DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 16, 1998) Kyle Berck, of Marquette, Neb., has won the highly competitive NASCAR Winston Racing Series Midwest Region championship. Berck, 29, is a grain farmer who travels with his family-based three-person...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 16, 1998)
Kyle Berck, of Marquette, Neb., has won the highly competitive NASCAR Winston Racing Series Midwest Region championship. Berck, 29, is a grain farmer who travels with his family-based three-person team more than 300 miles each weekend to the southwest Iowa Adams County Speedway dirt track.
"We've been fortunate over our racing careers to have won several track championships," said Berck. "But nothing carries the magnitude that a NASCAR Winston Racing Series regional title carries." For four years the talented driver has been ranked among the the top competitors in the Midwest Region, each year earning an invitation to the champions' banquet in Nashville, Tenn. Each previous year, however, Berck and his team fell short of the coveted championship position worth $39,500.
"We took a few years off and did some racing in other places," said Berck. "Then we figured out that NASCAR was the place we needed to be. We came back this year and our game plan was to chase the regional championship. It worked out really good for us, but it sure added some pressure."
Pressure, and how a team and driver cope with it, can make the difference between a championship season and a frustrating season. For Berck and his team, these champions ran strong and consistent all season, generating eight wins in 18 starts.
Perhaps even more impressive is that the team accomplished the feat without replacing key chassis parts or having mechanical difficulties, and without ever freshening its engine. These are practices some teams do more frequently than once a year.
Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa, is a half-mile dirt track with long straightaways and fast corners. For Berck, a driver who started his racing career in go-carts at 10 years of age, the track seemed to be a natural fit.
"You never know what to expect when you race on dirt," said Berck. "That's why I like it so much. There's so many variables and more adjusting for track conditions. If there's extra moisture, or extra bite, we adjust."
Still, 19 years after his first go-cart race, the childlike experience of first getting into a race car has not left Kyle Berck.
"I get pretty excited or anxious when it comes to race day," said Berck. "You get butterflies going and I get more intense. You think in November those feelings won't come at the champions' banquet. But when I'm at the banquet in Nashville, I absolutely feel that when I walk up on that stage I'll feel the tension in my stomach and the anxieties and the butterflies."
For Kyle Berck and his fellow competitors, that's what racing is about. Butterflies and anxiousness and an excitement you feel but can't describe. It's a feeling that compels them to race.
Berck, however, has achieved what so many drivers hope for. A NASCAR Winston Racing Series regional championship.
Source: NASCAR Online