1st Annual Battle at Berlin 251 born for long term tradition
-Former Rowdy 251 takes on new name and event facelift-
Marne, Michigan (Friday, May 17, 2013): Since it’s inception in 2009 under leadership of former Berlin Raceway promotor Mike Blackmer, The Rowdy 251 formerly featuring NASCAR star Kyle Busch has been the largest short track race in the State of Michigan. That is until the term “shelf life” appears.
An event named after and built around one driver’s namesake has its obstacles and battles. Scheduling, licensing, budgeting and many other variables come into play when featuring a big time NASCAR star and the dreaded fact of that driver not competing in the event, the shelf life of one person comes into play.
“There is no doubt having a driver the caliber of Kyle Busch compete in one of your major events of the season is a great thing, but there is a shelf life,” stated Mike Bursley, GM of Berlin Raceway. “What happens when that driver decides he doesn’t want to compete anymore, isn’t able to, or in the case this year we changed the date to the weekend to help build the event long term and make it more of a full weekend all star event much like The Winchester 400 or the Snowball Derby?”
Bursley hopes to make this event appeal to all racers, NASCAR stars, short track racing stars, local stars, any and all. “Instead of having an event built around one driver, our thought was to have an event that attracts the best short track racers in the world,” continued Bursley. “From time to time NASCAR stars compete in the Snowball Derby and Winchester 400. It is MIS weekend and the stars are only a couple of hours away, many of them have template super late model teams, you just never know who may come and race, we are building this race to be one of the most prestigious events in short track auto racing and we believe it can be done.”
Rich in history, Berlin Raceway has always been a breeding ground for up and coming super stars in auto racing. Stars such as Johnny Benson Jr, Jack Sprague, Tim Steele have all gone on to become champions in the higher ranks of NASCAR, after launching their careers on the tricky Marne, MI oval. Not to mention the countless others such as Butch Miller, Bob Senneker, Brian Campbell and Johnny VanDoorn, who have all gone on to compete with the biggest and the best in the nation of short track auto racing.
“We are looking at a throwback of sorts,” reminisced Bursley while thinking back to the ASA National Tour events of the 80’s and 90’s. “Think old school ASA racing at Berlin. Great fields of cars, the best short track racers in the world, live pit stops, non-stop action... we had it all. It was also a great time for the local driver, a Fred Campbell or Bruce VanderLaan, to jump in and race with those guys, have pit stops and go for the big money. More times than not those local drivers would be a serious contender,” he continued.
Not only is the Battle at Berlin going to feature the biggest stars in short track auto racing but it is also going to feature a $100,000 total purse, one of the largest in pavement super late model racing. The winners share is $15,000 and it pays $1,500 to start the 251 lap main event.
There is also a possible bonus attached to it being the first race of the $100,000 ARCA / CRA Super Series Triple Crown that also features the Redbud 300 and the Winchester 400 both later in the year. Any driver to win all three events will collect a cool $100,000 bonus virtually un-heard of in short track auto racing. On top of that, race officials are offering a $5,000 bonus to any driver that can win the 100 lap JEGS All Stars Tour race, on Friday June 14 and the Battle at Berlin 251, on Saturday June 15 together.
The Battle at Berlin this season from a fans perspective will be a very exciting event. Not only will fans be able to catch the action on the Saturday, June 15 headline event but Friday June 14 will feature the CRA JEGS All Stars Tour cars as they compete in a 100 lap feature as well as the Port City Racecars Outlaw Late Models and Engine Pro Super Stocks. The Enterprise Iron & Metal Sportsman division will join the ARCA / CRA Super Series on Saturday night as well.
“The key here is to make this an enjoyable weekend event for competitors and fans alike,” stated Bursley. “Action packed racing, camping, entertainment... the total package. This is what you find at a typical prestigious short track racing event all over the U.S., this is what short track racing fans live for. Some of those events have sort of dwindled and we are trying to re-kindle and bring this great racing back to the limelight.”
Pre-race preparations for the 1st annual Battle at Berlin will actually begin on Saturday, June 1. The Prelude to the Battle at Berlin will feature many out of town drivers coming in to log laps before the big show. Drivers such as Zach Hausler and Austin Theriault, both development drivers for 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and Michigan native Brad Keselowski’s short track racing operation as well as many others have expressed interest in coming to compete in the Prelude and try to get an upper hand and learn the fast way around the tricky Berlin oval.
Many other top super late model drivers in the nation such as Chase Elliott, Ross Kenseth, Johnny VanDoorn and Bubba Pollard are also scheduled to compete in the Battle at Berlin 251.
“Between the money on the line and the amount of talent expected to compete I feel like this is the beginning of a great tradition,” remarked Bursley. “This is our Snowball Derby or our Winchester 400 this is our anchor event of the summer and we expect it to be electrifying all the way from the start of open practice, on Thursday June 13 until the end of the 1st Annual Battle at Berlin. This will be a can’t miss short track race.”
The Battle at Berlin 251 race weekend is June 13 - 15. Past winners of the event, formerly named The Rowdy 251 include Kyle Busch, who is a three-time winner and Brian Campbell. Other NASCAR stars who have competed in this event include Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Travis Pastrana, Ben Kennedy and Ryan Blaney.
Pre-sale general admission tickets for the 1st annual Battle at Berlin are now on sale online at www.berlinraceway.com or by calling the Berlin Raceway ticket office at 616-677-5000.
Camping is available on site all season long as well as the Battle at Berlin race weekend. There are limited spaces for electrical and water so act fast as camping spots are first come, first served.
More information on Berlin Raceway’s 63rd season can be found at www.berlinraceway.com
Become a fan of Berlin Raceway on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/wherespeedbelongs
Follow Berlin Raceway on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/BerlinRaceway
|>> 5/18/2013 - Mike Ling wins Auto Value Super Sprints feature, Don Deyman, Randy Veldman and Adam Chase also take checkers FULL STORY
|>> 5/15/2013 - ARCA/CRA Super Series Releases Berlin 251 Entry Form, First Event of the JEGS/CRA $100,000 Super Late Model Triple Crown FULL STORY | (Entry Form Here)
|>> 5/11/2013 - ATTENTION Port City Racecars Outlaw Late Model Drivers and Teams: The reschedule of the April 13 race has been set for Friday, June 14.