Berlin Raceway race report 2002-06-15

Meeuwsen wins third straight Engine Pro Super Stock feature; Devos, ISMA's Chris Perley also win. MARNE, MI -- Berlin Raceway dodged a bullet again Saturday night as early evening rain gave way to a great night of racing. The ISMA Super ...

Meeuwsen wins third straight Engine Pro Super Stock feature; Devos, ISMA's Chris Perley also win.

MARNE, MI -- Berlin Raceway dodged a bullet again Saturday night as early evening rain gave way to a great night of racing. The ISMA Super Modified series thundered into town, putting on a show of speed and power with some of the loudest, fastest open wheel cars to which Berlin Raceway plays host. A crowd of 3,692 endured evening rain a 45 minute rain delay before racing began.

In the Engine Pro Super Stock feature, #32 Ross Meeuwsen won his third straight feature and is dominating the division just five races into the season. But it wasn't an easy win - or a popular one. Lansing's #14 Jon Arendsen led the majority of the race, holding off #X Ray Clay, Meeuwsen and #26 Chris Muyskens on lap 28 when Clay spun as Meeuwsen bumped him from behind. That put Clay, currently second in points behind Meeuwsen, back into 12th place in the race.

On the restart, Meeuwsen passed Arendsen and cruised to victory as crowd booed heartily. Arendsen finished second, followed by Muyskens, #42 Matt Piersma and #51 Scott Otterbein. Meeuwsen, from Zeeland, won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing 9 positions from start to finish and stretched his points lead over Clay to 53 points.

In the Coors Light Late Model feature, #12 Tim DeVos of Rockford won his first feature of the season. Starting from the fourth position, DeVos came to the front early. He was chased by points leader #1 Randy Sweet of Kalamazoo, who started in 11th and methodically picked off the field to make his way into second place. DeVos and Sweet then put on a show as the two battled for the lead. They raced cleanly during the final six laps of the 50-lap feature, and DeVos skillfully managed to stay in front of Sweet, whose car was a bit faster as he tried to pass both high and low. #47 Fred Campbell of Battle Creek finished third, followed by #82 Tom Thomas and #88 Tim Yonker. Sweet won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing 9 positions. Sweet maintained his points lead over Campbell.

In the visiting ISMA series, Chris Perley had what you might say was one nice weekend. On Friday, he set a new track record at Toledo Speedway and finished second in the ISMA feature. Saturday, he started the evening with a heat win and topped that by winning the 50 lap feature Perley finally put it all together and in so doing, brought home a hefty $4500 paycheck for car owner Vic Miller. Perley stormed up from his ninth place starting spot to take the lead from Ken Bell on lap 23. The Rowley Rocket shot past all the field up to fifth place finisher Mike Ordway before he was through.

On the first lap of the 50-lap ISMA feature, in a three-abreast move off turn four on the green, Ken Bell took up the lead shuffling the front row of Denny Fisher and Howie Lane backwards. Bell tried to pull away a little, but two quick yellows fell on lap 4. The first was for Timmy Jedrzejek who had a tire go down and almost went off the back straight. Timmy was able to restart, but on that green, Jon Gambuti slid across the front straight and into the wall. The 88 was hooked off the track.Bell headed the pack on the green as team cars Brad Lichty and Dave McKnight bore down. Jamie Timmons, Joey Payne, Perley, Howie Lane and Scott Martel raced right behind.But the black 11 of Perley was on the move and by lap 10 he was fourth. On lap 11 he was second while Lichty held off Joey Payne, Russ Wood and McKnight. Bell continued strong out front as he began to lap slower cars. On lap 18 a pack of lap cars ahead slowed Bell a little, allowing Russ Wood to move up on Perley.

A lap 20 yellow flew for Scott Martel, who was pushed into the pits for a quick repair. Howie Page, McKnight, and Jamie Timmons also made quick stops.Bell had a couple of lap cars providing a cushion between his car and the 11 of Perley on the restart. Perley and Wood sandwiched the lap cars and set up chase while Joey Payne, Joe Gosek, Mike Ordway, Lichty and Timmy J closed in. Perley was now right on Bell's bumper where he stayed for two laps before putting Ken's excellent run out front to an end on lap 23.

It was all Perley from there on in as he began picking off car after car with Wood, Bell, Gosek, Payne and Ordway in pursuit. Payne's top five run ended on lap 34 when a hub broke and he pulled the Lane 9 in leaving fifth to Ordway. With 10 to go Perley approached some formidable potential lap cars such as Friday night's third place finisher Pat Shullick, Lou Cicconi, Brad Lichty and Dave McKnight.

Perley was up for the challenge, however, and he eventually put them a lap down while Gosek, who had gotten by Wood a few laps earlier in traffic, tried to close on Perley in the waning circuits.When Perley thought someone was close, he took off even faster and crossed under the checkered well out front of Gosek, Wood, Bell and Ordway, the last car in the lead lap.

ISMA's next outing is a newly added event on June 29 at Cayuga Speedway in Ontario where Winston Cup star Tony Stewart, fresh off a Coors Light Late Model win in the Festival 100 at Berlin Raceway, will race against the best in the east in a supermodified.

Berlin Raceway will be back in action next Saturday night, June 22, with a weekly show of Coors Light Late Model, Engine Pro Super Stock and MTA Sportsman divisions. 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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Series Stock car
Drivers Tony Stewart