August 16, 2019
This week’s must-see race is The Battle at Berlin 251, at Berlin Raceway, Marne, MI.
It’s Berlin Baby!
That might not be the original phrase, but the racing at Berlin this weekend should be just as tough and exciting as it is at Bristol!
The anticipation for this race has been as long as the hot summer nights have been. I have been told, I have read and I have overheard that this is the race that the drivers have been waiting for. Austin Kunert told TLC Motorsports Marketing, “I’m really excited to believe it or not that I’m going back to Berlin for the 251. I know we will have a good and fast Van Doorn Racing Development racecar.” Jack Dossey III is also looking forward to this weekend telling me “Berlin is a track that I’ve only raced at a handful of times, and I’m really hoping to improve my best finish of 11th place this year when we go back at my first Battle at Berlin 251 start.
This is a tri-sanctioned race with championship implications on the line for the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the CRA/JEGS All-Stars and the Berlin Late Models who are also running for championship points. At the top of the leaderboards in points for the Super Series are Corbin, Kentucky’s Josh Brock who at the end of the regular season had over a hundred point lead over Auburn, Indiana’s Hunter Jack. In the All-Star Tour heading into their championship chase, Dan Leek had just over a twenty point lead over Mandy Chick, and in the Berlin track points for the late models Jenison, Michigan’s Nate Walton holds a forty-four point lead over Grandville’s Tom Thomas. The current entrylist includes 36 of the top names in short track racing including local standouts Brian Campbell and Johnny VanDoorn and traveling superstars such as former NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series driver Cody Caughlin and current ARCA Menards Series driver and championship contender Travis Braden. Braden told TLC Motorsports marketing earlier this week “(I’m)Really excited about the Battle at Berlin. This is always a great event. We’ve always had success but never been able to take the checkered flag. With this year’s large, stacked field, it will be tougher than ever. With a 2nd place finish in five races already this season, to finally get that monkey off our back and get to victory lane at such a huge event would be huge for this Team Platinum group. Can’t wait!” Currently listed but unable to make the trip is Preston Peltier, bringing the list down to a stellar 35 entries!
The race is scheduled to be 251 laps. The weather is expected to be fantastic with a forecast of sunny and 80 degrees at race time.
If you have not been to Berlin, it is one of the premier tracks in the country with outstanding facilities and not a bad seat in the house. A few years ago bleacher seats were obtained from Michigan International Speedway, and they have added a great deal of additional seating and a spectacular view. If you choose a seat at the top you have a spotters eye view of the entire track from the front stretch. The only better view is one that cannot be bought and that belongs to our own Matt Prieur as he calls the race from high up on turn 2. Bring your cooler and fill it with pop – this is Michigan after all, and if your choice of beverage is something with a little more kick you can find that in the Left Turn Lounge where the crew slings mixed drinks and the best in beer, both national and local microbrews.
Track President, Mike Bursley created an innovative way to qualify for both the Money in the Bank race and the Battle at Berlin this year. Prior to each of the big races were opportunities to race your way in during the regular season races. These opportunities allowed for fans to see hard racing by both the locals and some visiting drivers. Not only was there a guaranteed spot in the big races, but there were bigger paychecks on the line for winning these races. The winners of the qualifying races for Battle at Berlin were Boris Jurkovic and Brian Campbell.
Looking back at The Money in the Bank race saw many competitors from across the country including Kyle Jones from Springfield, Ohio and Casey Roderick who made the trip all the way up from Lawrenceville, Georgia. No one ever wants to see great competitors taken out in incidents on the track, and one of the hardest crashes that night was between Donnie Wilson who had traveled from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and local track favorite Dave Lake. Both cars were torn up and Dave suffered a broken wrist in the incident, sidelining him for only a few weeks when he returned with a brace on his wrist and a smile on his face. Campbell was able to take home the big $ in that race. Might we something similar this weekend?
Brighton, Michigan native, Kyle Crump has become a familiar face at Berlin but has not seen much success on the (7/16) mile track this year. A bit of luck, great skills, and a fast car propelled him to a first-place finish and a well deserved checkered flag at the Kalamazoo Klash just a short week and a half ago. Crump will be returning to Berlin to see if he can pocket the cash this week too In his VanDoorn make chassis?
Both Terry Seneker and Johnny VanDoorn are entered not only as drivers but as chassis builders as well with Brian Campbell and Bubba Pollard in Senneker cars and Crump, Hocevar and Jack in Van Doorn cars. Not to be left out are the Rowdy chassis of Boris Jurkovich, which has been fast at Berlin since he first unloaded at Berlin in April and the Fury car of Super Series regular-season champion Josh Brock.
If you can’t make it out to Berlin this weekend you can catch all of the action on Fanschoice.tv for the Model Coverall Modifieds and the Kalamazoo Vapor 4-Cylinder races and then switch over to speed51.com for the Battle at Berlin 251.