ARCA rookie Miller dominates Berlin Koslek, Bockheim win weekly division features MARNE, MI -- Rookie Joey Miller took the boys to school Saturday night at Berlin Raceway. The Farmington, Minnesota driver, after winning the Pork Pole award, ...
ARCA rookie Miller dominates Berlin
Koslek, Bockheim win weekly division features
MARNE, MI -- Rookie Joey Miller took the boys to school Saturday night at Berlin Raceway. The Farmington, Minnesota driver, after winning the Pork Pole award, dominated the ARCA RE/MAX Series Request Foods/Sara Lee 200 presented by GFS Marketplace, leading 162 of 202 laps en route to his second series triumph. In Berlin's weekly divisions, Terry Bockheim of Grand Rapids won his fifth Standale Interiors Sportsman feature and Chris Koslek of Grand Rapids won his second straight Standale Lumber Pro Stock feature.
While the ARCA RE/MAX racing was extremely intense in his mirror, Miller's #9 Country Joe Homes-Eagle Creek Aviation Dodge was on a rail from the start.
"To win at this racetrack really means a lot," said Miller. "Because so many good drivers have won here. It's a really cool place. As good as this car was tonight, if we would have come away with anything less than a win, it would have been a major disappointment."
Two-time USAC national sprint car champion Brian Tyler, in only his second series start, challenged occasionally in traffic and finished three lengths back in second, driving the #48 Lynch Pro-Formance Chevy.
"In traffic we might have been better," said Tyler. "We caught him (Miller) a couple times, but in the open, we had nothing for him. I'm looking for experience and seat-time, so I'm pretty happy."
The race for third brought back memories for many and the fans to their feet when series champions Tim Steele and Frank Kimmel banged doors on the final lap. Steele, in the #44 HS Die-Visi Cad Cam Ford, beat Kimmel to the stripe by inches to claim the third position.
"We'll take that," said Steele, who started 15th. "We haven't been able to buy a break all year. So we'll take a third today. Winning's always nice, but with the year we've been having, we'll take a third."
Kimmel, in the #46 Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford, was fourth after making several unscheduled pit stops for handling issues. Holt, Michigan driver Gary Sherman, in the #76 Dave Hausbeck Trucking Chevrolet, finished fifth.
Miller, who made only one pit stop for four tires and fuel, led at the onset and immediately pulled away from the pack. Miller led up through lap 74 before handing the top spot off to #25 Jason Jarrett while the eventual winner pitted. Jarrett led the next 18 laps before he too pitted, putting #67 Chad Blount, who already pitted twice for adjustments, into the lead. Blount managed to lead 13 laps before Tyler took control just past the halfway point. But by then, Miller had picked his way back through the pack and passed Tyler, who led nine laps, to take control for good.
A late-race caution, one of 14 throughout for the typical short-track beating and banging, prompted series officials to extend the race two more laps to procure a mandatory green-flag finish.
Jarrett's day eventually ended with overheating issues well shy of the finish.
David Ragan, in his first Berlin attempt, finished sixth in the #90 31-W Insulation Pontiac. Blount, who was penalized for rough driving late in the race, charged back to finish seventh in the Foretravel Motorhomes Chevrolet. Blount also received the Weld Wheels Halfway Leader award. West Olive, Michigan driver #72 Billy Shotko, a regular in Berlin Raceway's Coors Light Late Model division, finished eighth over Brian Keselowski, who steered the #29 Dusty's Collision Dodge to the finish in ninth. Rookie Brett Hudson finished 10th in the #62 Hudson Machine Chevrolet. Chris Anthony, another Berlin Late Model regular, finished 28th in his Kent Beverage-Johnson Electric #39 Chevy.
The Standale Interiors Sportsman 25-lap feature started with #81 Marc Coleman on the pole, but #33 Allen Davis quickly took over the point position on lap 2. A caution on lap 9 for a spin by #51 Sara Moerman didn't shake up the leaders, with Davis maintaining his lead until lap 18. #6 Terry Bockheim and #2 Shawn Simon forced Davis's hand on that lap, making it three wide before Bockheim claimed the top position. Davis ran second but had his hands full holding off Simon, who made the pass for second position with one lap to go. Bockheim, a Grand Rapids native in his 19th season at Berlin, held the lead and came home to his fifth feature win of the season, solidifying his points lead. Simon finished second, followed by Davis, #15 Mat McClarren and #13 Brad Haney.
In the Standale Lumber Pro Stock division, a caution on lap 9 as #15 Casey Berenbrock got into the back of #55 Dave Lake, and as they both slowed to regroup, #20 Dave Hull rear-ended Berenbrock, who spun. After the restart, #40 Dave Cutler led but #23 Chris Koslek raced alongside him for several laps before taking the lead on lap 15. Another caution on lap 18 for #15 Pete Ruttan, who hit the turn 3 wall hard, and #99 Todd Root, who was also involved. Meanwhile, #77 Andrew Nylaan and #89 Kirk Meissner bounced off each other trying to steer clear of the wreck. On the lap 18 restart, #71 Kyle Ballard jumped alongside Cutler for second, but Cutler maintained his position. Koslek stretched out his lead as the traffic jam was behind fifth-position Meissner. Koslek went on to win his second straight and third career Standale Lumber Pro Stock feature, ahead of Cutler, Ballard, Hull and Meissner.
Berlin Raceway is back in action next Saturday, July 23, for a weekly race including all four divisions during Berlin Fair Week. Tickets are $11 in advance and $12 at the gate for general admission (kids 3 to 12 are half price and 2 and under are free). Grandstand gate admission does not include $3 Fair admission. Pit passes for those 16 and over are $25. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m.