Berlin Raceway race report 2003-06-07

MARNE, MI -- It's beginning to sound like a broken record - Ross Meeuwsen of Zeeland won for the fifth time in six Engine Pro Super Stock features Saturday night at Berlin Raceway. Meeuwsen appears virtually unstoppable, with a lone second-place...

MARNE, MI -- It's beginning to sound like a broken record - Ross Meeuwsen of Zeeland won for the fifth time in six Engine Pro Super Stock features Saturday night at Berlin Raceway. Meeuwsen appears virtually unstoppable, with a lone second-place finish blemishing his otherwise perfect season. In the other two divisions, Tim DeVos won for the third time in six races in the Coors Light Late Model feature and defending champion Mike Root won for the second straight week in the Hitches by George Sportsman feature.

In the Hitches By George Sportsman division, #15 Dave Hull took the lead from pole-sitter #40 Dave Cutler on the first lap. Fast green flag racing ensued for 15 laps before points leader #24 Lee VanDyk, while racing with Lake for fourth position, spun in front of a large pack of cars coming out of turn 4, causing several other cars spun. Two laps later, race leaders Hull and #55 Dave Lake spun in the same place for another caution. #9 Mike Root inherited the lead and ran away with the race the rest of the way, winning the Engine Pro/Hastings Manufacturing Powerflex Trophy by a 2.33 second margin over Cutler. #45 Sean Gipson finished third, followed by #71 Dan VanderMolen and #1 Randy Veldman. #52 Bruce Chase won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing 11 positions, from 18th to 7th.

In the 30-lap Engine Pro Super Stock feature, race leader #52 Jim Idema spun with #14 Jon Arendsen off the backstretch on lap 3, handing the lead to rookie #10 Jay Gipson. A caution on lap 7 for a spin in traffic on the frontstretch by rookies #5 Jack Drolema Jr. and #53 Chris Modzelewski set up exciting three-wide racing through turns 3 and 4 after the restart, but the next lap around wasn't as successful as #13 James Haney and #29 Steve Sunde spun into the wall out of turn 3 on lap 9. On the restart, #33 Jerry Groeneveld took the lead from Gipson as the top four cars bunched up together fighting for position. The cars settled into single file racing with Groeneveld leading Meeuwsen, #X Ray Clay, #98 Bob Bliss and Arendsen for 14 laps to the next caution, which occurred on lap 22 as the loose #52 car of Idema and #77 John Smith Sr. crashed.

On the restart, the #32 of Meeuwsen clocked in, powering around Groeneveld for the lead. As the laps wound down, Clay clipped the left rear of second-place Groeneveld, who made an impressive save from a spin, but as the two cars slowed, Bliss was able to pass them for second place. Meeuwsen took the checkered flag and his fifth Engine Pro/Mike Marks Pro Shop Trophy of the season as just nine cars finished on the lead lap. Bliss came home second, followed by Groeneveld, Clay and Arendsen. The Valvoline Hard Charger award went to Bliss, who advanced eight positions from start to finish. Meeuwsen has racked up an 83-point lead over tenacious second-place Bob Bliss, who managed to remain in the hunt for the championship on the strength of three second-place finishes.

The Coors Light Late Model division had trouble building momentum, with eight caution flags - two requiring red flag conditions for clean-up - in the 50-lap race, which took 55 minutes to complete. Polesitter #28 Scott Thomas led early, but the first caution came out on lap 4 as #88 Tim Yonker slowed for a flat right rear tire. On the restart, DeVos shot around #79 Jake Meyerink for third, then began working on #101 Joe Bush, who responded by pulling alongside Thomas forcing a three-way battle for the lead. Caution #2 on lap 8 was for veteran #1 Randy Sweet, who spun on the backstretch and was hit by #90 Cort Corwin. #82 Tom Thomas and #22 Brian Campbell also were involved but were able to continue.

On the restart, Bush took the lead from Thomas, with DeVos following him into second place. The two cars pulled away from the pack, but a caution on lap 15 resulting in a red flag to clean up oil on the track slowed the pace again. Once re-started, and exciting side by side battle for the lead ensued as DeVos continued to challenge Bush. The two cars bumped in turn 2 of lap 21, and Bush saved himself from spinning but in doing so allowed DeVos to shoot by him for the lead. After another caution, the battle on the track was for third place as #47 Fred Campbell challenged #28 Scott Thomas. More cautions on lap 27, 28, 35 and 42 - the final caution for #61 Bob Holley, who ran out of gas after the extensive caution laps, which are not counted towards the 50 laps needed to complete the race.

DeVos won his third Engine Pro/Federal Mogul Speed Pro trophy of the season, followed by Bush, Thomas, #22 Brian Campbell and #47 Fred Campbell. #222 Caleb Bisacky won the Valvoline Hard Charger award. DeVos now leads in the points standings over #1 Randy Sweet by a massive 113-point margin after just six races.

Berlin Raceway will be back in action Tuesday, June 10, with the special event Meijer/Tony's Pizza 100 featuring NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart and Johnny Benson. The Sportsman division will also race. The event is not televised. Tickets are $25 in advance and $27 at the gate (subject to availability) for general admission and $30 for pit passes. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m.

-br-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Johnny Benson