Marne, Michigan — The Broaster Chicken ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Northern contingent only had a couple of days to regroup from their last event on June 13th before heading west to the historic 7/16s (0.437) mile semi-banked paved oval of Berlin Raceway, located west of Grand Rapids in Marne, Michigan on Tuesday, June 16th. The Battle at Berlin 51 Presented by Primera Plastics served as the precursor to the ARCA/CRA Super Series headlining event, the Battle at Berlin 251 Presented by Primera Plastics.
Prior to the Super Late Models taking to the track for 251 laps, the open-wheeled Modifieds waged war in the 51-lap main pitting the cars and stars of the ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Northern Division against a stout cast of Berlin regulars. When all was said and done, a familiar face emerged from his car victorious as Brian Nester made the trip north from Hamilton, Indiana worthwhile against a stellar 28-car field. The driver of the #11 Burkett-Nester Racecars / Extreme Blower Spreader machine grabbed the lead from Nick Clemens on lap 27 and would hold off a late charge from defending Battle at Berlin 51 race winner, Dan Loughan to take the trophy and $1,200 payday back to the Hoosier State.
“We had something to prove coming up here today especially against these weekly guys that run here. They are so strong, but we were real good today,” Smiled the 41-year-old veteran after scoring his 25th career ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour victory, which is tops all-time in series history. “We don’t come up north very much anymore, but when we do, we come prepared and this one is pretty special. To come up here and run against the stacked field that was here with the Top Speed regulars and the Berlin cars with the (Burkett-Nester Racecars) house car and win. This one definitely ranks right up there.” The ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Southern Division co-points leader added.
After Economy Auto Parts Fast Qualifier, 16-year-old Ben Welch, a regular in the tracks weekly Model Coverall Modified division drew the maximum of a 12 for an inversion redraw, it would be Nick Clemens, who came into the weekend second in the ICAR North points standings and veteran Nyle Weiler bringing the stout 28-car field to Chief Starter, Weo Schweyer’s green flag. Clemens edged out Weiler heading into the first corner to take the early lead as the exceptional field blended with Berlin regulars, ICAR North competitors and even a few ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Southern Division invaders sorted themselves out around the fast 7/16s (0.437) mile semi-banked paved oval.
Nester, who qualified third quick and drew an eight in the redraw, was steadily working his way towards the front and by lap 20 would glue himself to Clemens’ back bumper. As the halfway signal was given, Nester began his charge and would clear Clemens on lap 27. Soon Loughan would also get passed Clemens and set his sights on Nester in a big to repeat as Battle at Berlin 51 winner. However, Nester had built up a comfortable advantage on Loughan and the rest of the field and had built up enough real estate between himself and the pack to stay out in front and bring home the win.
Loughan finished second in his #72 Beacon Sales & Service ride as the 63-year-old veteran driver from Charlotte, Michigan has scored two of his three career ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour wins at Berlin and was looking for win #3 on the night. The only Berlin track regular who would finish in the top 10 was Ben Kleis in his #6 Crown Motors entry. The Hamilton, Michigan driver, scored a career high third place finish as the 27-year-old was making his eighth career ICAR start with five of those appearances coming at Berlin.
Weiler, who started second, continued his impressive streak of top six finishes in ICAR North competition and scored a fourth place showing in his #27 Engine Machine Service open-wheeled machine. The Vermontville, Michigan driver, despite missing one event, is solidly sixth in the season long points chase. 17-year-old Tristan Van Wieringen completed the top five in his #81 DuroByte Incorporated ride. The Amherstburg, Ontario teenager’s second straight top five finish has put him solidly in fourth in the ICAR North points standings while keeping up with the top point runners in the chase for the 2015 ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Northern Division Championship.
Clemens would hang on for a solid sixth place finish to keep him second in the championship title chase while current overall and rookie of the year points leader, Jason Parish finished seventh after starting 17th and earned his fourth straight M.P.H. Promotions Rookie of the Race award. Another Rookie, Mike Occhipinti finished a season high eighth. Current ICAR South rookie of the year points leader, Trei Deubel made another North start count with a ninth place effort as Greg Fullarton completed the top 10. Rookie Donny Matteson Jr., earned the Allstar Performance Hard-Charger award with his 23rd to 12th place run while Bobby Heyink picked up the Genuine Broaster Chicken Hard Luck award.
Earlier in the day in Economy Auto Parts Qualifying, Welch out-timed a close 28-car field for his first career ICAR Fast Qualifier award with a 17.276 which measures out to 91.271mph. The ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Track Record was a 17.046 set by Billy Szotko back on July 18th, 2014. In lieu of a Last Chance Race, ICAR and Berlin Officials mutually agreed to start all 28 cars as the original starting field was to be 24.
The final race of the pivotal three races in eight days stretch for the Broaster Chicken ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Northern division will see the teams make the cross state trek to Auto City Speedway, located north of Flint in Clio, Michigan serves as hosts of the Genuine Broaster Chicken 50 Presented by Broaster Sales & Service on Saturday, June 20th. This event marks the second of three appearances for ICAR North at the tricky 0.393 mile semi-banked paved oval. The entry form is due at the ICAR Home Offices by Wednesday, June 17th.
The next pair of events for the Broaster Chicken ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Southern Division will be on back to back nights starting on Friday, June 26th with the running of the Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness 50 Presented by Lakeshore Utility Trailer. The famed 1/2 (0.500) mile high-banked paved oval of Toledo Speedway in Toledo, Ohio serves as hosts. The next night will be at another historic 1/2 mile, this time the legendary Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Indiana hosts the Run for the B.B. Gun 50 Presented by Broaster Sales & Service on Saturday, June 27th. In both races, the ICAR Modifieds will be on hand in support of the King of the Wing Sprint Car Series who will highlight both nights.
Entry Forms for all upcoming races throughout the month of June: Auto City-June 20th, Toledo-June 26th and Winchester-June 27th are all available. For more information about the 2015 racing season within both divisions of the Broaster Chicken ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour, please go to the series website located at: www.topspeedmods.com You can also follow along on the Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/TopSpeedModifieds and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ICARModifieds Finally for more information about Auto City Speedway, the host track for the fifth race of the 2015 racing season for the ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Northern Division, go to: www.autocityspeedway.com
-ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com