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Posted: Tuesday, July 22nd 2014 at 10:04am

Johnny VanDoorn battles back to win Battle At Berlin 251

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Johnny VanDoorn (71) battles with Daniel Hemric (98) en route to scoring the win in Saturday night's Battle at Berlin at Berlin Raceway. / Photo: Courtesy CRA Media
MARNE, MI – Cars and drivers from all over the country traveled to Marne, MI Saturday to battle for a $10,000 payday. At the end of 251 laps, it was Johnny VanDoorn standing in victory lane as the winner of the second annual Battle at Berlin at the historic Berlin Raceway.

The Coopersville, MI standout, who set a torrid early pace in leading the first 141 laps, battled back from a miscue on pit road to retake the lead for the third and final time with 10 laps to go. After getting by Senoia, GA’s Bubba Pollard, who won the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race the night before and was going for the clean sweep of the weekend, VanDoorn would check out from Pollard and the rest of the field en route to his second consecutive Battle at Berlin 251 victory and the $10,000 pay check.

"I drove my car the way Ted Nugent told me, 'don’t tread on me.'” VanDoorn said in victory lane. “We had such a good car all night long and my brother (Crew Chief) Butch (VanDoorn) called an excellent race. This is my third race of the year and I didn’t crash like the first two at Milwaukee and Anderson. I really have to thank (Car Owner) Tom Kmak for letting us run his car and the entire T.K. Racing Team. They worked so hard this whole weekend. It was great how Tom came through at the last minute for us. Also Dewaine McGunegill at McGunegill Engine Performance for giving us such awesome power tonight."

It would be VanDoorn and second fast qualifier Jay Niewiek leading the 30-car field to the green flag to start the 251. VanDoorn would beat out Niewiek to the first corner to grab the early lead while the rest of the field settled in. The first 51 laps went through with no problems as VanDoorn set the pace. By the time the second caution came out on lap 141, VanDoorn had lapped the field up to the sixth place car.
In the first round of live pit stops, Brian Campbell emerged as the new leader and he was immediately pressured by VanDoorn, who would retake the point on lap 151. Six laps later Terry Senneker, Jr. drove around the outside of the top three cars in one motion, careening around turns three and four to lead his first career laps in a Template Super Late Model. A pivotal moment of the race occurred on lap 172 when Ross Meeuwsen and Campbell collided going into turn three, sending Campbell backwards into the wall, ending his night.

As the race resumed, Senneker, Jr. continued to show the way. A caution on lap 214 brought the leaders down pit road for the final time. However, Senneker, Jr. stayed out for track position and led the field back to the green. On lap 223 as another car was spinning off the backstretch, 2013 Southern Super Series Champion Daniel Hemric, who was in second, went past a suddenly slowing Senneker, Jr., to take the lead as moments later the caution flag came out. With Hemric now out in front, he had Pollard, who had also passed Senneker, Jr., on his back bumper.

As Hemric and Pollard brought the field back to the green flag, VanDoorn was charging back towards the front. He worked his way to third as Pollard drove by Hemric to take the lead with 21 laps to go. VanDoorn followed Pollard past Hemric and began looking for the lead. With 10 laps to go, VanDoorn made the winning pass and drove away to the victory.

“I went into moron mode and stalled my car on that stop,” laughed VanDoorn as he explained the mishap on pit road during the first round of pit stops that relegated him back to eighth. "The money is nice though, but come October, I don't care at all about the money, all I want is that gun. I am a racer and the trophy, or in this case, the gun is what matters most. But this win is pretty special though."

Pollard held on for second, with Ross Meeuwsen in third, Senneker, Jr. in fourth and Travis Braden in fifth.

For more information about all four touring series’ within Champion Racing Association Powered by JEGS, visit cra-racing.com.

ARCA/CRA Super Series
Berlin Raceway - Marne, MI
Battle at Berlin 251 - July 19, 2014

1. 71 Johnny VanDoorn
2. 26P Bubba Pollard
3. 99 Ross Meeuwsen
4. 36 Terry Senneker, Jr.
5. 1 Travis Braden
6. 98 Daniel Hemric
7. 6 Brandon Hermiller
8. 28Q Grant Quinlan
9. 33 Wes Griffith, Jr.
10. 101L Joe Bush
11. 28 Ali Kern
12. 77N Andrew Nylaan
13. 23 Chris Koslek
14. 9 Brandon Watson
15. 7 Paul Shafer, Jr.
16. 131 Nick Gullatta
17. 77 Ross Kenseth
18. 55L Dave Lake
19. 26 Rick Turner
20. 29 Anderson Bowen
21. 10 Steve Dorer
22. 21 Terry VanHaitsma
23. 1T Trevor Berry
24. 84 Jay Niewiek
25. 47 Brian Campbell
26. 20J Jeremy Munniksma
27. 4 Scott Neal
28. 14 Chris Davidson
29. 42 Chad Finley
30. 101 Lauren Bush

Link: CRA Racing Series
Associated Categories: Sports News, Professional Sports, NASCAR

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