T. Thomas, Ryan, Tillema, Shotko and Clark win rain-delayed night at Berlin Raceway
Marne, MI - It was a rainy day at Berlin Raceway and even though most of the afternoon activity was washed away, the show went on. A good crowd came out to see the show and even though the start was delayed for a bit, they were treated to an excellent night of racing. Winners on the night were: Zach Clark (Burnips Equipment 4-Cylinder), Billy Shotko (Model Coverall Modified), Brian Tillema (Kerkstra Services Sportsman), Justin Ryan (Engine Pro Super Stock) and Tom Thomas (Port City Racing/Great Lakes Helicopter Outlaw Late Model).
The Burnips Equipment 4-Cylinders were the first to hit the track with a 15-lap feature; #75 Dan Ream and #18 Todd Worden on the front row. By the time lap 1 was completed, #9 Zach Clark was scored as the leader and then the first caution came out for debris in turn 4. Clark got a great restart and the cars behind him were battling for position. D. Ream was falling back and #10 Dave Duyst, #77 Jared Lyzenga, #20 Jackson Walker and #2 Darrell Holtzlander all got by him. By lap 3, Lyzenga up to second and chasing down Clark. The car on the move was the #76 of Mike Speet, he was trying all he could to get around Walker for third. The pair raced hard for a handful of laps before Speet took the position on lap 9 and set off to catch up with Lyzenga. With one lap to go, the leaders were all in traffic and while no one could touch Clark, Speet and Lyzenga took their battle to the start/finish line. Clark got his first win and the rest of the top ten were Speet, Lyzenga, Walker, Holtzlander, #89 Sierra Lantz, #62 Charlie DeJong, Duyst, #11X Jason Essex and #17 Seth VanHorssen.
Up next, the Port City Racing/Great Lakes Helicopter Outlaw Late Models took the track for qualifying as it kept getting pushed back due to weather; #37 Terry Senneker took home the Baker Engineering Fast Qualifier Award with a time of 15.098, 104.438 miles per hour.
The Model Coverall Modifieds were up next for their 30-lap feature with #80 Samantha Jansen and #68 Randy DeBoer leading the field to the green flag. Before the first lap was complete, #76 Ryan Gruppen hit the turn three wall. Jansen had a three car length lead and the race was on behind her. It was #22 Billy Shotko who was moving up; he used the outside to make the pass for second and then he took the lead on lap 9. #7 Ryan Hamm saw that this was the way to go and he followed suit. The second caution of the race came on lap 6 when Jansen spun in turn 2. Shotko led, #66 Adam Chase was up to second and the #97 of Kevin DeGood was challenging Hamm for third after the restart. ON lap 10, the field calmed down a bit and settled in single-file. DeGood made It up to second and was chasing down Shotko’s lead as the laps wound down. DeGood ran out of time to catch him; Shotko scored the win and the rest of the top ten were DeGood, Chase, Hamm, DeBoer, #67 Ben Welch, Jansen, #29 Rob Shoemaker, Gruppen and #8 Billy Eppink.
Next on the track was the 25-lap Kerkstra Services Sportsman feature. #84 Tyler Nawrocki was on the pole and #40 Dave Culter started just on his outside. Nawrocki held the lead, but he had to hold off the #33 of Allen Davis who made his way up to second as the field raced two by two behind them. There was a close call on lap 5 for the #26 of Brian Thome, he pulled his car in to the pits as the field raced on. Lap 7 saw Allen Davis get shuffled back, #18 Mitch Meppelink, #76 Brian Tillema, #F1 Randy Veldman and #15 Scott Root all got past him. The first caution of the race came out on lap 10, the #9 of Tyler Sterken spun in turn 4. Meppelink grabbed the lead on the restart and Nawrocki while Nawrocki was trying to hold off the challengers, he spun in turn 2. Meppelink maintained the lead, but lurking behind him was Tillema; Veldman was in third trying to hold off #88 Tony Davis and Root. Tillema pulled side by side with Meppelink on the backstretch on lap 18 and even though Tillema took the lead, Meppelink was not giving up. He made contact with Tillema coming out of turn 4 and it was Meppelink who spun. The field was restarted and with Tillema in the lead, he proceeded to run away with the win. Veldman took second and the rest of the top ten were Tony Davis, Root, Allen Davis, #52 Nick Sherrington, #89 Kirk Meissner, Nawrocki, Meppelink and #40 Dave Cutler.
The Engine Pro Super Stocks rolled next, #00 Dennis Mann and #20J Jeremy Munniksma lead the way for the 30-lap feature. Munniksma took off from the drop of the flag and took the lead. Behind him, the field was racing hard for every position. The first caution came out on lap 5, #18 Denny Anderson and #78 Will Olmsted made contact racing for fourth. Once the field was restarted, Munniksma continued to lead as Mann fell back. The #6 of Bob Bliss and #55 Dave Lake were on the move, as well as point leader #51 Justin Ryan. Munniksma scored some breathing room on lap 9 while Lake was passing Bliss for second and just two laps later, Lake took the lead from Munniksma. It was then Ryan’s turn to take second from Munnkisma on lap 17 and then he took off for Lake. With ten laps to go, Lake’s lead was only a half of a second and shrinking with each passing lap. With four laps to go, it appeared that Lake got loose while trying to hold Ryan off which allowed Ryan to slip by for the lead. There was just no catching Ryan, he got his third win of the season and the rest of the top ten were Lake, #48 Seth Moody, Olmsted, #66 Nate Walton, Munniksma, Bliss, Mann, #11 Nick Bonstell and #76 Warren Speet.
The Port City Racing/Great Lakes Helicopter Outlaw Late Models were the final race of the night; #71 Harold Fair and #88 Tim Yonker were on the front row. Fair took off with the lead an it was #16 Derrick Griffin who was quick to jump to second. The top five rode single file, but the race was on for sixth with #37 Terry Senneker and #12 Tim Devos with the field stacked up behind them. Senneker took the position as DeVos fell back, but then the caution was out on lap 8 for the #4 of Adam Terry and #11 Leroy Magoon. Fair continued to lead and the car to watch was the #1 of Barry Hartwell. He made the pass for fifth on lap 17 and continued his march forward. Just three laps later, the second caution of the race came out for the #28 of Scott Thomas spinning across the front stretch. After a track check to look for oil, the field was restarted and they picked up where they left off, settling in to mostly single file racing. On lap 32, the #32 of Ross Meeuwsen brought out the third caution when he spun on the backstretch. It was a quick yellow and the field was restarted moments later. Fair was off like a shot when the race was restarted, but Griffin was trying not to let him check out like he did after the last restart, but Griffin was under fire from #21 Terry VanHaitsma and behind them were the fast machines of Senneker, #82 Tom Thomas and #12 Tim DeVos. While Griffin was fending off VanHaitsma, Fair began to pull away again; VanHaitsma took second and Griffin fell back to fifth after Senneker, Tom Thomas and DeVos all got by him. On lap 46, Fair’s lead was 3.3 seconds, Senneker overtook VanHaitsma for seconds and then the leaders found themselves in traffic. Even in traffic Senneker was cutting in to Fair’s lead. They were in traffic again on lap 52 and Senneker was being challenged by Thomas; Thomas took the position on lap 55. By lap 58, Thomas cut the lead to under a half of a second and the pair would soon be in traffic. Thomas took the outside lane to make his move, but then switched lanes and got stuck behind a lapped car. He regrouped and tried again, but Senneker made it three wide on the high side to take the lead on lap 65. Thomas muscled past Fair on lap 67 for second in hopes that he did not let Senneker get too far away. The pace of the race was slowed on lap 72 for a debris caution. On the restarted, Senneker and Thomas took off and Thomas was just biding his time, trying to figure out the best way around Senneker. They ran nose to tail for about seven laps until they came in to lapped traffic and Senneker was able to pull away. Cautions five and six came back to back, the fifth for Meeuwsen spinning on the backstretch and the sixth for #15 Brian Maxim. Thomas grabbed the lead on the restart and the race was on for second between Senneker, DeVos and Meeuwsen. By lap 85, the field spread out. With ten to go, Thomas was working traffic and Senneker was closing in. They took their battle down to the last lap with Thomas able to hold Senneker off at the line. Thomas got his first win of the season, Senneker took home second and the rest of the top ten were Meeuwsen, DeVos, #9 Mike Root, #24 Tyler Roahrig, Griffin, Fair, #8 Dakota Carlson and #1 Barry Hartwell.
Next Saturday, May 12, the CRA Super Series will be back at Berlin Raceway. They will have a 125-lap feature and will be joined by the Model Coverall Modifieds, Kerkstra Services Sportsman and the Vintage Racing Organization of America. Tickets are $15 for adults, kids 11 and under are free and the first race will start at 7:00 p.m.
More information can be found at www.berlinraceway.com.