Race Weekend Central

Keepin’ it Short – Bringing the dirt to the asphalt in Michigan

It isn’t the first time it has been tried. In fact, there are some tracks that have gone back and forth during their lifetimes. However, for the first time since it was paved in 1966, Berlin Raceway in Southwestern Michigan is going to host a dirt race on the 7/16ths-mile oval. Some 300 truckloads of dirt have been dumped on the surface and painstakingly massaged into a racing oval for the World of Outlaws Late Models. The race is going to be quite a test for man and crew chief. A virgin racing surface where none of the World of Outlaws drivers have raced on dirt before is going to put a premium on tire selection and car setup knowledge.

The driver who is able to decipher the track conditions best before the green flag drops, and then adapt their driving style to maximize their pre-race choices will most likely be standing in Victory Lane with the big, fake $20,000 check. Several drivers have stopped by the track to check out the surface but there hasn’t been any practice on it, so the driver who makes the best decisions will have the chance to win in his hands.

There are going to be many home state entries at Berlin this weekend, highlighted by Jeep VanWormer. VanWormer is the only Michigan native to have ever won a World of Outlaws Late Model race. While he is from the state, he grew up on the other side of the state and has never seen a race at the Marne, MI track. VanWormer will be joined by fellow Michiganders Ryan VanderVeen, Brian Ruhlman, Curtis Roberts, Brandon Thirlby, J.R. Hotovy, Alan Vochaska, Dona Maroullier, Eric Spangler, Rich Neiser, Adam Thrush, Zack Olger and the Ausras, Phil and Doug.

Darrell Lanigan has unquestionably been the most dominant driver on the WoO trail this year and a win in this race would push his already spectacular season to unprecedented heights. A victory would give him three 100-lap feature wins and 15 A-main triumphs in 2012. Lanigan has won a WoO feature race in Michigan before, taking the 2011 Late Model event at Hartford Motor Speedway. Joining Lanigan as WoO winners in Michigan are Rick Eckert, Chub Frank and Clint Smith.

Not only will the WoO regulars be tearing up the fresh dirt at Berlin but so will several well known interlopers. Billy Moyer, Dennis Erb, Jr., Brandon Sheppard and Mike Spatola just to name a few are making the trek to Marne to participate in this historic event which is the richest dirt race in Michigan history.

Berlin president Mike Bursley is confident the dirt Late Models are going to lay down some blistering laps on the fresh track. “I feel these guys are gonna haul around here,” Bursley told DirtonDirt. “I really do feel they’re gonna be faster.”

Drivers spent a few hours practicing Thursday night, and the action will be hot and heavy on Friday evening. Time trials and heat races will highlight the evening along with UMP Modifieds racing for $2,000. Saturday will see the feature Down and Dirty 100 along with another $2,000 to win UMP modified show and a Street Stock feature.

Gates will open at 3:00 both afternoons with racing starting at 7:00. Racing is not allowed on Sunday so, should weather force postponement, it will be run on Monday night. Tickets are $20 for adults on Friday and $30 for Saturday. Two-day passes are $45. Kids are $7 on Friday, $10 on Saturday and $15 for both nights. If you want to see something that has never happened before, head out to Berlin Raceway on Saturday night and see the dirt fly.

*Whelen All-American National Champion is Lee Pulliam*

Just over a year ago a National Championship was the furthest thing from Lee Pulliam’s mind. He’d just won the biggest asphalt Late Model race in the country and then was suspended for a post race altercation with Philip Morris at South Boston. Pulliam didn’t know how long the suspension was going to last, but he knew there was a chance he’d never race in NASCAR again. Fortunately for Pulliam he was reinstated May 1st and he immediately went on a tear with his new attitude and a race car that had been itching to take to the tracks in the Southeast again. Five months later and, as the checkered flag fell on the second Late Model feature at Motor Mile Speedway Saturday night, Pulliam notched his 22nd win of the season and put the bow on his magical comeback season.

Pulliam scored 794 points in his 18 best races, coming up 16 points shy of a perfect score. He beat Keith Rocco, who was the first loser for the second year in a row, by 46 points. C.E. Falk, III finished 66 points back for another top-5 finish in the national points. Nate Monteith ended the season in fourth place with 726 points, two better than fifth place Ryan Preece.

Five of the top 10 point finishers, who are all now locked into the UNOH Battle at the Beach in February of 2013, are from the Southeast while four are from the Northeast. Adam Royle, the ninth place finisher, is the only driver from west of the Mississippi. Royle, Tim Brown and Duane Howard are the only drivers in the top 10 who scored points at just one track this season.

The Whelen All-American Awards Banquet will be held in Charlotte the first week of December.

Position Name Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s Total Points

1. Lee Pulliam 36 22 30 32 794
2. Keith Rocco 43 14 26 32 748
3. C.E. Falk, III 30 16 25 27 728
4. Nate Monteith 33 10 23 27 726
5. Ryan Preece 48 14 33 40 724
6. Ted Christopher 48 7 40 43 716
7. Duane Howard 19 9 16 19 713
8. Deac McCaskill 30 18 27 29 706
9. Adam Royle 18 7 16 18 685
10. Tim Brown 24 8 13 18 672

A driver’s best 18 results through Sept. 16 are counted toward their states and national point totals, and the champions are decided on overall point total. Once a driver reaches 18 starts, their total would increase incrementally as they replace some poorer runs with better results.

Under the points structure for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the race winner receives two points for every car in the event up to 20 cars. Second place receives two fewer points and so on through the field. Race winners receive an additional five points. For example, if 20 cars are in the field, the winner receives 45 points, second place 38 and third 36. If there are 15 cars, the winner receives 35 points, second 28 and third, 26.

*ASA National Points Race*

The ASA National Title hunt runs through the end of the month and more and more tracks are wrapping up their season, determining who is eligible for the National Title. One requirement for the ASA title is that a driver has to win a track championship in order to be eligible for the championship. Shelby Stroebel has been crowned champ at Meridian Speedway after completing a perfect season, winning every ASA Modified race held at the Idaho race track this season, after taking the last two of last year. Lance Gatlin, Mark Eswein, Dennis Queen and Michael Hale have all thrown their hats in the ring as eligible drivers for the title after winning their track titles for 2012.

Dustin Rumley, Mike Slone and Kyle Borden are all poised to secure their track championships this weekend, although anything can happen in racing.

West Region Standings

Position Name Average

1. Shelby Stroebel 5.0763
2. Matt Wallace 4.1862
3. Mike Slone 4.0874
4. Roger Wilson 4.0036
5. Mark Ith, Jr. 3.8689

East Region Standings

Position Name Average

1. Lance Gatlin 4.6725
2. Dustin Rumley 4.2593
3. Ryan Stiltner 4.1531
4. Dennis Queen 3.9873
5. Barry Beggarly 3.9513

Throughout the season, drivers competing in the premiere divisions at eligible ASA Member Tracks are in the running for the 2012 ASA Member Track National Championship. In order to have a chance for the national title, a driver must first win their 2012 track championship.

Speednetdirect.com, for the fifth year in a row, will tabulate the National Championship standings. Using a proprietary formula that creates an average based on wins, finishing positions, number of cars passed, car counts and events. The driver who wins their track championship and has the highest average over the other ASA Member Track champions will win the 2012 ASA Member Track National Championship. Full standings are available at www.speednetdirect.com. Click on the ASA Member Track logo at the top of the page.

*Weekend’s Racing Schedule*

Fri : Sept 21st – Five Flags Speedway ; Pensacola : FL – Blizzard Series Super Late Models
Fri : Sept 21st – Orlando Speedworld ; Orlando : FL – Pro Late Models
Fri : Sept 21st – Brownstown Speedway ; Brownstown : IN – 33rd Annual Jackson 100 Lucas Oil Late Models
Fri : Sept 21st – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – Cornbelt Clash Late Models
Fri : Sept 21st – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – USMTS Hunt for the Casey’s Cup Modifieds
Fri : Sept 21st – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – 23rd Magnolia State 100 Super Late Models Qualifying and Heats
Fri : Sept 21st – Valley Speedway ; Grain Valley : MO – United Late Model Association Late Models
Fri : Sept 21st – Eldora Speedway ; Rossburg : OH – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Fri : Sept 21st – Thunderbird Speedway ; Muskogee : OK – Comp Cams Super Late Models
Fri : Sept 21st – 411 Motor Speedway ; Seymour : TN – Southern All Star Dirt Super Late Models
Fri : Sept 21st – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Modifieds
Fri : Sept 21st – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Sport Modifieds
Fri : Sept 21st – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Stock
Fri : Sept 21st – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – Street Stock
Sat : Sept 22nd – Mobile International Speedway ; Irvington : AL – Miller Lite Super Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Mobile International Speedway ; Irvington : AL – Modifieds
Sat : Sept 22nd – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – 305 Winged Sprints
Sat : Sept 22nd – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – 360 Winged Sprints
Sat : Sept 22nd – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Riverside International Speedway ; West Memphis : AR – Modifieds
Sat : Sept 22nd – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – Race #5 Coors Light Open Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – Sport Modifieds
Sat : Sept 22nd – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – Hobby Stocks
Sat : Sept 22nd – Placerville Speedway ; Placerville : CA – Tribute to Al Hinds Race Civil War California Civil War Series Sprint Cars
Sat : Sept 22nd – Desoto Speedway ; Bradenton : FL – Open Wheel Modifieds
Sat : Sept 22nd – Desoto Speedway ; Bradenton : FL – Sportsman
Sat : Sept 22nd – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Super Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Modifieds
Sat : Sept 22nd – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Sportsman
Sat : Sept 22nd – Watermelon Capital Speedway ; Cordele : GA – Super Streets
Sat : Sept 22nd – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Super Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Brownstown Speedway ; Brownstown : IN – 33rd Annual Jackson 100 Lucas Oil Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Stocks Figure 8
Sat : Sept 22nd – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Hornets Track and Field Championship
Sat : Sept 22nd – Davenport Speedway ; Davenport : IA – Deery Brothers Summer Series IMCA Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Independence Motor Speedway ; Independence : IA – Cornbelt Clash Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Brighthouse Super Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – New Senoia Raceway ; Senoia : GA – Season Championship Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Waycross Motor Speedway ; Waycross : GA – Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Sportsman
Sat : Sept 22nd – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Pure Street
Sat : Sept 22nd – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Mini Stock
Sat : Sept 22nd – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Outlaw Mini Cup
Sat : Sept 22nd – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – USMTS Hunt for the Casey’s Cup Modifieds
Sat : Sept 22nd – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – 23rd Magnolia State 100 Super Late Models Qualifying and Heats
Sat : Sept 22nd – New Hampshire Motor Speedway ; Loudon : NH – ACT Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – New Hampshire Motor Speedway ; Loudon : NH – NASCAR K&N Pro East Series
Sat : Sept 22nd – New Hampshire Motor Speedway ; Loudon : NH – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Sat : Sept 22nd – Hickory Motor Speedway ; Newton : NC – PASS South
Sat : Sept 22nd – Orange County Speedway ; Rougemon : NC – Southeast Limited Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Eldora Speedway ; Rossburg : OH – AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Cars
Sat : Sept 22nd – Eldora Speedway ; Rossburg : OH – USAC MOPAR National Midgets
Sat : Sept 22nd – Eldora Speedway ; Rossburg : OH – USAC Silver Crown
Sat : Sept 22nd – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Modifieds
Sat : Sept 22nd – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Street Stocks
Sat : Sept 22nd – Sandusky Speedway ; Sandusky : OH – Main Event Super Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Thunderbird Speedway ; Muskogee : OK – Comp Cams Super Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Kawartha Speedway ; Fraserville : Ontario – NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
Sat : Sept 22nd – Lernerville Speedway ; Sarver : PA – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Sat : Sept 22nd – Lincoln Speedway ; Abbottstown : PA – Annual Kenny Weld/Hilly Rife Memorial 410 Sprints
Sat : Sept 22nd – Lincoln Speedway ; Abbottstown : PA – Thundercars
Sat : Sept 22nd – Mahoning Valley Speedway ; Lehighton : PA – 4c Super Modifieds
Sat : Sept 22nd – Smoky Mountain Speedway ; Maryville : TN – Southern All Star Dirt Super Late Models
Sat : Sept 22nd – Motor Mile Speedway ; Radford : VA – CARS Pro Cup Series
Sun : Sept 23rd – Shangri La II Speedway ; Tioga Center : NY – Race of Champions Modifieds
Sun : Sept 23rd – Sandusky Speedway ; Sandusky : OH – Main Event Super Late Models
Sun : Sept 23rd – Sunset Speedway ; Innisfil : Ontario – OSCAAR Super Late Models
Sun : Sept 23rd – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Sport Modifieds
Sun : Sept 23rd – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Late Models
Sun : Sept 23rd – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Factory Stocks
Wed : Sept 26th – Millbridge Speedway ; Salisbury : NC – Mini Outlaws
Thu : Sept 27th – Knoxville Raceway ; Knoxville : IA – 9th Annual Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals

Share this article

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com