Auto Show Big Hit Again

Auto Show Big Hit Again

The 2016 West Michigan International Auto Show lived up to the hype again this year with record breaking crowds and a peek at what’s new in the automobile industry. For the seventh year in a row,, was an invited guest, given the opportunity to raise funds for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and debut the RA race cars.

Thank you to all that stopped for a visit, drive the racing simulator, sign the hood, purchase the latest in RA apparel or watch the cars come to life.

Special thanks to:
The RA volunteers
Horvath Design – detailing the cars
Berlin Raceway – racing simulator
The Screen Print Dept – 2016 RA apparel

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Racing Awareness’ Ben Welch Racing Super Lates in 2016

Grand Rapids, MI (October 20, 2015) – announced today that its 17 year old driver, Ben Welch, would drive one the team’s two Super Lates in 2016. Welch, a senior at Coopersville High School, will run the full super late schedule at the Berlin Raceway contending for Rookie of the Year honors in the upcoming season. Welch has driven the past two years for RA in the team’s 97L Modified, where he captured four feature wins and the 2015 Track Championship.

Ben has been on the fast track since age 7 when he first jumped in the seat of a go-kart and has been racing ever since. Following success at a young age, turning right and left on area kart tracks, in 2010, Mike Welch, Ben’s dad, decided to try Ben at Winston Speedway on the dirt oval. The experiment proved successful, as he claimed his first ever feature win in a full-body stock car!

Ben first caught the eye of Racing Awareness co-owner Jeff Striegle in 2012, when Ben, then age 14, moved to Berlin and was driving a modified for a different team. “Ben started alongside our car on the restart. I thought we would just run away from him, but that kid hung with us for several laps and raced us very clean. I knew who he was before that but wanted to know more about him after that”. Two years later Ben was driving for; winning a feature in his very first start.

In 2016, Ben will begin a new chapter in his racing career by competing full time in the highly competitive super late model series at Berlin. Ben ran four times in the JEGS / CRA All-Star Tour in 2015 (a traveling crate motor super late series) and in addition to his commitment to Berlin, plans to do a limited schedule with the family owned car again in 2016. “We are going to try and race as much as we can”. Welch said about his upcoming plans “I want as much seat time as I can get. I enjoy the JEGS Series a lot but my focus will be on Berlin and trying to improve each week”.

Striegle thinks Ben’s weekly progression should be rapid and noticeable. “This is a young man with a lot of natural talent. He’s great athlete, and has all the characteristics necessary to be a great race car driver”. In addition to auto racing, during his high school career, Ben competed with the basketball team and most recently on the Coopersville Men’s tennis team in the #1 Doubles. Welch and partner Caleb Wiegerink, closed out their high school tennis careers by finishing 3rd in their conference. Both Welch and Wiegerink were voted to the OK Blue All Conference team by the conference coaches in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Ben, while attending school, is also employed at Van Doorn Racing Development. “We are proud to be partnered with VRD and having Ben there is added bonus. The unique thing for him is he is learning both on and off the track, something that will be key to his growth and on track success”, stated Racing Awareness co-owner, Norm Jelsma.

Look for Ben Welch in the RA 67L super late when the season opens at the Berlin Raceway in April of 2016. will campaign three cars in 2016, including Ben and Dave Lake who will be driving the 97L Modified. RA will make its third and final driver announcement regarding the team’s second super late by the end of October.

Look for the entire RA team of drivers and volunteers at the Michigan International Auto Show, January 28 – 31, 2016, at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.To be a part of, supporting Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital as a volunteer or team partner/sponsor, contact us via email at

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