Tom Thomas, Brian Tillema, Kevin DeGood, Mike Speet and Terry Byrne win the Labor Day Spectacular
Marne, MI – Just one week remains of the regular season and the track is covered in dirt for the World of Outlaw Late Models, so the division on hand during this Labor Day Spectacular were getting their cars dialed in for Championship Weekend.
The Vintage Racing Organization of America were the first cars to hit the track for a 25-lap feature, #30 Max Wirebaugh was on the pole with #31 Mike Ouendag on his outside. Ouendag was quick to grab the lead on lap one, but Wirebaugh was challenging back; the two touched wheels, Ouendag got loose and behind him, the entire field scrambled to check up. On lap 3, the #2 of Randy Pierson took the lead and his teammate #43 Terry Byrne was running in second. The two of them pulled away from the field and every car behind them was racing hard for every position. The first caution of the race came out on lap 9 when Wirebaugh spun on the frontstretch and he collected the #55 of Jeff Barsen. On the restart, Byrne was looking to get by Pierson, but Pierson was holding him off, along with five other cars right on their bumpers. Lap 14 had a three-wide battle for the lead between Byrne, Pierson and #20 Don Deyman. Deyman was the first to hit the line and the next time by he was side by side with Byrne when he blew up. The caution came out to assess and clean the track and once the field was restarted, Byrne continued to lead, but the #61 of Jason Burrus was stalking him. Burrus took the lead on lap 19, but was unable to clear Byrne, they would run side by side with Burrus having a slight edge. The caution was out again on lap 21 when the #2x of Tom Boorsma and #3 Lou Caposey got together and spun in turn three. Burrus got a good restart, but he was using the high lane and Byrne was able to get by him. The final caution of the race was on lap 24 when Ouendag spun on the backstretch and this set up a one-lap shootout. Bynre was able to hang on and get the win and the rest of the top ten were Burrus, Pierson, #7 Jimmy Lawson, #80 Billy Eppink, #81 Andrew Bartoszek, #59 John Evans, Caposey, #83 Loren Peterson and #4 Don Smith.
The 15-lap Burnips Equipment 4-Cylinders were next and it was the #22 Jake Loesch and #12 Paul Ritchie leading the field to the green flag. Loesch led with the #89 of Sierra Lantz looking to challenge him. Ritchie had dropped back and on lap 2, he was all sorts of sideways coming out of turn 4, but he was able to save it and the race stayed green for another lap. It was Lantz who spun in turns 3 & 4 and that brought out the first caution. Loesch got a good restart, but the #18 of Mike Speet was lurking right behind him, Speet took the lead on lap 5 and, as he had done all season long, proceeded to drive away from the field. The #11X of Jason Essex was the next car to clear the back and he had the task of trying to reel in Speet, but he would have to defend his position from a hard-charging #10 Dave Duyst. As Speet took the checkered flag, Essex beat Duyst to the line to bring it home in second. The rest of the top ten were #62 Charlie DeJong, #9 Zach Clark, Lantz, #20 Jackson Walker, #36 Kyle VanDrunen, Ritchie and #40 Scott Meier.
Up next were the Model Coverall Modifieds for a 20-lap feature, #29 Rob Shoemaker and #67 Ben Welch were on the front row. Shoemaker led lap one, then Welch grabbed the lead and had to hold off the #8 of Billy Eppink. Eppink was making many runs at Welch as #22 Billy Shotko and #97 Kevin DeGood were running up on them. DeGood was up to second on lap 11 and was trying to get around Welch on the high side. With that lane not working, DeGood took it low and took the lead on lap 14 and never looked back. DeGood got his fifth win of the season and the rest of the finishing order was Shotko, #66 Adam Chase, Welch, Eppink, #7 Ryan Hamm, #68 Randy DeBoer and Shoemaker.
The Kerkstra Services Sportsman followed the Modifieds and had a 25-lap feature with #40 Dave Cutler and #33 Allen Davis leading the field to the stripe. Cutler took off and as the field was coming in to turn 4, chaos ensued. A. Davis ended up backing his car in to the wall and since he started in the front of the field, he collected #7 Warren Speet, #X Matt VanHorssen, #51 Rick Huisken, #09Tyler Sterken and #89 Kirk Meissner. Once the field was restarted, Cutler took off with the lead and the battle was on behind him. #15 Scott Root was up to second, holding off #18 Mitch Meppelink and #76 Brian Tillema. Tillema got a nose under Meppelink and they thought about going three-wide for second, but Meppelink backed off. It was Tillema who took second and he was followed closely by Root, #1 Randy Veldman, Meppelink and #88 Tony Davis. The caution was out again on lap 11 when Meppelink spun in turns 3 & 4. Tillema took the lead on the restart with T. Davis hot on his heels. The pair ran nose to tail for 7 laps before Davis got under Tillema and then they were side by side. Davis was on his way to taking the lead when the caution came out again for Meppelink who spun across the frontstretch. The restart was single file and Tillema took of once the flag dropped, but Davis and Veldman was right behind him. Davis gave it a good shot, but he came up a little short. Tillema took the win and rest of the top ten were Davis, Veldman, Cutler, Root, #84 Tyler Nawrocki, #26 Brian Thome, #17 Jared Miller, #52 Nick Sherrington and Meissner.
It was #32 Gabe Ensing and #77 Josh Hobson on the front row for the Coors Light Super Late Model 100-lap feature and the field raced side by side for the first five laps of the race. Ensing cleared Hobson for the lead and VanDyk was up to second when the first caution came out; Hobson spun with some help by #19 Nick Szotko on lap 6. It looked like VanDyk would take the lead on the restart, but VanDyk and Ensing made contact and spun in front of the field. With the leaders heading to the back, it was #55 Dave Lake taking the lead on the restart with #99 Jordan Dahlke behind him. The #12 of Tim DeVos was flying through the field, he was the fast qualifier of the night and started the race in 13th and he made it up to fifth. The #222 of Caleb Bisacky was also looking strong, he took second from Dahlke and within two laps, he was passing Lake for the lead on lap 14. The second caution happened on lap 17 when Szotko was off the pace on the backstretch. Bisacky got a good restart and was pulling away while Lake was under attack from DeVos. DeVos took second and #82 Tom Thomas also skated past. On lap 32, Thomas was all over DeVos for second and it took him two laps to get by him. From there, her began to reel in Bisacky. They were side by side on lap 40; Bisacky was putting up a good fight, but this let DeVos close in on them. Thomas took the lead on lap 42 while DeVos was forced to hold off #21 Terry VanHaitsma. VanHaitsma got past DeVos on lap 60 and the #99 of Ross Meeuwsen followed through. By this point, the leaders were in heavy traffic and they were slicing their way through the slower cars. The caution came back out on lap 76 when VanHaitsma spun in turn 2 while racing hard for position. This bunched the field back up and Thomas was able to maintain the lead and Meeuwsen was staying side by side with Bisacky. Meeuwsen slid in front of Bisacky on lap 79 and had about 20 laps to catch Thomas who had a one and a half second lead. Thomas was back in traffic with ten to go, but they were not slowing him down at all. Thomas cruised to the win and the rest of the top ten were Meeuwsen, #55 Chris Anthony, Bisacky, #101 Lauren Bush, VanHaitsma, Lake, #48 Seth Moody, #77 Andrew Nylaan and DeVos.
Be sure to join us at Berlin Raceway next weekend for The Chet Championship Weekend! All of the divisions will be in action and the festivities kick off on Friday, September 7 with qualifying and heat races and a post-race beer tent with live entertainment. Friday will also feature $1 beers $1 hot dogs. Saturday, September 8 will be features for all divisions with the champions being crowned at the end of the night; a post race party in the beer tent with live entertainment tent to follow. There will also be free camping all weekend long! Tickets on Friday are $13 for adults; Saturday will be $15 for adults. There is a 2-day pass available for $25. Kids 11 and under are free and racing on both nights will begin at 7:00 p.m.