Strong Showing Falls Just Short
The highly anticipated midweek race at the Berlin Raceway lived up to its billing as a must see event. The big three-in-
one show, running under cloudless skies and near perfect temperatures, included the Budweiser Outlaw Late Models, Boyne Machine Super Lates and the Top Speed Modifieds.
The RA team, with all three cars in action, qualified well, putting themselves solidly in the starting field. Ben Welch, driver of the RA 97L modified, qualified third. In the very competitive Super Late division, Joe Bush qualified the 101L second, while teammate Dave Lake ended up 8th quick in the 55L.
The first feature of the night was the 40 lap main event for the Modifieds. Welch, the 16 year old, Coopersville High School Junior, started on the outside of row two and found himself battling for the lead early with pole sitter and Top Speed point leader Chad Poole. The battle didn’t last long as Berlin Point Leader, Billy Shotko, blasted by both cars and drove away from the field to claim the feature win. Dan Loughan, fresh off his Berlin feature win just 12 days ago, raced to second, with Welch coming home third. The Modifieds are back in action this Saturday night.
Up next, the 75 lap main event for the Super Lates. Dave Lake lead the field of 22 to the green flag and then the next 15 laps, looking strong and very much in control early before trouble struck. A competitor running at the tail end of the field had been dropping fluid on the track over a three lap stretch, and Dave found it, spun the car in turn three and backed the 55L into the fence, ending his chance for a win. The crew worked on the car under the lengthy red flag for clean up getting Dave back out before a tire rub, late in the race, ended the team’s night.
For Bush, the first half of the race was uneventful. Joe picked his way through traffic all the way to third. Joe narrowly escaped trouble when race leader, Tim DeVos, and the second place driver, Ross Meeuwsen, tangled down the back stretch. The accident handed the lead over to Bush with 26 laps remaining.
When the green came back out, Joe was gone and began to put distance between himself and second. As the laps began to wind down, it looked like smooth sailing, right up until the handling began to go away on the 101L. The closing laps saw Joe fade to a solid fourth place finish behind Alec Carl, Chris Anthony and Chris Koslek. Lauren Bush, Joe’s daughter, had a tremendous run starting deep in the field and racing all the way to fifth, pounding on her dad’s bumper for fourth as the checkers waived. The Super Lates are back in action this Saturday night also.
No one could slow down Terry Senneker Jr. in the Budweiser Outlaw Late Model 125 lap feature. Terry dismantled the field, even with a torn up race car after being involved in an early race incident. Senneker claimed $10,000 and another trophy for his dominating performance.
Photos by Randy Ellen Photography