Berlin: Round 12 preview

ARCA RE/MAX Series Returns to Berlin Raceway for Mid-Summer Sizzler MARNE MI (7-20-07) -- After back-to-back superspeedway classics at Pocono and Michigan, the ARCA RE/MAX Series, in its 55th consecutive season, is headed back to the ...

ARCA RE/MAX Series Returns to Berlin Raceway for Mid-Summer Sizzler

MARNE MI (7-20-07) -- After back-to-back superspeedway classics at Pocono and Michigan, the ARCA RE/MAX Series, in its 55th consecutive season, is headed back to the short-track world for the Request Foods-GFS 200 Saturday, July 7 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan.

The event marks the halfway point on one of the most competitive seasons in series history. In 11 events so far, there have been nine different winners. Yet with plenty of new flavor challenging the old guard, it's still business as usual for eight-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel, who sits atop the championship point standings headed to Berlin.

"Berlin's a racy little track," said the Clarksville, Indiana driver. "It's a lot of fun to drive. There's always plenty of passing. It's certainly not a follow-the-leader deal. But to be good there, it's more than driving the wheels off the thing; it's about having a car that's handling. It's a tight little track because you're always turning, so handling is key."

Despite being the point leader, no doubt Kimmel is feeling the heat with five-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart trailing in second. Gerhart, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, started the season off with a record fifth Daytona triumph followed up by consistent performance.

"We're definitely looking forward to going back to Berlin," said Gerhart. "We've not had the greatest luck there over the years, but I really like the track. It's tight, but there's still plenty of room to pass. I think we're going to have a very good piece for Berlin."

Westby, Wisconsin driver Dexter Bean, coming off a career-tying runner-up finish at Pocono, is currently third in points.

"We finished 12th there (Berlin) last year on the lead lap, but we know we can do better," said Bean. "We know we have to do better. But Berlin reminds me of some of the short-tracks back home we used to run. I'm definitely looking forward to going back."

Springfield, Illinois's Justin Allgaier and Phoenix, Arizona rookie Michael McDowell are fourth and fifth in points respectively.

Entries already include last year's race winner Brian Keselowski of Rochester Hills, Michigan. In last year's race, Keselowski held off a last-lap charge from Kimmel to earn his career-first series victory at the same track his father Bob Keselowski (1989 ARCA National Champion) won his first series race at.

Kimmel is the all-time ARCA RE/MAX Series winner at Berlin with three victories. Other winners at Berlin include Brian Keselowski, Joey Miller, Bob James, Tim Steele, Fred Campbell, Andy Hampton, Iggy Katona, Bob Keselowski, Bob Senneker, Harold Smith, Les Snow, Nelson Stacy, Ramo Stott and Don White.

The diverse, nationally touring ARCA RE/MAX Series, which competes each season on everything from superspeedways to dirt tracks, first began racing at Berlin Raceway in 1958. The July 7, 2007 Request Foods-GFS 200 marks the 20th series appearance at Berlin.

ARCA RE/MAX Series teams begin converging at Berlin at 10:00 am on Saturday, July 7 for registration and hauler parking. The garage area also opens at 10:00 am. Cars take to the track from 2:30-4:00 pm for a practice session, followed by SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying at 5:00 pm. The Request Foods-GFS 200 rolls off at 8:30 pm on Saturday night.

Berlin Raceway is located five miles west of Grand Rapids on Interstate 96, exit 23. Then, go .3-mile south on 16th Avenue, then west to the Berlin Fairgrounds.

Tickets are available by calling Berlin Raceway at (616) 677-5000.

-credit: arca

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Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Bobby Gerhart , Tim Steele , Michael McDowell , Justin Allgaier , Joey Miller , Dexter Bean , Brian Keselowski