Berlin Raceway notes 2005-06-04

Senneker, Speet, Lake, Russell win divisions Nylaan claims School Bus Race Championship MARNE, MI -- Terry Senneker became the seventh Coors Light Late Model winner in seven races Saturday night at Berlin Raceway, while Warren Speet won for the...

Senneker, Speet, Lake, Russell win divisions
Nylaan claims School Bus Race Championship

MARNE, MI -- Terry Senneker became the seventh Coors Light Late Model winner in seven races Saturday night at Berlin Raceway, while Warren Speet won for the first time this season in the Engine Pro Super Stock division, Dave Lake continued to dominate the Standale Lumber Pro Stock division with his fourth win of the season and rookie Jack Russell became a first-ever winner in the Standale Interiors Sportsman division.

The first feature event of the night, and the one to bring the loudest cheers from the crowd, was the School Bus Races. The buses, driven by Berlin drivers Andrew Nylaan, Paul Namey, Billy Shotko, Brian Wiersma and Todd Root, rubbed and banged, sometimes going 3 wide, for two four-lap heats and a six-lap feature, which was won by Nylaan. In a WWE moment, the victory lane celebration was interrupted by a "fight" between Root and Namey over rough driving (Namey supposedly forced Root off the backstretch, but Root kept the bus upright and circled back around onto the track with much more strength and stability than a race car, which would have been toast off the backstretch).Nylaan dethroned defending School Bus Race winner Shotko, who sulked back to the pits empty-handed. Stay tuned until next year, when the School Bus battle will continue...

On to real racing...in the Standale Lumber Pro Stock division, #20 Dave Hull led the first two laps, but three-time race winner and points leader #55 Dave Lake passed for the lead on lap 3. Former champion #24 Lee VanDyk, racing for the first time this season, was on the move though, making strong passes around #7 Kevin DeGood and #20 Dave Hull for third spot by lap 4. On lap 7, VanDyk came up on the inside of second-position #77 Andrew Nylaan and the two cars touched and spin in turn 1. The cars almost escaped unscathed, but #7x Nick Gebben couldn't slow down and slammed into VanDyk's car, knocking both cars out of the race. That paved the way for #52 Bruce Chase, putting him in fourth position. Four laps later Chase was up to second and looking for the lead. He dove inside Lake on lap 13 but got loose and backed off, just as #1 Randy Veldman spun in turn 4 to bring out the second caution of the race. It took three more attempts to complete lap 14, as spins by Ken Smith and Chris Modzeleski both brought the field back under yellow, then a slow-motion restart caught the field off-guard and seven cars piled up in turn 4. Getting the worst of it and unable to continue were #23 Andrew Macintosh, #53 Chris Modzeleski, #61 Jack DeJong and #22 Adam Hudson. The fifth try at a lap 14 restart was a winner, and the race remained green the rest of the way. Lake, of Howard City, MI, beat out Chase by a slim .143-second margin for the victory, his fourth in seven races this season. #15 Casey Berenbrock finished third, followed by Hull and DeGood.

In the Engine Pro Super Stock feature, it was a father-son battle early as #3 Ross Eppink led and his son, #8 Billy Eppink, moved from fifth to third on the second lap and then took second position on lap 13. The first caution came out on lap 13 for a spin in turn 2 involving #36 Dan Groeneveld, #H7 John Smith Sr. and #5 Jack Drolema. The Eppink team ran 1-2 until lap 19, when Billy retired for the night with engine problems. The caution flag flew on that same lap for a solo spin by 2004 champion #1 Brian Wiersma. On the restart, #76 Warren Speet took over second position, followed by #71 Brandon Braisted and a charging #45 Sean Gipson, who started in 12th position. The third and final caution came out on lap 28 for another spin by Wiersma; this time #27 Bill Shotko Sr. was also involved. That set up an exciting green flag sprint for the finish, and it was a four-car battle for the win on the final lap. Speet, of Hamilton, MI, took the lead from Eppink on the high side on the final lap and held on to take his first checkered flag of the season, ahead of #98 Bob Bliss, Eppink, Gipson and #13 James Haney.

In the Coors Light Late Model feature, a caution on lap 2 for a solo spin by #9 Mike Root slowed the pace early. Leading from the start was #71 John Grega, racing for the first time this season after recovering from a pre-season motorcycle accident. Grega held off a challenges from #118 Lee Anderson and #82 Tom Thomas during a 3-car breakaway, but on lap 18, #37 Terry Senneker came charging around Anderson for second and took the outside lane in a move for the lead. Senneker caught the edge of the top of the track on the backstretch and got the car sideways in what looked like a sure spin, but he miraculously saved it. It didn't take him long to regroup before shooting around Grega for the lead on lap 22. On lap 31, Anderson came to a stop in turn 4 with a mechanical problem, ending his night. On the restart, defending champion #101 was sent to the back of the field for jumping the restart, and he chose to retire from the race. Caution came out again on lap 33 for a 3-car incident in turn 3 involving #57 Rick Senneker, #28 Scott Thomas and #55 Chris Anthony. Back under green, Terry Senneker, of Wayland, MI, jumped out to a 10-car-length and growing lead as the laps wound down. The battle was for second place as Grega held off Tom Thomas. The race was stopped on lap 46 as #9 Mike Root lost his tire and hit the barrier tires in turn 3 hard, knocking a monster tire onto the track in the way of oncoming traffic, but everyone was able to avoid it. Back under green again, Tom Thomas and last week's race winner #32 Ross Meeuwsen passed Grega and the fight was on for second as Senneker again checked out with the lead. Senneker took the checkers by a 1.726-second margin over Meeuwsen, who won the battle with Thomas for second. Thomas finished third, followed by Grega and youngster #21 Johnny VanDoorn.

The Standale Interiors Sportsman division 20-lap feature had just one caution flag, but it was a big one. On lap 2, points leader #12 Terry Bockheim, driving the borrowed #12 car belonging to Steve Walters after breaking his motor last week, got sideways in the outside wall on the frontstretch. As polesitter #51 Sara Moerman slowed behind Bockheim, #2 Shawn Simon ran up underneath Moerman, lifting her rear wheels off the ground and spinning her hard into the wall. Those three cars were done for the night. That left the lead in the hands of three-time winner Brian Van Zalen. But the #5 car of rookie Jack Russell was strong for the second straight week, passing #9 Jeff Sterken for second position on lap 8 then taking the lead from Van Zalen on lap 14. Russell, of Grand Rapids, came home six laps later to win his first-ever checkered flag ahead of Van Zalen, Sterken, #15 Mat McClarren and #13 Brad Haney.

Racing action resumes next Saturday night, June 11, with Engine Pro Super Stock Night presented by Engine Pro, including a 50-lap Super Stock feature and weekly points races for all four divisions. It's also Salute To Gas - Berlin Raceway will give away 1,000 gallons of gas to fans, so come with your car's tank empty! Finally, it's Kids Night - 12 and under are FREE, with inflatable activities and $3 Monster Truck rides on the track. Tickets are $11 in advance and $12 at the gate for general admission (kids 12 and under are FREE this week). Pit passes for those 16 and over are $25. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m.

Complete race results and point standings will be sent out on Monday and will be available online at www.berlinraceway.com on Monday.

-br-

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