Van Haitsma wins third straight; Bush, Bliss both claim second wins of season MARNE, MI -- Terry Van Haitsma of Hudsonville opened up a commanding 82-point lead in the Standale Lumber Sportsman point standings after winning his third straight ...
Van Haitsma wins third straight; Bush, Bliss both claim second wins of season
MARNE, MI -- Terry Van Haitsma of Hudsonville opened up a commanding 82-point lead in the Standale Lumber Sportsman point standings after winning his third straight feature race in just the fourth race of the season Saturday night. Races were completed during a break in the stormy weather that flooded out half the parking area at the track over the last week. Bob Bliss of Dorr won his second Engine Pro Super Stock feature in four races and Joe Bush of Hastings won his second of three Coors Light Late Model features.
In the 25-lap Standard Lumber Sportsman division, Van Haitsma qualified seventh and started the feature third after the roll of the dice inversion. After quick cautions on laps 9 and 15 for single-car spins by #21 Tim Greene and #14 Kevin DeGood, respectively, Van Haitsma peeked outside of pole-sitter #49 Dave D'Avignon for the lead, then passed him underneath on the backstretch. #55 Dave Lake and #52 Bruce Chase followed, shuffling D'Avignon back into the field. Lake pulled inside Van Haitsma going for the lead, but #12 Steve Walters spun on the backstretch to bring out the caution and Van Haitsma retained the lead. On lap 21 Lake slapped the frontstretch wall, allowing Van Haitsma to pull away for the win and the Powerflex Trophy presented by Hastings Manufacturing Co. sponsored by Engine Pro. Lake hung on for second place followed by Chase, #4 Nick Gebben and #20 Dave Hull. The race lasted just 14 minutes and 7 seconds. Gebben won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing five positions to fourth. Van Haitsma has racked up 714 points in winning three out of four features and is followed distantly by Lake with 632 points.
In the 50-lap Coors Light Late Model feature, #94 Greg Usher spun off the backstretch and into the flooded "lake" on lap 7, then #101 Joe Bush, #47 Fred Campbell and #12 Tim DeVos managed a 3-car breakaway ahead of #222 Caleb Bisacky, who started on the front row alongside Bush. Terry Senneker, the pole-sitter, blew an engine during hot laps just before the feature and was forced to retire. On lap 23 #57 Rick Senneker spun across the start-finish line but didn't hit anything, then on the restart #27 Billy Shotko spun alone on the backstretch after falling back several positions. #82 Tom Thomas fought DeVos hard for third spot, then took the position on lap 34. Bush caught the back of the field on lap 40 and began lapping cars while increasing his lead over Campbell, who was passed by Thomas for second on lap 49. Bush won the Fel-Pro Trophy presented by The Federal Mogul Group sponsored by Engine Pro by .783 seconds over Thomas, followed by Campbell, DeVos and #33 Dave Stehouwer, a 30-year veteran who posted his best finish in at least 4 years. Rookie Ross Meeuwsen won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing 15 positions to finish seventh. Bush leads the point standings by 10 points over Thomas.
In the 30-lap Engine Pro Super Stock feature, the 22-car field managed to stay green for the first half of the race before #12 Phil Greene brought out the first caution for a spin in turn 4. Several crashes and spins ensued before the race finally ended with #98 Bob Bliss claiming his second Clevite Trophy presented by The Dana Corp. sponsored by Engine Pro of the season. #5 Ray VanAllsburg finished second, followed by #71 Brandon Braisted, #H7 John Smith Sr.and #14 John Arendsen. Bliss won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing seven positions to win. Bliss leads the point standings by 10 points over #1 Brian Wiersma.
Berlin Raceway will be back in action next Saturday night, May 29, for the Spring Championship. Coors Light Late Model, Engine Pro Super Stock and Standale Lumber Sportsman divisions will compete. 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.