Ohio State Beats Michigan Again - This Time in ASA at Berlin Raceway by Bob Dillner
Robbie Pyle Nips One Campbell While the Other Campbell Taken Out by Fellow Michiganite
Rivalries are also old as sports itself. And each sector of the sports world is filled with rivalries, some bigger than others. Football has the Packers and Bears, Hockey – the Rangers and Islanders, and baseball’s most heated contest is, of course, every time the Red Sox and Yankees do battle.
In the collegiate realm, no rivalry is as heated or historical than that of Michigan vs. Ohio State. For more than 100-years, those two teams have faced off every November in a football game laced with hatred. Each team wants not just to win, but beat its arch-enemy into submission.
Michigan boys, like the Campbells, are pretty tough. (51)
That same atmosphere is apparent every time Michiganites and Ohioans go door-to-door at Berlin Raceway in Michigan. For years the hometown boys, Bob Senneker, Butch Miller and Mike Eddy refused to let a Buckeye pull into victory lane during ASA’s stops at the Berlin oval. And when, on occasion, they did take the checkers on enemy turf, they were met with a chorus of boos coming from the grandstands.
Times have changed; the old ASA National Tour is gone and the new ASA Late Model Challenge Series is in its place. But the tradition is still the same, meaning Berlin Raceway fans still don’t like to see a Buckeye win at their track.
“This is a tough place to come into and win if you are an outsider, whether you are from Ohio or not” said Brian Campbell, the two-time defending ASA winner at Berlin entering the event. “There is still that rivalry; I don’t think that will ever go away. We just don’t want anyone to come in and beat us on our turf.”
During the new ASA’s stop at the track on Saturday, the Michigan boys did get beat on their own turf. The “Buckeye Bullet,” Robbie Pyle scored the win in Tradition 200 after fending off the challenges of the Campbell’s, 10-time Super Late Model track champ Fred, and his son, Brian.
“Years ago this was a tough place to come and run if you weren’t from Michigan and it still is because the hometown guys are so good,” said Pyle in victory lane. “There’s always been a little fight between the Michigan guys and the Ohio guys at Berlin.”
And it’s nothing personal.
“He’s a Buckeye and I’m a Wolverine and you know how that goes,” said Freddie Campbell.
With another restart to come, everyone thought Campbell had one more shot, but Pyle worked the low-groove to his advantage.
“He slipped up the racetrack that one time and then the caution came out and I thought we were in trouble,” Pyle told us. “I wanted him to get on the outside of me because I was loose. If he would have gotten on the bottom it would have been all over (for me). I knew with him on the outside I could keep him out there and watch what he was doing. I’ve always run real well here or wrecked terrible so it’s good to finally get a win here.”
Robbie Pyle dives under Fred Campbell during the spirited battle between the Buckeye and the Wolverine. (51)
Pyle, who won the ARP Bodies Fast Qualifier Award, took the lead from Keeton Hanks on lap 82, but it wasn’t until the second half of the 200-lap race that the Ohio-Michigan game got interesting. The older Campbell and Pyle put on a classic show around the tricky track. In fact, the father-son Michigan combination both put the heat Pyle before Brian crashed out late in the race (more on that later). In fact, both took turns at knocking Pyle out of the top-spot, only to have the Buckeye battle back to the lead with a smooth resolve.
In fact, with five to go, Freddie Campbell had the bite on the outside coming off turn-four and had the Berlin fans on their feet.
“I had one run there going there and I got in the marbles,” explained Campbell. “I screwed up! And that was my one shot right there. I think I could’ve gotten it done there, but shoulda, woulda, coulda.
Pyle celebrates in second victory in the last month. He also won a CRA SS race at Columbus. (51 Photos)
Pyle’s best previous finish at Berlin was a second, ironically, to Michigan ASA Kingpin Mike Eddy. And while winning at the historic track meant a lot to Pyle, beating Freddie Campbell, and on his own turf to boot, made it that much more special to him.
“Beating Freddie means more to me than anything else,” said Pyle. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s the master here. I watched him a lot earlier in the race and I knew that he would set the pace we would need to run at the end of the race. I learned a bunch from riding behind him.
“That was fun,” said Freddie after finishing second to Pyle. “He was more than fair with me. When I got in front, he got behind me and he stuck his nose in there and I reciprocated because that’s what you are supposed to do in racing.
“There’s still that rivalry,” continued the older Campbell. “In the old days, a lot of guys (from out of town) hadn’t raced here yet and Mike Eddy and Bob Senneker, it was hard to beat those guys. Now everyone has raced here a lot and it’s just another racetrack to them.
“They all talk like he’s (Pyle) an outsider, which he is, but he’s raced here a lot. And he’s an awful good racer. He’s raced all over the country. There’s no shame in losing to Robbie.”
“There’s not a better person than Robbie Pyle,” added Brian Campbell. “We had a heckuva race at Columbus a couple weeks ago and we came up on the short end of that stick too (Pyle won the CRA SS race there). Racing with Robbie is like racing with anybody I’ve ever grown up with. He’s clean; he’ll give you the outside or give you the inside. He’ll never bump ya, never rub ya. It’s ok that he won this.”
Especially since Robbie himself has an appreciation for the past.
“Watching Senneker and Mike Eddy and all the Michigan guys here I got to learn a lot from them,” Pyle said. “I used to make a lot of mistakes around those veteran guys, but being around the Michigan guys have helped me get better here and now I feel like I’m almost worthy of being one of them.”
MICHIGAN MEN TAKE EACH OTHER OUT OF CONTENTION
While the Ohio-Michigan rivalry took center stage, an in-state rivalry was certainly in the spotlight late in the race. Brian Campbell led a portion of the event just past halfway, but began to fade later in the race. When he did, it allowed track-regular Chris Anthony to apply the pressure. That pressure turned into a little controversy when the two got together in turn three. The end result was Campbell’s car up against the wall and ASA officials penalizing Anthony by putting him to the rear of the field.
“I was on the outside of a lapped car and that lapped car was doing exactly what he needed to do. Then our hometown boy, man, he decided to stick it three-wide and that’s just not a place to stick it three-wide. He put my left-rear up in to the fence; just not a good deal,” said Campbell.
Campbell had swept last year’s ASA races at his home-track and he showed his displeasure to Anthony by pointing a finger at the 155 when he passed by his wrecked racecar.
“If I would have had my helmet I probably would have thrown that at him, but that wouldn’t have been right,” added Campbell with a laugh. “I’m going to go in the trailer here and calm down so I don’t have to go beat on him… cause that’s what I want to do right now.
Chris Anthony, in his first ASA start, was one of those Michigan guys that was really fast at his hometrack. (51)
“I’ve run with him for years; his dad had paid me to come help him set up his car. It’s tough, just tough. He better not come see me tonight, tomorrow maybe, but not tonight.”
Anthony said he had no plans to speak to Campbell Saturday night, but knew the blame was solely on him.
“Just got into that lapped traffic there going for third and I kept driving inside, but the last time I just drove up into him. It was totally my fault; it was racing,” said Anthony, who finished tenth. “We’re good friends and I know him from way back. I’m sure he’ll get over it, but I’m sure he’s mad at me.”
(EDITOR'S NOTE: ASA LEFTOVERS FROM BERLIN COMING LATER IN THE WEEK)