Berlin Raceway is well underway with its 60th season of operation, hosting local division racing every Saturday night. West Michigan race fans have been thrilled with this year's excitement on the track and enjoyed a family friendly environment and entertainment as good as you will see anywhere in the country. Area fans and drivers alike may not realize though, the magnitude of the event that's about to take place.
The biggest one day race in the tracks storied 60 year history, on Tuesday night June 15. NASCAR Champions Kyle Busch and Bill Elliott quickly recognized its prestige, taking part in the festivities scheduled for the mid-week second annual event. The CRA Super Series will sanction a non-points race for its competitors, gathering attention from drivers all over the United States . Thirty eight drivers have registered to date, making it the tracks largest field of template-bodied cars this decade and arguably the biggest pool of talent in CRA history.
Creating a twist to the race night is the addition of the Modified class, which will compete for 50-laps at the mid-race break of the CRA feature. Richard Petty Motorsports Valvoline driver AJ Allmendinger has entered the event, to help raise money for the Helen DeVos Childrens Hospital Foundation. Berlin officials anticipate over 30 cars for the race which will pay $3,000-to-win and $200-to-start, as well as a chance to race door to door with a NASCAR star that pilots the famous #43 on Sunday.
"We couldn't be much more excited for this race to get here," said Michael Blackmer, owner of Berlin Raceway. "As much as the race keeps growing and growing every day, and all the drivers and area businesses support is really making this neat."
In 2009, Kyle Busch came to the Marne, Michigan racetrack for the first time in his own template late model. After chasing the setup for much of the race, Kyle managed a respectable fourth place finish at one of the nation's toughest tracks. With Kyle's drive to conquer every track he visits, he will return for revenge on the .438 mile speedway in his #51 NOS Energy Toyota.
ASA Late Model Challenge Series Champion Brian Campbell is the defending race champion, and won this spring on May 8 in the CRA 125-lap race. Busch often refers to Campbell as 'the owner' of Berlin , speaking to the strength that both he and legend Fred Campbell have at the track.
Other up and coming stars Chase Elliott and Ross Kenseth are both entered for the race, as well as Ryan Blaney. These youngsters have the guiding light of fathers with years of experience at racings top level of NASCAR and are expected to be at the track to coach their sons. David Stremme has also placed his entry for the big event, hoping to put his family owned #35 into victory lane come the finish, and Rich Bickle as well.
"We are really looking forward to the Rowdy's Revenge 251 at Berlin . This will be one of the biggest late model events in the country this season, with one of the most talented field of drivers CRA has ever had in an event," said Glenn Luckett, Series Director for the Champion Racing Association. "We greatly appreciate Mike Blackmer for putting on this event, there are very few times an asphalt late model driver gets to compete for $25,000 to win!"
Kyle Busch, AJ Allmendinger, and Bill Elliott will all be on the concourse to meet and greet fans who seek autographs prior to the nights racing. Tickets for the special event are $20.00 for adults, seniors 60+ $18.00 and kids 6-12 only $5.00. Kids 5-under are always free.
The Berlin Raceway hosts short-track racing every Saturday night, and is located just 10-minutes north of Grand Rapids , off I-96 in Marne . Information can be found at www.berlinraceway.com or by calling 616-662-2051.