Brian Campbell continued his dominance at Berlin Raceway (MI) on Saturday night. In yet another dominating performance, Campbell secured his third JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour victory of the season.
Campbell’s win was a meaningful triumph for the Wyoming, Michigan native. It was his eighth career All-Stars Tour win, putting himself in a tie with current NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Daniel Hemric for most all-time. Campbell, who won the first race in series history at Toledo Speedway in 2011, has made just 12 starts in the series’ eight-year history, which makes for an astounding 66%-win rate on the tour.
“I think we won the very first JEGS race seven years ago, but we don’t really race these much,” Campbell told Speed51.com. “This is the first year in a handful of years that we’ve raced more than one or two a year. It’s been fun to run the JEGS deal. It definitely feels good.”
The first quarter of the race could be described with one word: carnage. It started on the first lap as fast qualifier and new track record holder Johnny VanDoorn put his right-side tires off the racing surface on the back stretch and slid nose first into and over the tire barrier blocking the wall in turn three. He was able to walk away under his own power.
After another yellow on lap 2, the field managed to get a short run in until lap 17 when Garrett Schwartz got loose on the front stretch and slid into 2017 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour champion Jack Dossey III, who spun right into the path of Berlin Raceway regular Lauren Bush, who both then made heavy contact with the turn one wall. Both would be okay, but were done for the night.
After one more caution on lap 23, the remainder of the race was completed without incident. Campbell drove away from the field, winning the race by over eight seconds. It was his fourth straight win at Berlin in CRA-sanctioned competition.
“We were really wanting to race John (VanDoorn) and we figured we’d race Carson (Hocevar) for the win,” Campbell said. “It wasn’t to be. John went out early, so it really led for Carson. Then we kind of pulled away and he ended up losing second to Evan Shotko, which that kid is doing pretty good; a couple wins out here at Berlin. But really, it was just kinda mind the traffic and mind the race car and wait for the yellow flags, but they didn’t come. And we just checked out on the field.
“It always feels good to come back here, especially since we don’t race here all the time and a lot of these guys are, so we got to keep up on the race track and the way this thing changes all the time. It’s definitely good to get here on a Friday and test to make sure the car is sound and looking good, and it was right out of the trailer and qualifying.”
While Campbell drove away with the victory, the biggest battle on the track was for second between two 15-year-old kids that call the 7/16-mile oval home. Defending track champion Carson Hocevar and Berlin Raceway rookie Evan Shotko fought for the runner-up position for several laps, dodging lapped traffic in the process.
Ultimately, Shotko would wrestle away the runner-up spot from Hocevar and go on to finish second. Shotko, who had two feature wins to his credit in 2018 going into the race, showed the Berlin Raceway fans once again he was a force to be reckoned with.
“At the beginning, the car wasn’t as good as everybody,” Shotko said. “I kind of figured the car would come in at the end and we didn’t fall off as much as the other guys and kind of got lucky. It’s great to race against guys like these. It’s not many times you can finish that good, so I’m just happy to be here. Hopefully we can carry our momentum and hopefully win the next race here. Thanks to everybody and hope we can do it again.”
Hocevar would come home in third, followed by track regular Chris Koslek and Michael Clancy Jr.
The next stop for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour is at the Owosso Speedway on August 25. It will be the first race in the “Chase” for the championship.
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-Story by Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Unofficial Results
Berlin Raceway (MI) – August 11, 2018
1 47 Brian Campbell
2 22 Evan Shotko
3 14 Carson Hocevar
4 23K Chris Koslek
5 5 Michael Clancy Jr
6 37 Jordan Dahlke
7 67 Ben Welch
8 11 Anthony Danta
9 23 Mandy Chick
10 27 Ken Wobma
11 5H Tyler Hufford
12 66 Nate Walton
13 48 Seth Moody
14 29 Mason Keller
15 88 Trevor McCoy
16 53 Zachary Tinkle
17 10S Garrett Schwartz
18 20 Jack Dossey III
19 101 Lauren Bush
20 811 Thomas Hufferd
21 71 Johnny VanDoorn