Berlin Raceway report 2001-09-08

MARNE, MI -- Fred Campbell made Berlin Raceway history Saturday night, winning his record ninth Late Model championship on the final night of Late Model racing for the 2001 season. The nine championships break John Benson Sr.'s track record of...

MARNE, MI -- Fred Campbell made Berlin Raceway history Saturday night, winning his record ninth Late Model championship on the final night of Late Model racing for the 2001 season. The nine championships break John Benson Sr.'s track record of eight championships from 1967 to 1978.

Campbell won the Late Model 75-lap feature in dramatic fashion, holding off #12 Tim DeVos and #1 Randy Sweet to cross the finish line first ­ only to run out of gas and coast to a stop in turn 4, three-quarters of a lap after winning the race and his first championship in a decade. #47 Campbell, of Battle Creek, had gone into the day in a tight points battle, 15 points ahead of Grandville's Tom Thomas and 23 points ahead of Walker's Lee Anderson.

Anderson, #21, finished sixth in the race after spending most of the day in the top 3, gaining enough points to move up a spot and finish second in the season points. #82 Thomas fell to third overall in points after leading the race early but breaking several studs on a wheel on lap 36 and falling out of the race, finishing 19th.

Thomas took the lead from Campbell on lap one and held on to it until his misfortune on lap 36. Campbell regained the lead, but Anderson flirted with the lead on laps 37 and 38 before Campbell checked out, stretching his lead and putting lapped cars between himself and Anderson. DeVos moved up to battle Anderson for second, finally passing him on lap 55. Sweet also passed Anderson, moving into third on lap 57. DeVos and Sweet managed to close up the gap on Campbell, and DeVos made several attempts to pass him in the final seven laps of the race. Campbell managed to hold him off to win his ninth Late Model championship. Campbell also won track championships in1979-1982, 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1991.

Five cautions slowed the feature, beginning with a turn 4 incident involving #30 Brian Clay, #63 Larry Baareman and #55 Joe Mazie. #97 Doug Vandervliet spun on lap 17, then #99 Caleb Bisacky spun on the frontstretch on lap 23. On the lap 23 re-start, #37 Terry Senneker spun in turn 4, collecting Vandervliet, #33 Dave Stehouwer and #16 Jack Gritter. The final caution came out on lap 36 as #28 Scott Thomas, #71 Bob Holley and #94 Greg Usher crashed on the frontstretch.

In the Super Stock division, #97 Matt Keltner won his third straight race and seventh of the season, but #64 Rick Eding of Dorr had clinched the championship before the night's racing action began. It was also the final night of racing for the Super Stock division in the 2001 season.

Eding finished second in the 30-lap race, which was slowed by four cautions for single-car incidents. He led the first 18 laps of the race before Keltner took the lead and held it through the checkered flag. Ross Meeuwsen finished third.

The points race tightened in the Sportsman division, setting up a showdown for the September 22 season finale. Points leader #27 Billy Shotko and second-place #7 Cort Corwin, both from Grand Haven, were collected in a lap 4 crash also involving #12 Phil Greene. Shotko and Corwin suffered damage and were out of contention for the race win but both were able to remain on the lead lap.

The second and final caution of the 25-lap race occurred on lap 20, an eight-car pile-up on the backstretch involving Nick Shotko, Steve Sunde, Scott Root, Howard Litaker, Ryan Hamm, Andrew Macintosh, Jay Gipson and Corwin.

Paul Schaffer of Holland won his first feature race, followed across the finish line by Dave Cutler, Dave Lake, Mike Root and Ray Melinn. Corwin managed to gain 10 points on Shotko's points lead, finishing 11th as Shotko finished 14th. Shotko now holds just a 30-point lead going into the final race of the season.

The Sportsman championship will be determined on the final race of the season, September 22, a rain date from August 25. The ARCA series will also return to Berlin to make up their rained out event. Gates open at 11 a.m. on Sept. 22 and the first race begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $25 for pit passes. Children 5-12 are $5 and children 4 and under are free.

-BR

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