Berlin Raceway race notes 2005-06-11

Ballard, Davis become first-time winners Wiersma, Campbell also win MARNE, MI -- Kyle Ballard and Allen Davis won feature races for the first time in their careers, claiming the Standale Lumber Pro Stock and Standale Interiors Sportsman...

Ballard, Davis become first-time winners
Wiersma, Campbell also win

MARNE, MI -- Kyle Ballard and Allen Davis won feature races for the first time in their careers, claiming the Standale Lumber Pro Stock and Standale Interiors Sportsman features, respectively, Saturday night at Berlin Raceway. Meanwhile, defending champion Brian Wiersma finally found victory lane in the Engine Pro Super Stock feature and Brian Campbell became first multiple-race winner in the Coors Light Late Model division.

The Engine Pro Super Stock division raced an extra-long 50-lap feature, 20 laps longer than normal, in honor of Engine Pro Super Stock Night presented by Engine Pro. Defending division champion Brian Wiersma led from the start, while a pack of 5 cars battled for second through lap 12. #71 Brandon Braisted won the battle and shot away from the pack, catching up with Wiersma by lap 15. Five caution flags waved between laps 19 and 30 - three for single car spins, one for debris and one, on lap 25, for a crash involving #54 Randy Acker, #42 Matt Piersma and #16 Andrew Conklin in turn 4. On lap 33, #45 Sean Gipson made a move from fourth to second and gave leader Wiersma a run for his money. Lap after lap the leaders ran fender-to-fender, with Gipson pulling alongside Wiersma in turns 1 and 2, but Wiersma pulling ahead on the backstretch on every lap. This lasted until lap 46, when #98 Bob Bliss brought out the sixth caution by floating off the backstretch. On the same lap restart, Gipson lost his chance for a second victory of the season by getting into the gas too hard coming out of Turn 4 and losing control, spinning alone on the frontstetch. Gipson was sent to the back of the field for bringing out the caution, handing second place to #19 Nick Shotko. Shotko didn't have enough for Wiersma, though, as the 2004 champion from Coopersville led wire to wire for his first win of the 2005 season. Shotko finished second, followed by #88 Tim Sweeney, #13 James Haney and Braisted.

Next up was the Standale Interiors Sportsman feature, a race shortened to a 15-lap sprint after an earlier rain delay put events behind schedule. #62 Charlie DeJong led the first four laps but faded back after that, and #33 Allen Davis took over leader duties. Davis was challenged by #15 Mat McClarren, but managed to hang on to the lead as both cars checked out from the rest of the field. Davis, of Wyoming, went on to win the feature for the first time in his five-year career at Berlin. Davis is one of three racing sons of Pro Stock driver Maurice Davis, and all race winnings from the Davis family are donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. McClarren finished second, followed by #13 Brad Haney, #44 Brian Van Zalen and #5 Shawn Simon.

In the Coors Light Late Model feature, the first caution came out on lap 3 for a spin by #15 Scott Root, #26 Chris Muyskens and #16 Tim Steele. Then on lap 12, just as rookie #21 Terry Van Haitsma was passing leader #33 Dave Stehouwer to take the top spot, the caution was waved as #37 Terry Senneker and #3 Dave Seabrook went over the top of the backstretch. Since scoring reverts to the last completed lap, Stehouwer got his lead back and Van Haitsma would have to try it again. Stehouwer was able to hold off Van Haitsma through the middle of the race, then on lap 38, Van Haitsma bumped Stehouwer, causing both lead cars to slow to regain their composure. #32 Ross Meeuwsen capitalized on the bobble and charged by Van Haitsma for second place. Six laps later, Meeuwsen got alongside Stehouwer on the inside and the two made light contact coming out of turn 4 as Stehouwer held his line. Meeuwsen got into the dirt and spun, sending him to the back of the pack. It was once again Stehouwer and Van Haitsma running 1-2, and on lap 45 the two once again got together. This time Stehouwer spun and was sent to the back of the pack for bringing out the caution. Officials ruled Van Haitsma must also go to the rear of the field for aggressive driving, which left the lead in the hands of #28 Scott Thomas after a lengthy protest by Stehouwer, who had led every one of the first 44 laps, on the frontstretch. Thomas held the lead for three laps but wasn't able to claim his first career victory, as the #22 car of Brian Campbell was too strong and passed Thomas for the lead lap 48. Campbell came home with the checkered flag and became the first Late Model driver to win more than one race this season. Thomas finished second, followed by #47 Fred Campbell, #12 Tim DeVos and #1 Randy Sweet.

Finally, in the Standale Lumber Pro Stock 25-lap feature, #71 Kyle Ballard of Comstock Park took the lead on lap 3. A weird incident on lap 9 brought out the caution as #22 Adam Hudson spun in Turn 4 and #52 Bruce Chase slowed to avoid the wreck, but #55 Dave Lake didn't slow as much and drove up over the right rear tire of Chase. Somehow both cars were able to continue on, and as the field went back to green, Ballard checked out. The 19-year-old third-year driver went on to win his first career feature ahead of #23 Chris Koslek, #15 Casey Berenbrock, #7 Kevin DeGood and #7x Nick Gebben.

Racing action resumes Wednesday night, June 15, with The Berlin 100 presented by Meijer and Tony's Pizza. The special 100-lap Coors Light Late Model feature will include NASCAR driver Johnny Benson and up-and-coming ARCA driver Steve Wallace, son of NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace. Rusty will be on hand for the event, signing autographs from 6 to 8 p.m. as part of the "Rusty's Last Call" tour stop celebrating his final year racing on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit. Tickets are $25 in advance and $27 at the gate for general admission (kids 3 to 12 are half price and 2 and under are free). Pit passes for those 16 and over are $30. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Johnny Benson , Steve Wallace