Michigan native Erik Jones scrores first career ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards race win
-Garison Jewett goes two for two, Andrew Nylaan gets first win of 2013-
Marne, MI – The Enterprise Iron & Metal Sportsman were the first feature on the track with #89 Kirk Meissner and #40 Dave Cutler on the front row for a 25-lap feature. The field kept stacked two by two for the first couple of laps until Cutler took the lead on lap 3 and he was being followed by #15 Scott Root. The car on the move was fast qualifier #51 Garison Jewett, he was up to third on lap 10 and the challenging Root for second, all the while, Cutler was enjoying almost a three-second lead. Jewett got around Root and was working on chasing down Cutler. The first caution of the race came with just two laps to go when the #50 of Bill Funk spun in turn 4. This something that Cutler did not want to see as it would deplete his 2.5 second lead. After the restart, Jewett took the lead from Cutler as they took the white flag and then Funk brought out the second caution. This set up a one-lap shootout to determine the winner and it was Jewett who came out on top. The rest of the top ten were Cutler, #26 Brian Thome, Root, #33 Allen Davis, #51 Shawn Simon, Meissner, #20 Tyler Nawrocki, #1 Randy Veldman and #77 Gerry Shepard.
The Engine Pro Super Stock 30-lap feature was next, #48 Seth Moody and #76 Brian Tillema led the field to the green flag. Moody established himself as the leader, but Tillema wasn’t letting him get away. Just behind them, the #77 of Andrew Nylaan was staying in touch with the leaders. Nylaan was all over Tillema for second and this was letting Moody sneak away. Tillema and Nylaan caught back up to Moody and the top three were running within three tenths of a second of each other. It was the #20J of Jeremy Munniksma who brought out the first caution on lap 17 when his right front wheel fell off. Moody got a good great restart, but Nylaan was back on his bumper within a half of a lap. The race for fourth caused the next caution on lap 20 when #78 Will Olmsted made contact with #44 Brian VanZalen on the backstretch. Again, Moody got a good restart, but Nylaan was able to pull under him. On lap 21, they were side by side, touching as they crossed the start/finish line. With 5 to go, Nylaan took the lead, but only by a half of a car length. Moody pulled a cross over move and battle Nylaan back on the inside. With just three laps to go, the yellow was out again; this time for debris on the frontstretch. Nylaan and Moody stayed side by side on the restarted, but before a lap was completed, the caution was out. The #67 of Ben Welch spun coming out of turn 4. With the time limit met, the restart was single file, but Moody didn’t let this get in his way. He stuck to Nylaan’s bumper for the remainder of the race. Nylaan was able to hold him off to get his first win of the season. Moody took second and the rest of the top ten were #66 Nate Walton, Munniksma, #31 Brett DeKraker, #20 Dave Hull, #78 Will Olmsted, #024 Cole Roelofs, Welch and #28 John Norder.
Next up was the 200 lap ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards Primera Plastics 200.
17-year-old Erik Jones took advantage of several long green flag runs Saturday night and led more than 150 laps to win the Primera Plastics 200 at Berlin Raceway. Jones won his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race and became the third different driver to go to Victory Lane in the No. 15 Venturini Motorsports Toyota this season.
“What a relief,” Jones said after winning the race. “During those last 50 laps, I was hearing all kinds of noises in the car. I was just hoping it would stay together and nothing would break. It’s just amazing to come here and win.”
Jones finished ahead of Mason Mingus, in the No. 32 811 Call Before You Dig Toyota, and the 44 of Frank Kimmel in the Ansell-Menards Toyota. Cunningham Motorsports driver Austin Wayne Self and polesitter Mason Mitchell in the Happy Cheeks Ford rounded out the top five.
Jones finished second in June at Pocono Raceway, then last week was leading with two laps to go before hitting the wall and then subsequent engine trouble left him with a 12th place finish. He said winning at Berlin Raceway – his home track – is somewhat of redemption.
“I’ve made a few mistakes that have cost us a win, so this one is nice,” Jones said. “I’ve probably raced this track about 10 times in a late model. I’ve had good late models and bad late models, but I’ve never won here. Last year, in the ARCA race, I finished third. Winning here is really nice.”
The race was finished in 1 hour and 14 minutes and had four cautions for 21 laps.
Mitchell, driving for Empire Racing, set a track record in winning the Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell award. He had a nice run early, leading the first 42 laps.
Self continued his impressive ARCA Racing Series season with another top five finish. In four races this season for Cunningham, Self has finished sixth, second, tenth and now fourth.
“This team really works hard,” Self said. “We had a good car. Every time I get in the Cunningham Motorsports Dodge I know I am going to have a good car. I just try and be patient and not make mistakes out there.”
Mingus, the SCOTT Rookie Challenge point leader, finished second for the third time this season. Last year at Berlin, his car broke before turning a lap.
“Last year was tough break,” he said. “We all really wanted to run well. When we unloaded, the car was not very good. If someone would have told me we would finish second when we first started in practice, I would probably have laughed at them. The team made some adjustments and changes and really worked hard on the car.”
Kimmel didn’t get his 80th all-time series victory but did continue his top 10 streak. He’s now finished in the top 10 in 24 consecutive ARCA races, including all 14 this season.
Venturini Motorsports drivers Justin Boston in the ZLOOP Computer & Electronics Recycling Toyota and Clint King in the No. 55 Speedrack-Nashville Wire Toyota finished sixth and seventh. Tom Hessert rebounded from early troubles in his Barbera’s Autoland Dodge was eighth, Josh Williams in the Roulo Brothers Racing Ford ninth and Kelly Kovski in the Hooser Tire-Midwest Allgaier Motorsports Dodge 10th.
Michael Lira, driving for Bill Kimmel Racing, making his ARCA debut, was 11th, two laps down.
Jones credited his crew chief, Kevin Reed, for making the call for two tires on the team's first stop and four fresh tires on the second, which came with 52 laps remaining when Jones was the first of the lead laps cars off pit road, further cemeting his chances at a victory. The race remained green the rest of the way.
"Kevin made a great call," Jones said. "The team did such a great job for me tonight."
Saturday’s Primera Plastics 200 will air NBC Sports Network at 11 p.m. ET Thursday, Aug. 15.
Next Saturday, August 17 is Back to School Kids Night featuring the Budweiser Super Late Models, Model Coverall Modifieds, Enterprise Iron & Metal Sportsman and the Napa Filters Racing VROA Modifieds. There will be free kids activities all night long! Tickets are $12 for adults 18+, $8 for students 12-17, $5 for kids 8-11 and children 7 and under are free; racing beings at 7:00 p.m.
Camping is available on site all season long. There are limited spaces for electrical and water so act fast as camping spots are first come, first served.
For more information about this event as well as our weekly racing program please visit our website at www.berlinraceway.com
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For general questions, please call the Berlin Raceway track office on Tuesday - Friday from 9am - 5pm weekly.