By Mike Strevel
Marne, Mich. (June 29, 2002) – The 6,000 plus fans at Berlin Raceway in Marne MI were treated to an incredible fireworks show after the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Super Sprint Series feature but not before some late race fireworks on the 7/16 mile oval.
The feature had a late yellow on lap 25 of the 30 lap main event for Ryan Katz’s flat tire and the leader of the first 25 laps Bill Tyler of Parma MI did not need that as second place runner Kevin Feeney and third place man Tim Cox were able to close on Tyler and on the lap 25 restart Feeney made his move to the high side of Tyler and likely taking the lead. The Park City IL driver Cox had other plans as he had discovered that higher groove at the tricky oval had been working in and took advantage of that and passed both Feeney and Tyler. The excited winner took his second ever AVSS feature win and this was his third ever appearance at Berlin in a sprinter. He told the huge crowd that over ten years ago in a stock car he hit every wall at the track and never figured on winning at Berlin.
The beginning of a long holiday week started at the famous Marne oval with the first off two shows for AVSS. The day started with 26 AVSS stars checking into the pits on the hot and humid day. The talk during hot laps was that the track would be remarkably slower than last year due to the extreme heat. The always-surprising AVSS racers went out and Hank Lower of Angola IN qualified at an amazing 13.175, less than one tenth of a second off last year’s track record. That averages out to 119.681 miles per hour and Jason Blonde of Litchfield MI was second fast at 13.182 and Kevin Feeney had an identical 13.182.
Dorman Snyder, Ryan Katz and Mike Ling captured the three hotly contested heat races. The B-main was cancelled and the great management staff at Berlin let all 24 cars still running in the 30 lap main event.
The feature could not be started before the traditional three wide AVSS salute to the great open wheel fans at Berlin that included hundreds of Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper associates. The front row for the finale had Bill Tyler and Cox side by side with fast qualifier Lower starting sixth. The green was thrown and Tyler acted like he was shot out of a cannon and dominated the first 25 laps. The second place car of Feeney closed on Tyler’s tail tank once or twice but lapped traffic played a part all race as only the top ten finishers completed all 30 laps. This just proved the blistering pace that Tyler was running, when on lap 25 Ryan Katz had a flat tire and spun out on the backstretch to bring out the only caution of the race. This set up that fantastic finish with Feeney and Cox having a chance at Tyler and Cox made the most of that opportunity.
The driver of the B&D racing Dynamite chassis celebrated in victory lane with all of his car owners including Don Lambert who was celebrating his birthday at the track with a beautiful cake for all the racers and what a present he received. The remainder of the top ten finish was Tyler second, Feeney 3rd, Tom Fedewa 4th, Lower 5th, Blonde 6th, Gary Fedewa 7th, Ling 8th, Chris Hayes 9th and Dennis Craft 10th.
The entire staff of AVSS would like to thank Scott Lane and all his fine staff at Berlin for the great hospitality and look forward to the second appearance on August 31.
The Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Super Sprint Series will make their only Canadian showing of the year with races on Friday July 5th at the Delaware Speedway and on Saturday the 6th at Flamboro Speedway in Freelton Ontario for the first ever time. The AVSS website is supersprints.com for more information.
Qualifying Berlin Raceway Marne MI 6-29-2002
1. 37 Hank Lower 13.175 2. 10 Jason Blonde 13.182 3. 98 Kevin Feeney 13.182 4. JB Johnboy Hotchkiss 13.262 5. 98c Tim Cox 13.299 6. 24 Bill Tyler 13.361 7. 20 Tom Fedewa 13.457 8. 42 Gary Fedewa 13.516 9. 70 Dennis Craft 13.572 10. 11 Chris Hayes 13.602 11. 71 Curt Shumaker 13.713 12. 61 Mike Ling 13.724 13. 9 Dorman Snyder 13.726 14. 35 Ryan Katz 13.832 15. 69 Gary Sherman 13.989 16. 4 Troy Underwood 13.989 17. 14 Jimmy McCune 14.031 18. 1 Scott Seaton 14.086 19. 26 Jeff Bloom 14.168 20. 55 Sean Stafford 14.172 21. 66 Doug Stepke 14.234 22. 4B Rick Baker 14.392 23. 8 Ryan Davis 14.501 24. 40 Troy Lowery 14.507 25. 92 George Gustafson 14.670 26. 14D David Lawerance N.T.
Heat results heat 1- 1. Snyder 2. Underwood 3. Hayes 4. Lower 5. T.Fedewa 6. Hotchkiss 7. Baker 8. Bloom 9. Gustafson
Heat 2- 1. Katz 2. McCune 3. G.Fedewa 4. Blonde 5. Cox 6. Stafford 7. Davis 8. Shumaker
Heat 3- 1. Ling 2. Feeney 3. Seaton 4. Tyler 5. Craft 6. Stepke 7. Sherman 8. Lowery
30 lap feature 1. Cox 2. Tyler 3. Feeney 4. T.Fedewa 5. Lower 6. Blonde 7. G.Fedewa 8. Ling 9. Hayes 10. Craft 11. Seaton 12. Shumaker 13. Underwood 14. Baker 15. Stafford 16. McCune 17. Sherman 18. Davis 19. Katz 20. Bloom 21. Lowery 22. Gustafson 23. Hotchkiss 24. Snyder
Top ten points 6-30-2002
1. 20 Tom Fedewa 524
2. 24 Bill Tyler 513
3. 37 Hank Lower 508
4. 42 Gary Fedewa 497
5. 98c Tim Cox 496
6. 14 Jimmy McCune 489
7. 10 Jason Blonde 462
8. 9 Dorman Snyder 458
9. 70 Dennis Craft 454
10. 4b Rick Baker 453