Berlin Raceway race notes 2004-09-04

VanDyk, Smith Sr., DeVos win as season enters final month MARNE, MI -- Lee VanDyk, John Smith Sr. and Tim DeVos, all multiple-race winners this season, won the Standale Lumber Sportsman, Engine Pro Super Stock and Coors Light Late Model...

VanDyk, Smith Sr., DeVos win as season enters final month

MARNE, MI -- Lee VanDyk, John Smith Sr. and Tim DeVos, all multiple-race winners this season, won the Standale Lumber Sportsman, Engine Pro Super Stock and Coors Light Late Model features, respectively. As the season winds down, only the Engine Pro Super Stock division championship looks like a lock, while the points races tightened in the other two divisions.

In the 25-lap Standale Lumber Sportsman feature, #24 Lee VanDyk of Grand Rapids made a flashy move on lap 7, splitting #86 Ray Melinn and polesitter #25 Dave Willet to take the lead. On lap 8, Willet spun alone in turn 4 to bring out the first caution. Three laps later Willet spun again, this time alone in turn 2. The first three cars of VanDyk, #55 Dave Lake and Melinn stretched out to comfortable margins, with the best battle on the track coming between #21 Terry Van Haitsma and #52 Bruce Chase for fourth. On lap 20, two separate incidents on opposite sides of the track brought out the third caution; in turn 1, #99 Todd Root and #23 Chris Koslek got together and slid up the track; Koslek's car was towed off the track and could not continue. Meanwhile in turn 3, Chase and Van Haitsma, still battling for fourth, got together, with Chase's car suffering too much damage to continue but points leader Van Haitsma coming out of it okay and getting his position back. The top four cars held their positions through the end of the race, with VanDyk picking up his fourth Powerflex Trophy presented by Hastings Manufacturing Co. sponsored by Engine Pro of the season. Lake finished second, followed by Melinn, Van Haitsma and #20 Dave Hull. #99 Todd Root won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing 8 positions to finish 13th. Van Haitsma remains the points leader by 108 points over Lake, but Lake shaved another points off Van Haitsma's lead with three races to go.

In the 30-lap Engine Pro Super Stock feature, the first 13 laps were completed caution free before #8 Billy Eppink and #71 Brandon Braisted crashed in turn 4. #30 Zach Dunson led the race, but it was #76 Warren Speet and #1 Brian Wiersma who were moving up through the field side by side, sandwiching several drivers in the process. Wiersma made a big move from fifth to third on lap 21, but on lap 23, Wiersma, leader Dunson and #H7 John Smith Sr. outside go three wide going into turn 3; Wiersma, on the inside, spun to bring out the caution. Back to green flag racing, and Dunson managed to hold off the faster car of Smith until the final lap, when Smith passed Dunson on the outside in turn 2, denying Dunson of his first-ever victory by coming home to win his third Clevite Trophy presented by The Dana Corp. sponsored by Engine Pro of the season. Dunson finished second, followed by Speet, #5 Ray VanAllsburg and #13 James Haney. #52 Jim Idema won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing 8 positions to finish 12th. Wiersma, who finished 13th, is a virtual lock for the division championship, leading VanAllsburg by 263 points with two races to go. Wiersma now just needs to start the features in the last two races to win the championship.

The Coors Light Late Model feature also started out with the first half of the race running caution free, with #33 Dave Stehouwer leading the first 12 laps, then #37 Terry Senneker taking over the lead through lap 21. On lap 22, #12 Tim DeVos charged past Senneker for the lead. On lap 29 #82 Tom Thomas spun alone on the frontstretch wall, then one lap later #57 Rick Sennker spun and backed his car into the turn 3 wall. On the lap 30 restart, #9 Mike Root, Thomas and #161 Alan Marcott cars piled hard into the turn 4 wall. The final caution came out on lap 38, when #57 Rick Senneker spun, coming to a stop sideways in turn 3. His cousin Terry Senneker, who led earlier in the race and was currently running in second, had no place to go with the track blocked in front of him and hit the wall hard. Both cars were knocked out of the race. DeVos continued to lead through all those cautions (a total of 86 laps including cautions) and went on to win his second Fel-Pro Trophy presented by The Federal Mogul Group sponsored by Engine Pro of the season. Stehouwer finished second, followed by #47 Fred Campbell, #101 Joe Bush and #22 Brian Campbell. #101 Lee Anderson, who was the fastest qualifier but had to borrow the #21 car of Johnny VanDoorn for the feature after his own car broke, therefore starting in the back of the pack, was named the Valvoline Hard Charger by advancing 11 positions to finish 16th in the feature. Bush leads teammate Anderson by 80 points in the season standings.

Racing action resumes Saturday night, September 11, with the Auto Value Super Sprint Series coming to Marne for the second time this year for a 30-lap race presented by Auto Value. The Coors Light Late Model and Standale Lumber Sportsman divisions will also compete. Tickets are $15 in advance and $16 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.

-www.berlinraceway.com.

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