VanHaitsma rebounds for big Coors Light Super Late Model Win
-Will Olmsted, Kevin DeGood, Mike Speet and Jimmy Lawson also claim wins-
5/19/2012, Marne, MI - Amazing weather greeted competitors and fans to an excellent night of racing, including the opener for the Coors Light Super Late Models. An extended feature was run to make up for the previous rain date. Four other divisions took to the track in many closely contested races throughout the season.
The Vintage Racing Organization of America was the first feature on track, #4X Arnie Snyder and #4 Don Smith were on the front row of the 25-lap feature. Smith grabbed the lead and it was the #7 of Jimmy Lawson who was mixing it up in the field, he took it three wide a couple of times and finally made it up to second position on lap 5. As soon as Lawson took the position, he was on a mission to catch up to Smith. The first caution of the race came on lap 6 when Snyder looped it turn 1. Lawson took the lead on the restart and the field stacked up behind him two by two. The second caution happened on lap 8. The #43 of Terry Byrne spun in turn three collecting #42 Mike Becker, #82 Rob Parker, #30 Max Wirebaugh and #81 Andrew Bartoszek. Smith continued to lead and #20 Don Deyman was challenging him on the high side. As they were approaching the line, Deyman’s engine blew and brought the third caution out. Lawson was still the leader, but #47 Larry Mollohan and #80 Billy Eppink were giving chase. Eppink and Mollohan made contact and Mollohan spun, bringing out the caution and the checkered flag. Lawson took the win and the rest of the top ten were Eppink, Byrne, Smith, #2 Randy Pierson, #61 Jason Burrus, Snyder, #59 John Evans, Mollohan and Wirebaugh.
The Burnips Equipment 4-Cylinders rolled next with #17 Seth VanHorssen on the pole for the 15-lap feature, #3 Dan Schoenborn started on his outside. VanHorssen lead the first two laps and while he was enjoying the clean air, the cars behind them were racing three, sometimes four wide. One battle heating up was between #2 Darrell Hotlzlander, #89 Sierra Lantz, Schoenborn and #14 Billy Krupp. They were four-wide heading in to turn three when Lantz and Schoenborn made contact, sending them spinning and in to Krupp. Krupp ended up on his side in between turns three and four and this brought out the red flag for clean up. Just after the race was restarted, caution was out again for Lantz, she spun in turn one. When the race was restarted, they were three wide for the lead (#11X Jason Essex, VanHorssen and #9 Zach Clark) just at Lantz slapped the turn four wall, but she was able to keep going without bringing out the caution. It was the #20 of Jackson Walker who took the lead on lap 4, but that was short-lived because #76 Mike Speet was charging through the field and took the lead away. Lap 7 saw the final caution and this also ended the race. Lantz and #68 Jerry Smith made contact in turn three and the both ended up in the turn 4 wall. Since the race was over its time limit, it was checkered, handing the win to Speet. The rest of the top ten were Walker, Clark, Holtzlander, Essex, #62 Charlie DeJong, VanHorssen, #63 Paul Ritchie and #91 Rob Ream.
Next was the 30-lap Model Coverall Modified feature with #7 Ryan Hamm and #68 Randy DeBoer on the front row. Hamm maintained his position and tried to pull away with the lead, but the #97of Kevin DeGood was staying with him. DeGood was stalking Hamm for the lead and he used the high side to make his way around Hamm on lap 8 and once he had the lead, he checked out. Hamm was left to fight off #66 Adam Chase and #22 Billy Shotko. Lap 19 saw the first caution of the race, Shotko and Chase, racing hard for position, made contact and Chase spun on the backstretch. The leaders, DeGood and Hamm, pulled away again after the restarted, but just a few laps later, caution was out again. This time for #29 Rob Shoemaker who spun in turn 4. DeGood continued to lead and with five laps to go, he had just over a one second lead over Hamm, but the battle to watch was for the third position between Shotko and #8 Billy Eppink. Shotko was able to overtake him coming out of turn four to take the checkered flag. DeGood took home the checker and completing the top nine were Hamm, Shotko, Eppink, DeBoer, Chase, #20 Jeff Vrsek, #67 Ben Welch and Shoemaker.
The Engine Pro Super Stocks were next with a 30-lap feature; #66 Nate Walton and #20 Dave Hull led the field to the green flag. Walton took off with the lead as #78 Will Olmsted and Hull battled for second. Olmsted took the position and set his sights on the leader, Walton. They were side by side on lap 5, but Olmsted couldn’t clear him. As they were racing hard, #51 Justin Ryan caught up to them and the battle was on for forth between #54 Joel Baker and #48 Seth Moody. Lap 14, Olmsted took the lead from Walton, but Walton was fighting back on the outside. Olmsted cleared him the next time by and five laps later, Ryan passed Walton for second. With five laps to go, Olmsted’s lead was just over a half of a second and growing. There was just no catching Olmsted, he broke Ryan’s three-race winning streak and got his first feature win at Berlin Raceway. The rest of the top ten were Ryan, Moody, Walton, Baker, #77 Andrew Nylaan, Hull, #76 Warren Speet, #6 Bob Bliss and #20J Jeremy Munniksma.
The final race of the night was the 125-lap Coors Light Super Late Model with #5 Alec Carll and #21 Terry VanHaitsma on the front row. Carll took off with the lead and it was #12 Tim DeVos up to second and the #55 of Chris Anthony to third and they were all pulling away from the field. The car on the move was the #48 of Seth Moody. He was up to second by lap 8 and then passed Carll for the lead on lap 9. The field was racing hard and close and the lead to the first caution of the race on lap 11, it was the #26 of Chris Muyskens who spun on the backstretch. When they came back from the restart, the field settled in to the green flag run. With 30 laps in, Moody’s lead was one and a half seconds, but that was quickly erased when the second caution came out, #101 Lauren Bush spun on the backstretch. The field was bunched back up, but Moody pulled back out to a commanding lead. The race for second was shaping up to get exciting. Carll had it and Anthony and VanHaitsma wanted it. During the previous run, Anthony had been all over Carll’s bumper and Anthony was able to overtake him on lap 39 and he brought VanHaitsma. Anthony wasted no time catching up to Moody after he took second, but even though Moody was in his sights, he was not able to get to his back bumper. Lap 47 saw the third caution of the race, Muyskens spun again in turn 2. When the field was restarted, Anthony grabbed the lead using the outside lane. A little further back, #82 Tom Thomas, Carll and Meeuwsen went three-wide for fourth; Meeuwsen prevails using the outside lane as well, meanwhile Anthony was checking out. Anthony was in lapped traffic in lap 62. He was able to maintain his lead, but VanHaitsma was closing in on second place Moody with 50 laps to go. It took a while, but VanHaitsma made the pass on lap 82 meaning he had 43 laps to catch and pass Anthony. Lap by lap, VanHaitsma was cutting in to Anthony’s lead. At lap 96, VanHaitsma took the lead and traffic was looming. Thomas didn’t seem to mind being in traffic, he was able to pass Anthony for second on lap 106. With five laps to go, there was a wreck in front of the leader; #77 Josh Hobson and #5 Justin Ryan made contact in turn 1, VanHaitsma was able to make it through the smoke. After a quick clean up, VanHaitsma got a great restart, ran away from the field and held on for the last few laps to get the win. Thomas, Meeuwsen, Anthony, Moody, Hobson, #55 Dave Lake, Bush, #84 Jay Niewiek and #24 Lee VanDyk rounded out the top ten.
Next Saturday, May 26, is Sportsman Night. The Port City Racecars/Great Lakes Helicopter Outlaw Late Models will be back in action along with the Engine Pro Super Stocks, Model Coverall Modifieds, Kerkstra Services Sportsman and Burnips Equipment 4-Cylinders. Tickets for adults are $12 and kids 11 and under are free; racing starts at 7:00 p.m.
For additional information on the 2012 racing season, please visit www.berlinraceway.com.