Berling Speedway report 2002-05-04

Sweet starts Berlin season with victory Smith Sr., Macintosh also claim opening wins. MARNE, MI -- Randy Sweet began the 2002 Berlin Raceway season in championship form, racing to victory in the Coors Light Late Model 50-lap feature. Sweet, a ...

Sweet starts Berlin season with victory Smith Sr., Macintosh also claim opening wins.

MARNE, MI -- Randy Sweet began the 2002 Berlin Raceway season in championship form, racing to victory in the Coors Light Late Model 50-lap feature. Sweet, a five-time track champion, jumps to an early points lead in what is possibly the strongest Coors Light Late Model field ever. A crowd of 6,166 packed into Berlin for the season opener, which came a week late after being rained out last Saturday.

Sweet, of Kalamazoo, took the lead on lap 10 after qualifying seventh fastest and never looked back, powering his #1 Devrou Chevrolet Late Model across the finish line two seconds ahead of #88 Tim Yonker. #82 Tom Thomas finished third, followed by #74 Paul Namey, #28 Scott Thomas and former track champion #101 Joe Bush. Defending Coors Light Late Model champion #47 Fred Campbell finished 10th.

The #161 car of Lee Anderson, the 2001 points runner-up, was the fastest qualifier at 103.315 mph, while #12 Tim DeVos won the Valvoline Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions from start to finish in the feature. DeVos started 17th and finished 8th in the feature. #17 Greg Zimmerman won the Last Chance race (four drivers from the Last Chance race transfer in to the feature to fill out the 28-car field) and #7 Alan Fricke won the Consolation race.

In the Engine Pro Super Stock division, #77 John Smith Sr. of Sand Lake took the checkered flag, finishing a solid 2.5 seconds ahead of second place #97 Matt Keltner, the 2001 points runner-up. Smith, who finished fourth in 2001 points, started the race in third place and quickly drove his 77 Express/Video TechTronics Dodge truck to the lead, opening up a big lead through the middle of the 30-lap feature.

#X Ray Clay finished third, followed by #32 Ross Meeuwsen and #98 Bob Bliss. Meeuwsen was the fastest qualifier at 90.955 mph. Engine Pro Super Stock heat race winners were Keltner and rookie #29 Steve Sunde, while Keltner won the Valvoline Hard Charger award by advancing nine positions.

Andrew Macintosh of Wayland claimed his first career victory in the Michigan Truck Accessories Sportsman division, leading every lap of the 25-lap feature after starting second. #23 Macintosh, who finished 16th in 2001 points, held off a late challenge by #9 Mike Root to cross the finish line by .673 seconds. #10 Jay Gipson finished third, followed by #19 Nick Shotko and #55 Chris Anthony. Root, the 2001 fourth place finisher in points, was the fastest qualifier at 84.566 mph.

Michigan Truck Accessories Sportsman heat race winners were #40 Dave Cutler, #15 Tim Horvath, #86 Ray Melinn and #01 Steve Murray. Consolation winner was #31 Craig Matthews and the Valvoline Hard Charger was Cutler, who advanced 10 positions.

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Series Stock car