of laps on a quarter-mile, high-banked asphalt track along with 32 other cars can be extremely tiring, “but you're always busy so you don't realize you're running so many laps. There's so much traffic most of the race that you don't have time to think about how tired you're getting.”
So how did he feel at the end of the night? “I can't wait to do it again next year.”
McCune finished 14th in the Little 500 when an oil leak on lap 420 forced him to park Rapp's Abe's Auto Parts, Battery Exchange, Telegraph Brake and Clutch, Pipeline Oil Sales, Lyten Oil-sponsored red No. 14. Continuously running in the top 10, McCune had passed all but the first and second-place cars before he was sidelined.
Friday at Toledo Speedway, the New York-based International Super Modified Association (ISMA) Super Modifieds and the Michigan-based Auto Value Super Sprints (AVSS) will once again compete in separate race cards on the same night in the second annual “Fastest Short Track Show in the World.”
With the repaving of Toledo's high-banked, half-mile oval, the quest is on to see who will hold the bragging rights to being the fastest race car in the world. Drivers from more than 10 states and Canada are expected to enter the prestigious event.
Gary Fedewa of Holt, Mich., holds the track record at 13.570 seconds, set last year in his AVSS winged sprinter. The ISMA machines were just a tick behind at 13.600, but all bets are on again as both groups will go against the clock in the much-anticipated time trials. In the 2001 edition, Lou Cicconi topped the ISMA show, and Fedewa made a last-lap pass to take the AVSS feature race.
After time trials, each touring series will compete in heat races, last-chance events and their feature races. Practice will begin at 3:30 p.m., time trials are set for 5:30 and racing begins at 7:30.
Cabela's ARCA Day will be at the Dundee, Mich., retail store tonight. The event is in conjunction with the ARCA RE/MAX and NASCAR Winston Cup races at Michigan International Speedway this weekend.
An autograph session will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., with RE/MAX drivers Frank Kimmel, Jason Jarrett and Ron Cox slated to meet fans. A host of ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series, ARCA Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Midget Series and Flat Rock (Mich.) and Toledo Speedway drivers also will take part in the autograph session and will have their race cars on display.
The pre-entered USAC sprint car drivers list includes: Jonathan Vennard, Vincennes, Ind.; Dave Darland, Lincoln, Ind.; Jon Stanbrough, Jamestown, Ind.; Brandon Petty, Alexandria, Ind.; Derek Davidson, Terre Haute, Ind.; Tracy Hines, Greenfield, Ind.; Tony Elliott, Indianapolis; Levi Jones, Olney, Ill., and Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson.
Entered in the midgets are Darland and J.J. Yeley, Phoenix; Steve Paden, Downey, Calif.; Ron Gregory, Nobleville, Ind.; Bobby East, Brownsburg, Ind., and Ryan Scott of Concord, N.C.
These same cars and drivers will be in action at Attica Raceway Park Wednesday, June 19, and at Eldora Speedway on June 22.