Berlin Raceway race notes 2003-08-09

Meeuwsen cruises to record 11th win; Fireworks delight season's largest crowd MARNE, MI -- Ross Meeuwsen continued to load up his trophy shelf Saturday night at Berlin Raceway, claiming a record 11th Engine Pro Super Stock win through 14 races...

Meeuwsen cruises to record 11th win; Fireworks delight season's largest crowd

MARNE, MI -- Ross Meeuwsen continued to load up his trophy shelf Saturday night at Berlin Raceway, claiming a record 11th Engine Pro Super Stock win through 14 races this season in front of a season-high near-sellout crowd of 8,396, which included more than 4,000 UAW members and families on UAW Night. Tim DeVos and Mike Root also added to their trophy collection in the Coors Light Late Model and Hitches By George Sportsman divisions, respectively, before a fireworks display capped off the eventful evening.

In the Engine Pro Super Stock feature, Ross Meeuwsen of Zeeland cruised to his 11th Engine Pro trophy in 14 races this season, leading wire to wire and proving again his #32 car is the class of the mid-level Super Stock field. Meeuwsen extended his record for most feature wins in the nine-year-old division. Meeuwsen started on the front row and faced an early challenge from rookie #10 Jay Gipson for the lead, but held him off and pulled away from the field. The 30-lap race took just 12 minutes and 56 seconds to complete, with just one early caution for the smoking car of #14 Jon Arendsen and no crashes to slow the race. #77 John Smith Sr. finished second, followed by Gipson, #13 James Haney and #98 Bob Bliss. #5 Jack Drolema Jr. won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing the most positions (4) from start to finish in the feature. Meeuwsen extends his points lead to a nearly unsurmountable 231-point lead over Bliss with just four Super Stock points races left.

The Hitches By George Sportsman feature began with a bang as #77 Andrew Nylaan spun on the first lap coming out of turn 3, collecting several cars and causing a red flag to stop the race for clean-up. Among the most heavily damaged cars were #36 Ken Smith Jr., #89 Kirk Meissner, #40 Dave Cutler and #4 Nick Gebben. Back under way, #15 Dave Hull led the race early, but a second crash involving #52 Bruce Chase and #49 Dave D'Avignon in the same spot between turns 3 and 4 on lap 4 slowed the race again. Points leader #24 Lee VanDyk took the lead on lap 6, cruising to a 3-second lead over #1 Randy Veldman by lap 14; meanwhile, Veldman was trying to hold off #30 Zach Dunson and #9 Mike Root for second place. Root took the position on lap 16.

Caution was waved on lap 22 as #15 Casey Berenbrock and Nylaan got together in turn 1; #36 Ken Smith Jr. got caught up in the crash for the second time in the race. On the restart, Root took the lead from VanDyk, but VanDyk fought back, pulling to the inside of Root for a door-to-door shootout that lasted through the final two laps of the 25-lap race. VanDyk got sideways coming out of the final turn, allowing Root to speed away and collect his fourth Engine Pro/Hastings Manufacturing Powerflex trophy of the season. VanDyk finished second, followed by Dunson, Veldman and Hull. Rookie #71 Kyle Ballard won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing 12 positions from last to 10th place. VanDyk's points lead was shaved to just 21 points over Root with five races to go.

In the Coors Light Late Model 50-lap feature, #28 Scott Thomas started on the front row and led early, but points leader #12 Tim DeVos of Wyoming kept the pressure on and took over the top position on lap 11. After four cautions - the only crash involving heavy damage coming on lap 25 as #15 Brian Maxim and #97 Doug VanderVliet got together on the backstretch - #47 Fred Campbell moved into second place on lap 25 and set up the two-car battle for the checkered flag. Campbell, the 2002 Late Model champion, chased down DeVos to challenge for the lead by lap 31. Campbell took the lead amongst heavy lap traffic on lap 37, but DeVos took the lead back 10 laps later and marched to his sixth victory of the season. Campbell finished second, followed by #88 Tim Yonker, #37 Terry Senneker and Thomas. #22 Brian Campbell won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing 10 positions. DeVos extends his lead to a huge 201-point margin over Joe Bush with five races to go.

Complete race results and point standings can be found online at www.berlinraceway.com.

Berlin Raceway will be back in action next Saturday night, August 16, for a weekly points race presented by NAPA. Coors Light Late Model, Engine Pro Super Stock and Hitches By George Sportsman divisions will compete. The Late Model drivers will sign autographs on the track before the race, presented by Allegra Print & Imaging; in addition, 2,500 Late Model driver autograph cards will be handed out to fans. 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.

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