Marne, Michigan – The ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS teams made their first trip north of the 2014 racing season. The famed 7/16s (0.437) mile semi-banked paved fairgrounds oval of Berlin Raceway, located west of Grand Rapids in Marne, Michigan on Saturday, May 31st served as hosts for the running of the Berlin 125 Presented by AutoWorldFinancial.com. The 18th all-time appearance at the tricky speed plant would show once again that the home track drivers would have the advantage on the tricky 7/16s (0.437) mile semi-banked paved oval.
The 125-lap affair not only served as the first round of the brand new $10,000 Boyne Machine Company Michigan Challenge Series, but also the lone tune-up for the second $100,000 JEGS Triple Crown Series race in West Michigan on Friday-Saturday, July 18-19th. When the checkered flag fell it was Brian Campbell returning to a familiar place; victory lane at his home track. The Wyoming, Michigan veteran took the lead on lap 61 and withstood a late race charge from Outlaw Super Late Models standout, Terry Senneker Jr., to pick up his second victory of the 2014 racing season.
“That was pretty neat to see Campbell and Senneker running one-two here. How long has it been since that’s happened here?” Asked the happy winner of his #47 Boyne Machine Company / Port City Racecars / Ford in victory lane. “We had a plan coming into this race; Wait until about halfway and then try to head to the front. We dropped back a little, but they all kept coming back to us. Everyone’s car started falling off quicker than normal with the first 87 laps running green. We were able to take the lead and hang on.” He added. With the win, Campbell moves into a tie for fifth all-time in career ARCA/CRA Super Series triumphs as he shares the fifth spot with 2005 series champion, Jeff Lane.
After Senneker Performance Rookie of the Year title contender, Wes Griffith Jr., won his first career EDCO Welding Fast Qualifier Award, he then drew the minimum of a five for an inversion. This placed six-time and 2013 Template Super Late Model Track Champion, Ross Meeuwsen on the pole along-side current ARCA/CRA Super Series Points Leader, Brian Campbell. The two Berlin favorites led the first to Chief Starter, Brian Duncan’s green flag and after a couple of laps of side by side racing Meeuwsen would take the lead for himself while Campbell and the rest of the field scrambled for position behind him.
As Meeuwsen led the way, Ross Kenseth, who started fourth after timing in second quick, had worked his way into second spot and stalked Meeuwsen for a period of time before beginning his charge at the leader. He brought defending ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion, Travis Braden with him and on lap 20, Kenseth would overpower Meeuwsen to take over the lead on lap 20. That lasted for just two laps as Braden made his move on Kenseth to claim the top spot and would set a torrid pace once he got the lead. Campbell, who had drifted back to fourth, began charging back towards the top spot and on lap 61 made what would be the winning pass for the lead.
Terry Senneker Jr., one of the most accomplished Outlaw Super Late Model drivers in the country, was making a rare template Super Late Model appearance in the first complete Senneker Performance template machine. He started 10th and methodically worked his way up to the second spot, passing Braden with 18 laps to go. He tried in vain to reel in Campbell who would keep a safe piece of real estate between himself and Senneker Jr. In the end, it would be Campbell crossing the stripe first to score his second ARCA/CRA Super Series win of 2014. This was his sixth career ARCA/CRA win at his home track out of his 14 overall trips to victory lane in ARCA/CRA competition.
“This was a really good deal for this team, especially after the last race at Illiana. We’re going after the 2014 ARCA/CRA Super Series Championship. That’s our number one goal and this is another step in that direction.” The Wyoming, Michigan driver continued. “I’m so happy that the family, my friends, everyone was here too. Man this is great.” The 35-year-old ended. In addition to the paycheck and trophies, Campbell also took home the VDL Fuel Systems Hot Lap of the Race Award as well as the VanDoorn Racing Development Lap Leader Award. Finally, with Campbell leading the last 65 laps of the race, he moved into 10th place all-time in career lap led with an even 900 circuits in front of the field.
Making a late charge at Campbell late in the race, but just coming up short in finishing second was Terry Senneker Jr., who was making only his third ever start in the ARCA/CRA Super Series. The Wayland, Michigan veteran in his #36 Senneker Performance / Chevrolet started 10th and made a late charge up to the second spot and tried to reel in Campbell, but ran out of time. He did earn a slew of awards for his efforts including the FLUIDYNE Cool Under Pressure Award as well as the first Hoosier Racing Tire Performance Award. His pass for second on Braden with 18 laps to go also earned the 34-year-old the AR Bodies Cool Move of the Race Award.
Defending ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion, Travis Braden put an end to his horrific start toward the defense of his title with a season high third place finish aboard his #01 West Virginia University / Chevrolet. The Wheeling, West Virginia driver, who was also the 2012 Rookie of the Year, took the lead from Kenseth on lap 22 and led for 39 laps before Campbell passed the 20-year-old for the lead on lap 61. With his first podium finish of the season, Braden vaulted up the points standings as he goes from seventh to third in the season long points chase.
Making his first start of the year not only with the ARCA/CRA Super Series, but also overall in 2014, Terry VanHaitsma, a former winner in the series at his home track, finished fourth in his #21 Auto Body Xperts Carstar / Chevrolet. The Hudsonville, Michigan driver, another former track champion at the tricky oval, started seventh and fell back to as far as 13th before the 34-year-old charged back into the top five. Nick Gullatta completed the top five as the 44-year-old veteran pilot of the #131 R&D Racing / Chevrolet started 12th and the North Canton, Ohio driver picked up the Hedman Hedders Husler Award for his efforts.
Barry Hartwell, a weekly competitor in both the tracks weekly Outlaw and Template Super Late Models divisions, made the most of his ARCA/CRA Super Series debut by finishing sixth. He earned the C.V. Products Hard-Charger Award as well as the second Hoosier Racing Tire Performance Award after starting 19th. Three-time track champion, Joe Bush finished an ARCA/CRA career high seventh while Meeuwsen hung on to finish in eighth. Kenseth took home a ninth place showing as Griffith Jr., completed the top 10 and earned the Senneker Performance Rookie of the Race Award also.
Earlier in the day in EDCO Welding Qualifying, Rookie title contender, Wes Griffith Jr., won his first career Fast Qualifier Award with a lap measured at a 16.316 which equals out to 96.641mph. The ARCA/CRA Super Series Track Record was set back on October 10th, 2009 when three-time series champion, Scott Hantz turned in a 15.829.
The next event on the 2014 schedule is also the first race of the prestigious $100,000 JEGS Triple Crown Series. The 39th Running of the Stoops Freightliner Redbud 300 is set for Friday-Saturday, June 13-14th at the fast 1/4 (0.250) mile high-banked paved oval of Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Indiana. Held in various forms and under different sanctioning bodies since 1973, this race is one of the most coveted to win in all of North America. Johnny VanDoorn is the defending race winner of the event and will make his first start of the 2014 racing season in the race.
Mark Martin is the all-time wins leader in this race, under a different format, as the Batesville, Arkansas legend has four career triumphs. Mark Martin and Bob Senneker are both tied with three victories apiece while the late Dick Trickle has two trips to victory lane. The race has been a Champion Racing Association (CRA) Powered by JEGS sanctioned event since the 2000 season and amazingly there has not been a repeat winner dating back to the 1998 season when it was an American Speed Association (ASA) AC-Delco Challenge Series race and was 400 laps in length.
As for the $100,000 JEGS Triple Crown Series, any driver who can win all three Triple Crown events will receive a $100,000 bonus. Any driver who wins two races will receive a $10,000 bonus. If no driver wins two of the events, the driver who accumulates the most points during the three races will receive a $5,000 bonus and the title of 2014 JEGS Triple Super Late Model Triple Crown Series Champion. A driver must be present and attempt to make the field in all three of the Triple Crown events to be eligible for any of the bonuses. The second Triple Crown race is on July 18-19th back at Berlin Raceway (MI) for the 2nd Annual Battle at Berlin 251 while the third and final jewel in the series will be the 43rd running of the Winchester 400 on October 10-12th at Winchester Speedway (IN).
As for ARCA/CRA Super Series history at Anderson Speedway, this race will be the 56th all-time appearance at the track. Two-time series champion, Brian Ross leads the way with nine career triumphs at the fast 1/4 mile while 1997 series champion, Kenny Tweedy, Canadian legend, Junior Hanley and three-time series champion, Johnny VanDoorn all have four victories each. Another three-time series champion, Scott Hantz has three wins at Anderson and is tied with 2003 series champion, Bobby Parsley, 2005 series champion, Jeff Lane and the most recent winner on April 26th, T.J. Reaid who also have three. Jim Cooper is next with two wins as 20 other drivers have one career CRA win in Central Indiana.
For more information about all four touring series’ within Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS, please go to the series website at: www.cra-racing.com You can also follow along with all of CRA’s touring series’ all season long on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ChampionRacingAssociation and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CRAracing Finally for more information about Anderson Speedway, the host facility for the fifth points race within the 18th season of ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS racing and the first race of the 2014 $100,000 JEGS Triple Crown Series, go to the track website at: www.andersonspeedway.com
Founded by John and Mildred Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in four professional touring series and local weekly events including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards as well as the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS, the ARCA Midwest Tour and the ARCA Trucks Series. In addition, weekly racing is held at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.
CRA Super Series PR