Berlin Raceway report 2002-08-17

Sweet regains points lead; Hennip claims first feature victory MARNE, MI - Five-time Coors Light Late Model champion Randy Sweet regained the top spot in the points race for the first time since July 6, winning his fourth race of the season ...

Sweet regains points lead; Hennip claims first feature victory

MARNE, MI - Five-time Coors Light Late Model champion Randy Sweet regained the top spot in the points race for the first time since July 6, winning his fourth race of the season Saturday night. MTA Sportsman driver Lee VanDyk also won for the fourth time this season, while Jeff Hennip won for the first time in his Berlin Raceway career in the Engine Pro Super Stock division in front of a crowd of 4,905.

In the MTA Sportsman feature, the 25-lap feature began with #31 Mike Bursley on the pole, and a long green-flag run ensued, allowing the whole field to stretch out into single-file racing. On lap 13, #15 Scott Root, running in second position, spun after light contact with #24 Lee VanDyk, who was trying to pass for the position. Two laps after the restart, VanDyk took the lead from Bursley. On lap 19, points leader #9 Mike Root passed #55 Chris Anthony and #55 Dave Lake for the third position in what was the best battle on the track. Grand Rapids native VanDyk went on to take the checkered flag for his fourth victory of the season, followed by Bursley, Mike Root, Anthony and Lake.

In the Engine Pro Super Stock feature, #9 Jeff Hennip of Kentwood started on the pole and took the lead on the first lap. On lap 3, #29 Steve Sunde spun in turn 3,shaking up several other cars, including#26 Chris Muyskens, who hit the outside wall on the frontstretch hard, and #97 Matt Keltner, who spun to avoid hitting Muyskens. On the lap 3 restart, points leader #X Ray Clay, who started in eight position, was off the pace and faded backwards for half a lap before regaining the pace. Keltner was on the move - after starting from the 10th position and despite the lap 3 spin, he was battling #42 Matt Piersma for fourth place by lap 8. Keltner finally claimed that position. Meanwhile, Hennip, in his third year in the Super Stock division, was running away with the lead by a quarter of a lap ahead of #32 Ross Meeuwsen. On lap 26 of the 30-lap race, #36 Dan Groeneveld and Clay spun on the frontstretch, bringing out the yellow flag and erasing Hennip's huge lead. Hennip was able to hang on for the final four-lap shootout to take his first-ever checkered flag, a popular victory among his competitors. Meewusen came home second, followed by Keltner, #14 Jon Arendsen and #33 Jerry Groeneveld.

In the Coors Light Late Model feature, points leader #47 Fred Campbell slowed and slid to the edge of the backstretch on lap 3, bringing out the first caution of the night. #1 Randy Sweet of Kalamazoo, a fife-time track champion who went into the night in third place in points, started seventh but had moved up to third by lap 7, then passed #11 John Grega for second on lap 9. Sweet then took the lead from pole-sitter #12 Tim DeVos and dominated the race through a long green-flag run, lapping 14th-place Campbell by lap 33. Caution slowed Sweet and the field on lap 41 for fluid on the track, then onlap 43 #16 Jack Gritter broke a tie-rod to bring out the final caution of the night. Sweet drove on to the checkered flag by a 4.418 second margin over second-place DeVos, followed by #82 Tom Thomas, Grega and #27 Billy Shotko. The win moved Sweet to the points lead over Campbell for the first time since July 6.

Berlin Raceway will be back in action next Saturday night, August 24, 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.

- www.berlinraceway.com -

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