Berlin Raceway race report 2001-09-01

Sweet holds off Anderson for Late Model victory Super Sprint driver Tom Fedewa sets Berlin speed record MARNE, MI -- Former track champion Randy Sweet returned to championship form Saturday night at Berlin Raceway, holding off a hard-charging...

Sweet holds off Anderson for Late Model victory
Super Sprint driver Tom Fedewa sets Berlin speed record

MARNE, MI -- Former track champion Randy Sweet returned to championship form Saturday night at Berlin Raceway, holding off a hard-charging Lee Anderson to claim the victory in the Late Model division. Matt Keltner claimed his sixth Super Stock feature win of the season and Cort Corwin tightened up the points race in the Sportsman division with a feature win.

The Auto Value Super Sprint Series was also in town, rounding out a packed night of racing action in front of 5,290 fans on the holiday weekend. Super Sprint driver Tom Fedewa of Leslie, MI, set a Berlin Raceway record with his qualifying speed of 13.080 seconds, over 120 miles per hour, breaking his own two-year-old record and proving that the Auto Value Super Sprints are the fastest cars to ever hit the pavement at Berlin Raceway in the track's 51-year history.

In the Super Stock division, a clean race headlined the first 27 laps of the 30-lap feature. The #14A car of Jon Arendsen led the first 27 laps from the pole, slowed only by a lap 19 caution for debris on the track. The #77 of John Smith Sr. followed Arendsen in second place until lap 20, when #97 Keltner passed him on the high side for the second position. Ross Meeuwsen followed Keltner, racing Smith side-by-side for several laps.

The #8 car of Billy Eppink crashed in turn 2 of lap 28, bring out the second caution of the evening. Keltner took the lead on the restart, but #32 Meeuwsen tagged Arendsen as he tried to make the pass. The crash wiped away the lap and Keltner's lead (scoring reverts to the last lap completed on a caution). Arendsen's outstanding performance was also wiped away as he and Meeuwsen were sent to the back of the pack as victims of the "Spinner - Spinnee" rule where all involved in a crash are sent to the back.

Another quick caution flag was waved as several cars collided on the backstretch, including fastest qualifier #9 Jeff Hennip, Billy Eppink and #41x Tommie Roth. On the restart, Keltner blew by leader Smith on the outside on the backstretch to win his sixth race of the season, delighting fans by spinning several donuts in celebration.

Rick Eding of Dorr remains in the Super Stock points lead, but Keltner closed to within 64 points of the lead with his victory.

In the Sportsman division, the crashes came at the beginning of the race instead of the end as they did in the Super Stock feature. A lap one crash involved fastest qualifier #36 Todd Senneker and #31 Craig Matthews, then a large crash on lap 2 involved #40 Dave Cutler, #36 Dave Lewis, #13 James Haney, #12 Phil Greene and #19 Nick Shotko, who was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct.

On the lap 2 restart, outside pole-sitter #29 Steve Sunde stretched his lead as #6 Terry Bockheim and #55 Dave Lake battled for second and #27 Billy Shotko and #7 Cort Corwin battled for fourth. Lake eventually took the second position and Corwin moved up to third. On lap 19, Corwin passed Lake, then took the lead from Sunde on lap 21. Corwin's victory closed up the points race as he gained 24 points on leader Billy Shotko. Corwin now trails Shotko by only 40 points with two races remaining.

In the Late Model feature, #1 Randy Sweet started on the outside pole and jumped out to an early lead. Sweet stretched his lead as points leader #47 Fred Campbell and #21 Lee Anderson passed pole-sitter #71 Bob Holley for second and third position.

On lap 9, #12 Tim DeVos got underneath #28 Scott Thomas, spinning Thomas out on turn 1. A long green-flag run followed, and the top five positions (Sweet, Campbell, Anderson, DeVos, #82 Tom Thomas) remained unchanged until the next caution on lap 40 for debris onthe track. Anderson moved to second on lap 41 and electrified the crowd by racing Sweet side-by-side from lap 44 through 49, when Anderson was slowed by a lapped car. He charged again, but was held off by Sweet, who claimed his second victory of the season by three-quarters of a car length.

The Late Model points race tightened even further, as Campbell remains inthe lead by 15 points over Tom Thomas. Anderson closed to within 8 points of Thomas for third place.

Kevin Feeney won the Auto Value Super Sprints feature (see separate release).

The Super Stock and Late Model champions will be determined next Saturday night, September 8, in the regular-season finale. Sportsman cars will also race in their next-to-last event of the season. 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.

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 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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Series Sprint , Stock car