Berlin Raceway race notes 2002-07-06

Groeneveld takes first-ever Super Stock win; DeVos, Root each pick up third feature wins. MARNE, MI -- A shake-up in the Engine Pro Super Stock points and career-best finishes for several drivers highlighted an eventful evening at Berlin Raceway...

Groeneveld takes first-ever Super Stock win; DeVos, Root each pick up third feature wins.

MARNE, MI -- A shake-up in the Engine Pro Super Stock points and career-best finishes for several drivers highlighted an eventful evening at Berlin Raceway on Saturday night. A crowd of 3,633 watched Jerry Groeneveld win his first-ever Super Stock feature, while Tim DeVos and Mike Root win their third feature apiece in the Coors Light Late Model and MTA Sportsman division, respectively.

In the MTA Sportsman feature, #20 Dave Hull started from the pole position and led the first two laps, then gave up the lead to #15 Nick Shotko of Rockford, who was driving a third truck for a third different owner of the season. On lap 9 caution came out as #16 Jamie Gritter spun off the backstretch, giving up his third place position in the race. Meanwhile, #6 Terry Bockheim and points leader #9 Mike Root were marching through the field from their eighth and ninth starting positions all the way up to second and third place, respectively. After the restart, three cars broke away from the field, with leader Shotko followed by Bockheim and Root.

On lap 20 Root, a Grand Rapids native, moved into second, then passed Shotko for the lead on lap 22. A final caution flag flew on lap 23 for a #15 Scott Root spin. Mike Root drew away from the pack on the restart and the checkered flag two laps later, followed by Shotko, Bockheim, #55 Chris Anthony and #24 Lee VanDyk. Root retains his points lead, followed by Shotko, Dave Lake and Bockheim.

In the Engine Pro Super Stock feature, #33 Jerry Groeneveld took the lead from pole-sitter #51 Scott Otterbein on lap 3. The field stretched out and raced single file and caution free from there on out, a complete change from last week's demolition derby-style race. Groeneveld lapped his brother, #33 Dan Groeneveld, on lap 13, having stretched his lead to a full straightaway over Otterbein. Groeneveld continued to stretch his lead, taking the checkered flag in the 30-lap feature by almost six seconds over Otterbein, whose second-place finish was his career high. #52 Jim Idema charged past #8 Billy Eppink at the finish line for third place, with Eppink finishing fourth and his father, #3 Ross Eppink, finishing in fifth place.

For Groeneveld, a Dorr resident, it was his first-ever Engine Pro Super Stock win in his second full season in the Super Stock division. He remained in 13th position in the point standings. #X Ray Clay of Grandville took over the points lead, followed by #77 John Smith Sr. and #98 Bob Bliss. #32 Ross Meeuwsen fell from first to fourth in the points as he sits out a two-week suspension for an altercation in the pits last week.

In the Coors Light Late Model feature, #88 Tim Yonker of Alto started from the pole position and jumped out to a solid lead as #161 Lee Anderson quickly passed rookie #79 Jake Meyerink for second. On lap 17, points leader #1 Randy Sweet, who started eighth, moved into fourth place as he passed #22 Brian Campbell. Meyerink and Sweet, running in third and fourth, then closed the gap on the leaders, who had pulled away from the pack. On lap 23, Sweet attempted to pass Meyerink on the outside in turn 4, but as the cars come out of 4, Meyerink held his line while Sweet didn't back off quite enough in time and the two cars touch, tearing off most of the sheet metal from the front end of the #1 car. Sweet was sent to the back of the field as it was debris from his car that brought out the caution.

On lap 27, #101 Joe Bush and #12 Tim DeVos get around fourth place Campbell, then DeVos, who started 13th, moved into fourth and then into third around Meyerink. A second caution flag came out on lap 38 as Campbell and #82 Tom Thomas spun in turn 4, then a third and final caution came out for a frontstretch spin on the restart by #97 Doug Vander Vliet. On lap 39, Rockford's DeVos began a three-lap charge to the front of the field as he moved ahead of Anderson into second place, then moved alongside leader Yonker and took the lead for good on lap 41. Yonker held on for second, followed by Anderson, Bush and rookie Meyerink, who posted his first-ever top 5 finish. Sweet and Bush remain 1-2 in the points battle, followed by Yonker and DeVos.

Berlin Raceway will be back in action next Saturday night, July 13, with a weekly show of Coors Light Late Model, Engine Pro Super Stock and MTA Sportsman divisions. Tickets are $11 in advance and $12 at the gate for general admission and $25 for pit passes. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m.

-br-

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