Tom Thomas, Nate Walton, Mike Speet and Billy Eppink all take checkers
Marne, MI – Berlin Raceway was once again hit with late-afternoon weather causing a late start to the night. Once the racing action began, the crowd was treated to some great racing by all of the divisions. Winners on the night included Tom Thomas (Port City Racecars / GL Helicopter Outlaw Late Model), Nate Walton (Engine Pro Super Stock), Mike Speet (Burnips Equipment 4-Cylinder) and Billy Eppink (Vintage Racing Organization of America).
The Engine Pro Super Stock 50-lap feature started the night off with #11 Nick Bonstell and #6 Bob Bliss on the front row. Bliss was quick to jump out as the leader and found himself over a second ahead of the field after a few laps while Bonstell was holding off hard-charging #20 Dave Hull and #51 Justin Ryan. Lap 7 saw the first caution of the night when the #024 of Cole Roelofs spun on the backstretch. On the restart, Bliss and Bonstell pulled away from the field and the next car to break away from the field was Ryan, but he ended up brining out the second caution on lap 11 when he spun in turn 2, this incident also collected the #78 of Will Olmsted. Bliss continued to led after the restart and it was #48 Seth Moody taking second from Bonstell and swiftly getting up to Bliss’ bumper. Fast qualifier of the night #77 Andrew Nylaan was also moving up in a hurry; after starting 11th, he was up for third by lap 21. While that was happening, there were cars wrecking on the exit of turn 4; #31 Brett DeKraker spun after contact with #54 Joel Baker and they made contact with the wall and collected Olmsted. After a short red flag for cleanup, the race was restarted and Moody was all over Bliss, challenging for the lead. After about ten laps, Nylaan caught up to them, passed Moody and set his sights on leader Bliss. The pace of the race was slowed when the #51 of Weston Jewett spun across the frontstretch and this put Nylaan right on Bliss’ tail. As the field was completing the first lap back under green, Bliss spun after contact with Nylaan and that sent both drivers to the tail. This handed the lead to Moody who hung on the lead for the remaining laps fighting off #66 Nate Walton and scored his first win of the season. The rest of the top ten were Walton, Hull, Bonstell, #76 Warren Speet, #20J Jeremy Munniksma, #00 Dennis Mann, Bliss, #88 Trever McCoy and Nylaan. After post-race tech, Moody ended up failing inspection which gave the win to Nate Walton.
Up next were the Burnips Equipment 4-Cylinder 15-lap feature; #91 Rob Ream and #11X Jason Essex led the field to the green flag. Essex had the lead, but by lap three, #76 Mike Speet had made his way through the field to challenge for the lead and he took it the next time by. Speet was then on a rail, pulling away from the field and dominating the rest of the race. Speet won by 8.764 seconds with the rest of the finishing order as follows: #2 Darrel Holtzlander, Essex, #62 Charlie DeJong, #89 Sierra Lantz, #36 Kyle VanDrunen, #91 Rob Ream, #68 Jerry Smith, #81 Robbie Ream, #20 Jackson Walker and #17 Seth VanHorssen.
For the Port City Racecars / GL Helicopter Outlaw Late Model 100-lap feature, #X Ray Clay and #8 Tim Yonker started on the front row. Yonker rocketed away with the lead and the top twelve raced single file. There was a lead change on lap 11 when Clay drove past Yonker and he took the #82 of Tom Thomas and #28 Scott Thomas with him. On lap 18, Thomas was knocking on Yonker’s bumper and took the lead on lap 19 though Clay was fighting back on the outside. Thirty laps in, there were numerous 2-car battles throughout the field as the leaders were coming in to traffic. The field then settled into a long green flag run and by lap 62, Thomas had just over a seven-second lead over S. Thomas who kept getting held up by lapped cars. With 25 laps to go, the battle for second was heating up; #21 Terry VanHaitsma was all over S. Thomas for second with #6 Dave Zagaiski waiting in the wings. VanHaitsma took the position on lap 77 as Thomas had lapped all but the top ten cars. While VanHaitsma was able to cut in to Thomas’ lead, there was just not enough time to surmount the lead Thomas had. Tom Thomas got the win and completing the top ten were VanHaitsma, #37 Terry Senneker, #32 Ross Meeuwsen, S. Thomas, Zagaiski, #10 Johnny Benson, #12 Tim DeVos, Clay and #8 Dakota Carlson.
The 25-lap Vintage Racing Organization of America rounded out the night of racing; #30 Max Wirebaugh and #61 Jason Burrus were out in front of the field. As they raced around, there was no clear leader and they raced side by side. On lap 3, the battle for the lead ended in a caution as Wirebaugh and Bartoszek made contact and hit the wall; #16 Samantha Jansen and #82 Rob Parker were also involved. The new leader after the restart was #43 Terry Byrne, but he was quickly overtaken by #20 Don Deyman on lap 6. #80 Bill Eppink wasn’t letting Deyman get too far away, though. Lap 9 saw the first caution of this race when the #4X of Arnie Snyder spun in turn one. The field was reset and restarted and Deyman and Eppink raced side by side for a couple of laps before Deyman took the lead. Eppink was battling back on the inside, though and took the lead on lap 13. Deyman was not giving up, but on lap 20, he overdrove his car going in to turn 4 and had to check up, letting Eppink get away. However, with three laps to go, caution was out for the #42 of Mike Becker who came to a stop in turn 4 and then the race was ended due to time constraints. Billy Eppink found himself in victory lane and the rest of the top ten were #61 Jason Burrus, Byrne, #59 John Evans, Becker, Snyder, Jansen, #31 Randy Pierson and Wirebaugh.
Be sure to make it out to Berlin Raceway this coming Tuesday, June 19 for the Rowdy 251! The Super Late Models will be sanctioned by the ARCA / CRA Super Series and the race will feature NASCAR stars Kyle Busch and Travis Pastrana. They will have an autograph session starting at 6:00 p.m. The Top Speed Fabrication Modifieds will also be in action. Tickets for this special event are $22 for adults while kids 11 and under still get in for free; racing will start at 7:00 p.m.
More information can be found at www.berlinraceway.com or by calling the office during normal business hours Tuesday - Friday 9am - 5pm.