Berlin Raceway race review 2002-08-03

DeVos claims fourth feature win; Groeneveld, Anthony, VanDyk also take victories. MARNE, MI -- Lee VanDyk and Chris Anthony both claimed checkered flags in a rare double feature in the MTA Sportsman division while Jerry Groeneveld won his second...

DeVos claims fourth feature win; Groeneveld, Anthony, VanDyk also take victories.

MARNE, MI -- Lee VanDyk and Chris Anthony both claimed checkered flags in a rare double feature in the MTA Sportsman division while Jerry Groeneveld won his second Engine Pro Super Stock feature and Tim DeVos won the Coors Light Late Model feature Saturday night at Berlin Raceway. A crowd of 4,696 enjoyed beautiful weather and the bonus Sportsman events after rain delays and a major crash last week forced their postponement until this week.

In the MTA Sportsman feature make-up from July 27, one caution slowed the 25-lap race, and it was a big one as eight cars (#31 Mike Bursley, #55 Dave Lake, #12 Steve Walters, #15 Nick Shotko, #23 Andrew MacIntosh, #13 James Haney, #89 Kirk Meissner, #15 Scott Root and #52 Bruce Chase) piled into the wall between turn 3 and 4 on lap 8. The #6 truck of Terry Bockheim, which took the lead on lap 5, led the race all the way until the lap 24, when VanDyk made the pass and held on for his third straight win, followed by Bockheim, #55 Chris Anthony, #88 Jason Smith and #86 Ray Melinn. Van Dyk, of Grand Rapids, is in his second season of racing after finishing 8th in the 1999 Sportsman points then taking two years off.

In the regularly-scheduled MTA Sportsman feature, an early caution on lap 2 slowed the pace as Lake tried to make it three wide but got into the side of #10 Jay Gipson and Scott Root piled on. Then on lap 10, caution flew for a spin in turn 3 involving #36 Ken Smith Sr. and #20 Dave Hull. On the lap 10 restart, Haney and #4 Nick Gebben got together and rode up the track, forcing Gebben hard into the wall. Chase and Hull spun trying to avoid the accident. The next try at a lap 10 restart was successful, and Anthony pulled away at the half-way point as VanDyk and #8 Paul Schaffer battled for the second position. VanDyk took the position and the top four cars spread themselves out. Anthony, a rookie from Grand Rapids, held on for his second win, followed by VanDyk, Schaffer, Mike Root and Bursley. In the point standings, Mike Root held on to the lead after the double points races, followed by Lake, then Anthony and Bockheim, who both moved up two positions. VanDyk moved up one position to seventh place in points.

In the Engine Pro Super Stock feature, last week's winner #26 Chris Muyskens took the lead on the first lap and led all the way to lap 25 of the 30-lap feature. Caution came out early as #36 Dan Groeneveld spun in turn 2 on lap 2. On lap 6, #32 Ross Meeuwsen, running in sixth position, spun as he was trying to get underneath #42 Matt Piersma. Also involved were #14 Jon Arendsen, #52 Jim Idema, #98 Bob Bliss, #51 Greg Jewett and #22 Jeff Terrell. On Lap 25 Muyskens was still leading, but #33 Jerry Groeneveld took over after racing side-by-side with Muyskens for several laps. Groeneveld, of Dorr, took the checkered flag for the second time in four races and second time in his two-year career in the Super Stock division. Muyskens finished second, followed by #51 Scott Otterbein, fastest qualifier #9 Jeff Hennip and Bliss. The top three points positions - #X Ray Clay, Hennip and Bliss - remained the same, with Hennip gaining 25 points to trail Clay by just 138 points.

In the Coors Light Late Model feature, Tim Yonker (driving the 98 car of Bob Curry) took the early lead until #12 Tim DeVos took over on lap 8. Cautions on lap 12 for a #28 Scott Thomas spin on the backstretch and on lap 14 for a #01 Brian Wiersma spin on turn 4 after contact with #79 Jake Meyerink slowed the race, then was followed by a long green flag run. At the halfway point, DeVos held the lead, followed by #82 Tom Thomas, Yonker, #11 Leroy Magoon and #101 Joe Bush. Caution came out again on lap 27 as #94 Greg Usher got into the back of #37 Terry Senneker, spinning Senneker in turn 2. Scott Thomas and #7 Cort Corwin also spun.

DeVos continued to lead the race, while the battle for second heated up between Tom Thomas, in second on the outside, and Magoon, trying to pass on the inside, while Bush hung back and watched the action from fourth position. Those four cars broke away from the field by a quarter of a lap. Magoon makes the pass for second on lap 38. The four-car lead group bunched up on lap 39 as they started lapping cars, then two of those slow cars, Corwin and #30 Brian Clay, spun on the backstretch just as the leaders were moving up on them, bringing out the fourth caution of the race. DeVos got a good jump on the lap 39 restart and took a solid lead over Magoon as the battle moved to the third spot between Tom Thomas and Bush. Bush eventually took the position. Yellow came out again on lap 48 as #97 Doug Vander Vliet rocketed off the backstretch and into the styrofoam safety barrier.

Then on the lap 48 restart, DeVos hit the gas but then checked up, shaking up the field and bringing out the caution when #88 Tim Sweeney rear-ended #1 Randy Sweet, who in turn hit #11 John Grega. A second try for a lap 48 restart was clean, and DeVos, of Rockford, went on to claim victory. Magoon finished a career-best second place, followed by Bush, Tom Thomas and Yonker. DeVos moved up two positions to third in the points behind leader Fred Campbell and Bush. The top seven positions remain tight as just 64 points separate them.

Berlin Raceway will be back in action next Saturday night, August 10, 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.

-br-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Jason Smith