Berlin Raceway race report 2003-05-03

DeVos, Meeuwsen, VanDyk sweep features again on Lane Automotive/K&N Filters Challenge Night MARNE, MI -- Lane Automotive/K&N Challenge night lived up to expectations Saturday night as drivers ran harder than ever in all 13 races to win more...

DeVos, Meeuwsen, VanDyk sweep features again on Lane Automotive/K&N Filters Challenge Night

MARNE, MI -- Lane Automotive/K&N Challenge night lived up to expectations Saturday night as drivers ran harder than ever in all 13 races to win more than $5,000 in prizes for themselves and their crews from Lane Automotive and K&N Filters, above and beyond the points and prize money usually awarded.

While Tim DeVos, Ross Meeuwsen and Lee VanDyk won the three feature races for the second straight week, it was the third Coors Light Late Model heat race of the night that brought down the house. Six-time track champion and 40-year Berlin veteran Randy Sweet raced side-by-side with 26-year Berlin veteran and current points leader Tim DeVos in an 8-lap shootout, giving the crowd of 3,504 their money's worth as the two talented drivers held their cars on the track while fighting for the lead the entire eight-lap race. On the final turn of the final lap, Sweet lost control and began to spin, but the car kept moving in the right direction as Sweet came across the finish line backwards for the victory to the road of the electrified crowd, beating DeVos by a slim .360 second margin. And that was before the main events even started.

In the 25-lap Hitches by George Sportsman feature, caution came out early as #52 Bruce Chase of Grand Haven spun on lap two on the backstretch. #89 Kirk Meissner couldn't steer clear of the sideways car, plowing into Chase's car. Also involved were rookie #15 Casey Berenbrock and #9 Jeff Sterken. #40 Dave Cutler started from the pole, but defending champion #9 Mike Root moved from sixth to second by lap 7 and took the lead on lap 9. #24 Lee VanDyk also charged ahead from his 10th starting position, moving with Root around Cutler into second. VanDyk challenged for the lead, running side-by-side with Root until a caution on lap 12 as rookie Andrew Nylaan spun off the backstretch. Under green again VanDyk continued to challenge Root with exciting side-by-side racing before finally taking the lead on lap 18. VanDyk, Root and #55 Dave Lake formed a 3-car breakaway as VanDyk held on to win for the second straight week by just a quarter of a second over Root, followed by Lake, #15 Scott Root and Cutler. VanDyk was also named Valvoline Hard Charger by advancing the most positions from the start to finish in the feature (9 positions). VanDyk leads the point standings after two races by a 42-point margin over Mike Root.

In the 30-lap Engine Pro Super Stock feature, #32 Ross Meeuwsen of Zeeland moved up from his 8th starting position to take the lead from #33 Jerry Groeneveld on lap 16, lapping three cars in the process under a long green-flag run. The only caution of the race came out on lap 23 as #29 Steve Sunde, #71 Brandon Braisted and #8 Paul Schaffer spun in turn 4. Meeuwsen went on to win the race, followed by Groeneveld, #14 Jon Arendsen, #76 Warren Speet and #3 Ross Eppink. #8 Billy Eppink was named Valvoline Hard Charger by advancing 9 positions to finish in 7th place after completely rebuilding his car thanks to a blown engine and crash last week. Meeuwsen leads in the points standings by 44 over #98 Bob Bliss.

In the Coors Light Late Model feature, Sweet, from Kalamazoo, jumped out to an early lead, while Wyoming's DeVos moved from fifth to second by lap 10. DeVos nosed around the back of Sweet's car looking for an opening and made the pass for the lead on lap 17, reminiscent of the earlier heat race battle. #101 Joe Bush of Hastings followed DeVos around Sweet, who then got caught up in the lapped traffic as DeVos and Bush opened up their lead by a straightaway.

Caution came out for the second time (the first was a lap 6 spin by #82 Tom Thomas) on lap 38 as #22 Brian Campbell slowed to a crawl in turn 2. On the lap 38 restart, #27 Billy Shotko slowed and moved to the bottom of the track to enter the pits, but the bunched-up field couldn't get around him cleanly, causing a hard knock into the wall for #97 Doug VanderVliet. #55 Joe Mazie, #94 Greg Usher and Thomas were all caught up in the wreck as many others escaped with just bent sheet metal. The final caution - and the third in three laps - was waved on lap 40 as #74 Paul Namey drove off the backstretch. Meanwhile, DeVos sped away from second-place Bush in the final 10 laps of the 50-lap race, winning by a dozen car lengths to make it two straight feature wins. Sweet finished third, followed by defending champion #47 Fred Campbell and #11 John Grega. #222 Caleb Bisacky won the Valvoline Hard Charger award for moving from 26th to 12th. DeVos leads the points standings by a healthy 50-point margin over #11 Leroy Magoon.

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

Berlin Raceway's drivers, crews and staff would like to thank Lane Automotive and K&N Challenge for bringing the Challenge night back to Berlin. The Lane Automotive/K&N Challenge will return for a second night of exciting racing on June 7.

Berlin Raceway will be back in action next Saturday night, May 10, with a special event, the Tribute to Johnny Benson Night/Todd Senneker Memorial Race, a 75-Lap Coors Light Late Model feature with NASCAR Winston Cup drivers Johnny Benson and Dick Trickle. Engine Pro Super Stock and Hitches By George Sportsman divisions will also compete. Tickets are $21 in advance and $22 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.

-br-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Dick Trickle , Johnny Benson