Bush returns for victory Sweeney, Hull, Bockheim also victorious MARNE, MI -- Defending Coors Light Late Model Champion Joe Bush returned to Berlin for his first visit of the season Saturday, and he showed the crowd that winning the championship...
Bush returns for victory
Sweeney, Hull, Bockheim also victorious
MARNE, MI -- Defending Coors Light Late Model Champion Joe Bush returned to Berlin for his first visit of the season Saturday, and he showed the crowd that winning the championship was no fluke. Bush drove the fastest Coors Light Late Model qualifying lap in recent history, topping 104 miles per hour average speed for the lap, and followed it up with a win in the 50-lap feature race to prove his dominance. Dave Hull, Tim Sweeney and Terry Bockheim also recorded feature wins in their respective divisions.
In the Standale Lumber Pro Stock division feature, Cedar Springs driver Dave Hull, in the #20 machine, led from wire to wire to win his first-ever feature race. Hull, in his fifth season, held off #52 Bruce Chase and a charging points leader #55 Dave Lake in a 25-lap race that was slowed by three cautions, the most significant one being a clash between #15 Casey Berenbrock and #23 Chris Koslek that spun Koslek. Berenbrock was sent to the rear of the field for rough driving. Hull, meanwhile, broke through for his career-first victory after knocking on the door with two runner-up finishes last August, winning by a .162-second margin over Chase. Lake finished third, followed by #1 Randy Veldman and #61 Jack DeJong, who claimed his first-ever top 5 finish.
In the Engine Pro Super Stock feature, #88 Tim Sweeney charged out to a big lead early over #98 Bob Bliss and #1 Brian Wiersma, but #45 Sean Gipson displayed a nice piece of driving to get by Wiersma on lap 3 and Bliss on lap 5 for second place. A three-wide battle on the backstretch on lap 5 led to contact between #33 Jerry Groeneveld and #35 Kyle Anderson, which sent Anderson off the back and into the safety foam behind the scoreboard in turn 3. Anderson was fine, and a lengthy red flag caution stop ped the field for cleanup. Once back under green, Sweeney again distanced himself from the field, with Gipson the only car in the same area code. They held those positions through two more cautions on their way to the finish line. Sweeney claimed the checkered flag by a .996 second margin over Gipson, whose margin over third place Bliss was a whole straightaway at 3.39 seconds. #13 James Haney finished fourth and Wiersma finished fifth.
The 50-lap Coors Light Late Model feature marked the return of Joe Bush to Berlin, and he was on a mission. Bush, of Hastings, qualified at a blazing 15.064-second lap time (104.673 mph), the fastest Late Model qualifying time in recent history. Bush started 7th in the feature after the inversion, but wouldn't stay there long. Cautions on lap 4 for a spin by #55 Chris Anthony across the start-finish line and on lap 6 when #8 Dakota Carlson went off the backstretch didn't deter Bush and his teammate #18 Lee Anderson, the fastest cars on the track. Anderson led and Bush had moved into fifth by lap 2. Bush got around #222 Caleb Bisacky then put away #1 Randy Sweet to move into third before #82 Tom Thomas spun into the turn 1 wall for the third caution of the race. On lap 12 Bush passed #27 Billy Shotko for second place, then the Anderson-Bush team hooked up together and put some distance on the field. Bush got by Anderson for the lead on lap 19, then on lap 29, #7 Alan Fricke's engine broke, spilling oil on the racetrack. As Fricke came to a stop by the wall in turn 1, Sweet and Shotko skidded in the oil spill and slammed into Fricke's car. All drivers walked away, and a 31-minute red flag delay for clean-up followed. Once back under green, it remained a dogfight between Anderson and Bush, but in the end it was Bush who came away with his first victory of the season, followed by Anderson, #12 Tim DeVos in third, #11 Leroy Magoon in fourth and #21 Johnny VanDoorn, who recorded his first-ever top 10 finish, in fifth.
In the Standale Interi ors Sportsman feature, #6 Terry Bockheim came from the back to win his third feature of the season ahead of #15 Mat McClarren, #33 Allen Davis, #44 Brian Van Zalen and #2 Shawn Simon.
Racing action resumes next Saturday night, May 28, with the Spring Championship, a weekly points races for all four divisions with a 100-lap Coors Light Late Model feature. It's also Dollar Beer and Hot Dogs night all night long! Tickets are $11 in advance and $12 at the gate for general admission (kids 3-12 are half price) Pit passes for those 16 and over are $25. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the first race begins at 7 p.m.