It's official. Brian Campbell is good.
The Wyoming, Michigan driver made his moves early and often and pulled off a breath-taking pass of Chris Eggleston for the lead late in the race to secure the win in the 'Tradition 100' for the ASA Late Model Series North Division Saturday night at Berlin Speedway.
Campbell would start the race from the sixth spot, and by lap 20 had already put himself in third. In front of him, pole sitter Eddie Hoffman and fourth place starter Chris Eggleston had pounced into the top two spots and were checking out from the rest of the pack in the early stages.
Hoffman would begin to wash high near lap 25, and that's when Eggleston would get serious in battling for the lead. The 'Colorado Kid' would work under the defending ASALMS North champion and take the lead on lap 29. Eggleston would then begin to sail away from Hoffman and the rest of the field.
By lap 37, Campbell had caught Hoffman and began to wrestle with the Illinois driver for the second spot. As the race closed in on halfway, Campbell closed on Hoffman and promptly went underneath him for the number two spot.
Campbell could not make ground on Eggleston until the second yellow of the race flew on lap 69. On the restart, Campbell would put his years of experience at Berlin to the test, along with taking advantage of an Eggleston slip in putting his red and white #20 car into the top spot.
"Chris slipped up in four and got a little sideways, and I had full traction and motorered around him,' said Campbell.' I know that with restarts here, you can only really make it stick for two laps so I knew (the car) would stick, I just didn't think it would be THAT good outside. If it wouldn't of been for him slipping up a little bit there...I don't know. I don't think I could of ever got him out in the open.'
The move was déjà vu for Eggleston, who saw literally the same maneuver employed on him late in an open late model show at Berlin earlier in the season.
'Man two weeks ago he did the same thing...I mean you think you'd learn from this?' Eggleston stated. 'But I think I coulda held him off otherwise. One of the problems was getting a good restart and I hit a little gravel getting low in Turn 4 and I honestly didn't know it was there and the car slid out from under me and that's when he drove around me on the outside.'
After that restart and after a very clean early portion of the race, the event was slowed by four yellows over the final 30 laps. The slow-down in tempo was good for one driver, and bad for the other.
Campbell: "At first I was nervous about them, but the more the yellows started to come, the better I felt because...the car was getting ugly. The yellows helped us today. Usually they hurt us, but not today."
Eggleston: "The short runs weren't working good for me."
Campbell would fend off all challenges from Eggleston to take the win, his 4th in ASALMS competition at Berlin. Eggleston would take second place in the event and close the gap in the point standings between he and Hoffman.
Local favorites Chris Koslek and Alec Carll put on an outstanding late-race show as the two toiled for the third spot. Koslek and Carll would dance side-by-side over the final 10 laps, with Koslek nipping Carll for third by half a car length at the line. The third place run was Koslek's best career run with the ASALMS.
Carll settled for fourth ahead of Rookie of the Year candidate Ross Kenseth, who out-dueled Grand Rapids driver Chris Anthony for fifth place.
22 cars from five states and Canada made the trek to the historic 7/16 mile oval. 21 would start the feature though, as Iowa's Landon Cassill would suffer engine troubles in practice, and be forced to scratch.
Position Number Driver Laps Completed
1. #20 Brian Campbell (100)
2. #22 Chris Eggleston (100)
3. #23 Chris Koslek (100)
4. #51 Alec Carll (100)
5. #25 Ross Kenseth (100)
6. #155 Chris Anthony (100)
7. #18 Keith Herp (100)
8. #8 Eddie Hoffman (100)
9. #37 Jordan Dahlke (100)
10. #90 Becca Kasten (100)
11. #61 Bob Varney (100)
12. #0 Josh Nelms (100)
13. #29 Joey King (100)
14. #64 Griffin McGrath (100)
15. #99 Jordan Sims (100)
16. #48 Seth Moody (100)
17. #31 Brent Brevak (100)
18. #63 Brad Plunkett (100)
19. #21 Terry VanHaitsma (84)
20. #72 Tom Woodin (65)
21. #58 Matt Minnifield (12)
Leaders: Hoffman (pole-28), Eggleston (29-69), Campbell (70-100)
Fast Qualifier: Terry VanHaitsma (16.486)