Rookie Senneker takes first Late Model win Benson finishes fourth in homecoming MARNE, MI Johnny Benson returned to his home track Saturday night to compete in the Late Model division, but he found out that, at least this night, he was no match...
Rookie Senneker takes first Late Model win
Benson finishes fourth in homecoming
MARNE, MI Johnny Benson returned to his home track Saturday night to compete in the Late Model division, but he found out that, at least this night, he was no match for rookie Terry Senneker of Wayland.
Senneker claimed a wire-to-wire victory, starting on the front row and leading every lap of the race for his first victory in the Late Model division in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 8,650. Three cautions came out in the first three laps but the race went green the rest of the way, allowing Senneker to run away with the victory, winning by a 4.29 second margin over second-place #88 Tim Yonker of Alto. #82 Tom Thomas finished third, followed by #10 Benson (11.54 seconds back) and #12 Tim DeVos.
Benson qualified 10th fastest, but the roll of the dice after qualifying determined that the top 10 drivers would invert, moving Benson to the pole. Johnny chose to pass on the inversion and start in 10th, preferring to charge through the field rather than starting in front at the track in which he is part-owner.
The car #1 of Randy Sweet brought out the first caution on lap 2 with a spin in turn 2. One lap later, #55 Joe Mazie spun hard into the turn 4 wall for the second caution. The third and final caution came out on lap 4 for a spin by #21 Lee Anderson on the backstretch.
Benson made his way methodically toward the front, passing #71 Bob Holley on lap 17 for sixth position and creating a powerful sight for Berlin Raceway regulars as they witnessed three former track champions #47 Fred Campbell, Benson and Holley racing nose-to-tail for several laps. Benson moved all the way up to third on lap 40 before being passed by Thomas on lap 49, one circuit short of the finish. The long stretch of green-flag racing didn¹t allow Benson the opportunity to overtake Senneker and Yonker for the win.
The 21-year-old Senneker is a second-generation Berlin Raceway Late Model driver, and his uncle, Bob Senneker, is the American Speed Association¹s all-time winningest driver.
In the Super Stock division, Rick Eding of Dorr won his second race of the season to remain in the points lead ahead of Newaygo's Matt Keltner, who finished second. Bob Bliss finished third, followed by Ray Clay and John Smith Sr. The 30-lap feature was slowed by just three single-car cautions (Ross Meeuwsen spun on lap 9, Billy Eppink's steering went away on lap 16 and Matt Piersma spun on lap 18).
The 25-lap Sportsman feature provided the most exciting racing of the evening, as Mike Root of Grand Rapids battled Grand Haven drivers Billy Shotko and Cort Corwin, racing three-wide to the checkered flag. Root took his first victory of the season, followed by points leader Shotko in a photo finish over Corwin. The exciting finish was set up by a lap 23 caution, as cars were stopped on the track after a hard 3-car crash involving Craig Fricke, Ryan Hamm and Mike Bursley. Once the green flag was waved, it was a sprint to the finish.
Also racing Saturday night in a special appearance were the Auto Value Winged Super Sprints, making their sixth stop on their 21-race schedule. Holt's Gary Fedewa, two-time defending series champion, claimed his fourth victory of the young season.
Racing will return to Berlin Raceway next Saturday night, as the three regular racing divisions take the track. 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.