Berlin Raceway awards banquet report

MARNE, MI -- Berlin Raceway's annual Driver Awards Banquet presented by Port City Racing was held tonight at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, and a sold-out crowd of 650 drivers, crew members, families and car sponsors enjoyed an evening of ...

MARNE, MI -- Berlin Raceway's annual Driver Awards Banquet presented by Port City Racing was held tonight at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville, and a sold-out crowd of 650 drivers, crew members, families and car sponsors enjoyed an evening of celebration. Champions Tim DeVos, Ross Meeuwsen and Lee VanDyk were awarded their championship trophies and points fund prize money for their respective divisions, and several other awards were presented for driver accomplishments.

The banquet presentations included the last of nearly three quarters of a million dollars worth of cash and prizes awarded to drivers in 2003. A total of $40,000 in points fund money, provided by Port City Racing, Hoosier Racing Tire, Van Manen Petroleum and division sponsors Coors Light, Engine Pro and Hitches By George, was distributed to the top 15 drivers in each division. That points fund money was in addition to the nearly $650,000 in prize money awarded to drivers during the season and more than $46,000 in product, prizes and gift certificates awarded to drivers as part of the Berlin Raceway contingency program. More than half of the contingency program awards were provided by Engine Pro and their manufacturers, including Dart, Clevite, CompCams, Fel-Pro and PowerFlex.

DeVos, from Wyoming, MI, collected eight points race wins on his way to winning the Coors Light Late Model championship and was a model of consistency, never finishing below seventh in a feature race. Zeeland's Ross Meeuwsen dominated the Engine Pro Super Stock division, winning a division record 13 races and capturing the championship by a large margin. Meeuwsen was also named Berlin Raceway Racer of the Year for his outstanding performance. VanDyk, from Grand Rapids, won six features in the Hitches By George Sportsman division to capture the championship. All three drivers are first-time champions, which has not happened at Berlin Raceway since 1986.

In addition to the silver bowl champions trophies, the three division champions each received a gold championship ring from Tom Davis Jewelers; a Hoosier jacket; an etched glass award from Vos Glass; $100 product certificates from AFCO and Bassett Racing Wheel; and a Howe Cool Radiator (Late Model) and four premium precision ball joints (Super Stock and Sportsman). The Super Stock champion also received a $1,000 value complete body from 5 Star and the Sportsman champion received a $500 certificate towards a complete body from 5 Star.

The top 20 drivers in each division were awarded silver platters engraved with their name and points finish. Prizes from Engine Pro, Impact Racing, Lane Automotive, Valvoline, Bassett Racing Wheel, Professional Metal Finishers, Lincoln Welder, AFCO and Sleep Doctor were awarded to the other award winners (below) as well as via random drawings of drivers during the two hour awards presentation. The event was MC'ed by tuxedoed track announcer Norm Jelsma and MRN/WMUS race broadcaster Jeff Striegle and included several videos put to music to capture the scenes and excitement of the 2003 season. The evening ended with a bang - literally - in a brilliant indoor fireworks display.

In addition to the awards program, some highlights of the 2004 Berlin Raceway schedule were announced. Opening Night is scheduled for Saturday, April 17, with the ASA series returning on June 12 and ARCA coming to town on July 3. The complete schedule will be released later this month. <pre> 2003 BERLIN RACEWAY AWARDS

Division Champions Hitches By George Sportsman - Lee VanDyk Engine Pro Super Stock - Ross Meeuwsen Coors Light Late Model - Tim DeVos Todd Senneker Rookie of the Year Award Sportsman - Nick Gebben Super Stock - Brandon Braisted Late Model - Chris Muyskens CARSTAR Best Appearing Car Award Sportsman - Andrew Nylaan Super Stock - Warren Speet Late Model - Ray Clay Valvoline Most Improved Driver Award Sportsman - Dan VanderMolen Super Stock - Steve Sunde Late Model - Scott Thomas Valvoline Hard Charger Award Sportsman - Mike Root Super Stock - Ross Meeuwsen Late Model - Tom Thomas Most Popular Driver Award Sportsman - Dave Lake Super Stock - Ross Meeuwsen Late Model - Leroy Magoon Impact Racing Most Laps Completed Award Sportsman - Mike Root Super Stock - Jimmy TenBrink Late Model - Tim DeVos Grand Rapids Press Jack Gritter Award Steve Walters Rodenhouse Body Shop Hard Luck Award Billy Eppink Sleep Doctor Sleeper of the Year Award Randy Veldman Car Sponsor of the Year Boyne Machine Engine Pro Engine Builder of the Year Award Baker Engineering Grand Rapids Press Chris Bradley Crew Chief Award Mike Meeuwsen (#32 Super Stock) Professional Metal Finishers Hardest Crash Award Jerry Groeneveld (for the Groeneveld/Meeuwsen Super Stock crash on Aug. 16) Scott Baker Sportsmanship Award presented by Lincoln Welder Doug VanderVliet Racer of the Year Ross Meeuwsen

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