Kyle Busch and Bubba Pollard dominated much of last year’s Money in the Bank 150 at Berlin Raceway, but when the checkered flag waved it was Michigan native Brian Campbell out-dueling two of the best in the business and ending the race $20,000 richer in front of the home crowd.
As Campbell prepared to defend his big victory Monday night, he joined Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring Monday morning just after arriving to the tricky 7/16-mile oval. One year later, his Money in the Bank 150 is still one of the most special wins of his career due to the support he had in the stands for the race.
“I had all my work friends up in the stands and had family there,” Campbell said. “To do it in the way that we did it, it was pretty special. I’d rather win leading all the laps, but to lead four, the last ones are just fine.”
Campbell says one of the draws to Berlin Raceway is how well Director of Operations Nick Rice and his crew take care of the track as a whole. He considers the track one of, if not the nicest short track racing facilities in the country, and it makes drivers from all over the country want to make the trip to Berlin and race.
“If you ever come to this place, you’d understand there’s not a lot of places that put on a show quite like Berlin,” Campbell stated. “How up-kept the place is for being so old, how they do things here, it’s not a surprise to me that they’re putting on two $40,000 shows for the year. It’s just what (Mike) Bursley and the people here at Berlin are doing. It’s a good thing.
“I used to say to my soon-to-be wife years ago that once you get out of Berlin, it starts to go downhill as far as race tracks around,” he added. “There’s a handful of race tracks around this country and you got the one up in Canada (Jukasa Motor Speedway) that resembles the upkeep here. There’s not a lot of places that do it like that, dirt to asphalt, dirt to asphalt, and keep it up. It’s just the way they do it here and they like it clean, they like it nice. That’s the ability to bring these marquee events.”
Campbell heads into tonight’s Money in the Bank 150 not having lost a CRA-sanctioned event at Berlin Raceway since the 2016 Battle at Berlin 251. Having watched his father Freddy Campbell race at the track, the younger Campbell says he learned the track by learning from his mistakes.
“I don’t know, it’s probably just growing up here,” he said. “Just spending how many laps here doing it wrong then finally figuring it all out and getting your car set up just how you want it. I want to say it’s probably that, just how many years I’ve done it wrong and now I try to do it a little bit better I guess.”
The stands at Berlin Raceway have been packed for the previous two editions of the Money in the Bank 150, and the same is expected for tonight. The town of Marne has seen some of the greatest drivers and series roll through the small town to put on great racing throughout the track’s nearly 70-year history. Campbell says the fan support the track receives from the Grand Rapids area as a whole makes Berlin a must-attend stock car facility.
“These fans here that come week in and week out are pretty intelligent, they know good racing when they see it,” he said. “They’re accustomed to the Bensons, Howes, Mike Eddy, they’re accustomed to ASA coming here for years and years. They’re accustomed to Supermodified racing and ARCA Racing, so they get to see a variety of racing year after year, so they are very intelligent and they know what’s good and what’s not. When a show like this comes and everybody comes to race it, that’s what they want to see.”
Campbell acknowledged this year’s Money in the Bank 150 will be a tougher race to win than last year’s edition, partly due to the success Rowdy Manufacturing cars have experienced so far this season. Boris Jurkovic has won both 75-lap specials at Berlin in a Rowdy car, while Super Late Model stars Donnie Wilson and Casey Roderick will also be behind the wheel of Rowdy cars Monday night.
With a stacked entry list that at last check featured the names of 30 Super Late Model racers, a win in the Money in the Bank will be hard-earned.
“Boris has been tough. He’s hooked up with the right people,” Campbell said. “Surprisingly, I never thought he was going to be that dominant here as of last year. But as I said, he got hooked up with the right people and he did good, and they have a bunch of cars like it going. So, this race is going to be quite a bit tougher than last year. Everybody last year got one crack at it and now they get to come back for a second time. Typically, you get people here two or three times and you get this place figured out.”
Campbell is confident in his attempt to win a second straight Money in the Bank 150. After winning it on a late-race pass in front of the home crowd one year ago, he said it was a feeling like no other.
“It’s home, so a win here is huge, and the fans are rooting you on against a lot of out of town guys,” he said. “You had your family and your sponsors, and you had the whole crowd behind you. It was more popular to win at home because you’ve got five thousand people cheering you on while doing it.”
Race fans unable to make it to Berlin Raceway Monday night will be able to watch the 3rd Annual Money in the Bank 150 live on Speed51.com. Live video tickets can be purchased now for just $19.99 by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com Stated Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com