Chris Buescher claims the Berlin 200 ARCA race win!
Randy Veldman and Don Deyman also victorious
Marne, MI—It was a perfect night for the ARCA Racing Series to visit Berlin Raceway and the crowd was treated to a fantastic night of racing. Taking home the checkers were Don Deyman (VROA), Randy Veldman (Kerkstra Services Sportsman) and Chris Buescher (ARCA Racing Series).
The Vintage Racing Organization of America started the night off with a 25-lap feature; the #4X of Arnie Snyder and #4 Don Smith started on the front row. Snyder took off with the lead and the field behind him raced two, sometimes three-wide. The #81 of Andrew Bartoszek was slowly reeling him in and took the lead on lap 7. At half-way, he was over two seconds ahead of the pack, who were still racing close for position. The first caution of the race happened on lap 22 when, running second, Snyder spun in turn 2. This caution erased Bartoszek’s lead and was immediate challenged by #43 Terry Byrne on the restart. They were side by side taking the white flag and it was mayhem as they were coming through the final turn and #55 Don Deyman drove through it all to grab the win. The rest of the top ten were #3 Lou Caposey, Byrne, #61 Jason Burrus, #59 John Evans, #2 Randy Pierson, #42 Mike Becker, Smith, #7 Jimmy Lawson and Bartoszek.
It was the #18 of Mitch Meppelink who was on the pole for the 25-lap Kerkstra Services Sportsman division with #1 Randy Veldman on his outside. Meppelink and Veldman raced side by side since the drop of the green flag with #33 Allen Davis and #88 Tony Davis right behind them. Lap 4, T. Davis was looking to make it a three-wide battle for the lead, but he backed out. Veldman cleared Meppelink on lap 6 and brought T. Davis with him; #76 Brian Tillema also broke away from the field. Lap 7 saw the first caution for the spinning car of #15 Scott Root. Veldman led as Tillema and T. Davis were battling for second. T. Davis had Tillema cleared, but Tillema was not relenting; he was all over Davis’ bumper and started to make his move on lap 13 all while Veldman had pulled away to almost a two second lead. As hard as Tillema would try, he couldn’t make it around Davis and there was just no catching Veldman. He got his fourth win of the season and the rest of the top ten were T. Davis, Tillema, A. Davis, Meppelink, #40 Dave Cutler, #26 Brian Thome, #77 Gerry Shepard, #17 Jared Miller and #89 Kirk Meissner.
Up next the ARCA stars took to the track. Over the first 160 laps at Berlin Raceway, the story centered on just how long the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards field could stay green.
At the end, the story was a familiar one, as Chris Buescher drove to another short track victory in the Berlin ARCA 200 presented by Hantz Group. The win is his third of 2012 and the eighth of his career, and gives him a sweep of the series' Michigan events after a superspeedway win at Michigan International Speedway two months ago.
Buescher (No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing Ford) led the final 17 laps and 40 overall in a race that featured just two cautions for 14 laps, and none until Lap 161 - with just under 20 percent of the race remaining. Buescher passed Erik Jones (No. 55 Paragon Corvette Reproductions/CG Financial Services Chevrolet) on Lap 184 to make his final move to the front, and he extended his advantage to a 2.739-second victory margin.
With the win, Buescher assumes the points lead in the ARCA Racing Series, edging Brennan Poole, who finished ninth. Buescher now leads Poole (No. 25 Adcetera.com/Midas Chevrolet)
by 35 points. Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota), who finished second, is 70 points from the lead.
Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell winner Chad Hackenbracht (No. 58 CGH Motorsports Chevrolet) led the first six laps before being passed by Buescher, who led until Lap 31. It was at Lap 32 that the 16-year-old Jones, making his fourth start across numerous series at Berlin this season, took the lead in his home state.
Kimmel, who started fourth, snuck by for the lead at Lap 50, and started then to show the same dominance he exhibited in winning his 75th career race just two weeks ago. He lapped Chase Elliott (No. 9 Aaron's Dream Machine/HendrickCars.com Chevrolet) on Lap 69, leaving just seven of the 29 cars that started on the lead lap.
Kimmel led by three seconds at Lap 90 and twice that at the halfway point 10 laps later. He led by over 10 seconds as early as Lap 114 and as late as Lap 120, but began to conserve his car as it became evident that the green flag racing could continue for a long time. A pit stop under fast conditions would be harmful, and Kimmel knew it.
As he slowed, Elliott began to move toward the front. At one point three laps down, he passed Kimmel several times and moved onto the lead lap at Lap 146. By then, Kimmel's advantage over Mason Mitchell (No. 6 J&S Ag Services/Make-A-Wish Chevrolet), who qualified second and had not pitted, was just over three seconds.
Just four cars were on the lead lap with 50 to go, and Elliott was the one charging the hardest. He moved into second place on Lap 155 and passed Kimmel for the lead on Lap 159. Just as Lap 161 started, a car spun on the frontstretch to yield the race's first caution period with Elliott having made a substantial comeback to take the first position.
The green flag flew on Lap 170, with Elliott leading Jones, Kimmel, Mitchell, and Buescher. Elliott and Jones had only taken two tires, while Kimmel had taken four. Elliott maintained the lead for the first several green flag laps, but Jones passed him on Lap 173.
Another caution flag flew quickly, at Lap 176. The green flag flew at Lap 181 with Jones continuing to lead. Buescher charged to the outside on the restart while Kimmel went inside, but Jones maintained a slight lead. He could not hold Buescher back, though, and the Roulo Brothers Racing driver passed him on Lap 184. Kimmel made his way to second, but could not pass Buescher as the 19-year-old pulled away while the final laps ticked down.
Buescher joined Alex Bowman as a three-time winner in the series this season. Bowman, who is fourth in points, finished 13th. Not only did Poole lose the points lead, but he also lost most of the front of his car in a last-lap crash with Ricky Ehrgott. Neither driver was injured.
Jones finished third, his third top-five in eight starts this year. Tom Hessert (No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet) ended the race fourth after battling back onto the lead lap, edging Mitchell. Clint King (No. 15 Speedrack Products Group Toyota) finished sixth, his fourth top-six in five races this year.
Elliott ended the race seventh, topping Matt Lofton (No. 16 Strutmasters.com Chevrolet), Poole, and Hackenbracht.
The race lasted one hour, nine minutes, and 45 seconds. Full ARCA results are available on www.arcaracing.com.
Next Saturday, August 18 is Law Enforcement Appreciation Night and also the last $1 beer & $1 hot dog night of the season. Taking the track will be the Engine Pro Super Stocks, Model Coverall Modifieds, Kerkstra Services Sportsman, Burnips Equipment 4-Cylinders and the Vintage Racing Organization of America. Tickets are just $10 for adults and kids 11 and under are free; racing starts at 7:00 p.m.