Berlin Raceway race report 2001-07-21

Rookie Nick Shotko beats brother to checkered flag Meeuwsen, Campbell take first points wins of the year MARNE, MI -- Rookie Nick Shotko, in only his second feature race ever, took the checkered flag in Saturday night's Sportsman feature race ...

Rookie Nick Shotko beats brother to checkered flag
Meeuwsen, Campbell take first points wins of the year

MARNE, MI -- Rookie Nick Shotko, in only his second feature race ever, took the checkered flag in Saturday night's Sportsman feature race at Berlin Raceway to capture the first win of his short career. It was an emotional night for the Shotko family of Grand Haven, as 21-year-old Nick was followed closely by older brother #27 Billy Shotko, current Sportsman points leader, across the finish line.

Less than eight and a half minutes elapsed from the green flag to the checkered in the quick 25-lap event, which went caution-free. A four-car crash coming out of turn 4 on the last lap, involving #8 Paul Schaffer, #9 Mike Root, #15 Scott Root and #10 Jay Gipson, was the only incident.

Nick Shotko started from the third position with his #19 truck and worked his way into the lead on lap seven by passing pole-sitter Andrew MacIntosh. Older brother Billy, 25, was the fastest qualifier, but started 10th after the roll of the dice and inversion of the top 10 qualifiers. Billy steadily worked his way through the field, closing in on his brother in the last few laps to finish just a truck-length behind him. Finishing in third was MacIntosh, followed by Dave Cutler and Bruce Chase.

Billy added 30 points to his lead over Cort Corwin in the season points standings, now holding a 58 point margin thanks to the top qualifying time and the second-place feature finish. The top seven points positions remained unchanged. Nick climbed two spots to 28th in the points after skipping the first four races of the season.

In the Super Stock division, #32 Ross Meeuwsen of Zeeland and #98 Bob Bliss of Dorr traded paint throughout the race in exciting short-track trademark style. Meeuwsen pulled away from the field to claim his first victory of the season, crossing the finish line a solid 1.735 seconds ahead of #14 Jon Arendsen, followed by #53 Tom Sprague, #42 Matt Piersma and Bliss.

Four cautions slowed the race, including a first-lap pile-up on the frontstretch involving #78 Paul McGraw, #64 Rick Eding, #3 Ross Eppink and #9 Jeff Hennip. Points leader #97 Matt Keltner spun on lap 2; #5 T.J. Westveld and #8 Billy Eppink spun on the backstretch on lap 12; and Eding, who switched to Jim Idema's #52 car after destroying his car in the first-lap crash (since the race isn't officially started until a clean first lap is completed, Eding - in the championship points race - could legally switch cars to gain driver points), spun in turn 4 on lap 23 of the 30-lap race.

The top eight positions in the Super Stock season points standings remain unchanged, with Eding leading Keltner, followed by Ray Clay and Meeuwsen.

In the 50-lap Late Model feature, #47 Fred Campbell battled #21 Lee Anderson all the way, distancing themselves from the rest of the field. Campbell crossed the finish line a car length in front of Anderson to win his first points race of the season. Campbell, of Battle Creek, also won a non-points event, the Scott Baker Invitational, in May. The #12 car of Tim DeVos finished third, followed by #71 Bob Holley and #11 Leroy Magoon.

Two caution flags were thrown in the race - a lap 8 two-car spin involving #74 Paul Namey and #01 Brian Wiersma and a lap 26 single-car spin by #16 Jack Gritter.

Campbell maintains his points lead over Tom Thomas and Anderson as the top five places remain unchanged.

Racing will return to Berlin Raceway next Saturday night, July 28, in the 51st Anniversary race. The three regular racing divisions - Sportsman, Super Stock and Late Model - will take the track. Fireworks follow the racing action. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $20 for pit passes. Children 5-12 are $5 and children 4 and under are free.

-BR-

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