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Erickson, Bell & Henry Capture Berlin Goes Dirt Finale

October 3, 2018

 

Lake Odessa, MI (Tuesday, October 2, 2018) - For the final time in 2018, competitors with the American Ethanol Late Model Tour (AELMT), American Ethanol Modified Tour Presented by Allstar Performance (AEMODT) and the Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt Presented by ARP (SOD) stormed the banks of Berlin Raceway for the season finale and final weekend of Berlin Goes Dirt.

 

Chilly, overcast weather, welcomed drivers, crews and fans to the final race weekend in September.  That didn’t stop nearly 70 teams from coming out to try and take home their share of over $12,000 in first place prize money.  The night began with SOD qualifying as Ryan Ruhl set fast time, turning a 14.525 second lap around the big oval.

 

From there, AEMODT teams battled for the final Motul Motor Oil and Lubricants Fast Qualifier Award of the season.  Jacob Poel lead the way for group one, turning an 18.404 second lap time, while group two was led by Jeffery Erickson Jr. with an 18.417 second lap time.  The final group was paced by John McClure who clocked in with a time of 19.167.  For Poel, his time was good enough to take home the Motul Motor Oil Fast Qualifier Award, his first of the year.

 

The AELMT was next to qualify, as Rich Neiser lead the way for group one, turning in a time of 16.712 seconds.  Group two was paced by Jeep VanWormer with a 16.903, while group three went to Eric Spangler, turning a 17.497 second lap time.  Neiser picked up his first Motul Motor Oil Fast Qualifier Award of the 2018 season, the second of his career.

 

After some light track prep work, it was time for racing with the AEMODT, as Lane Automotive Heat Race number one went onto the racing surface.  The race went without incident as Poel drove to the win. Michigan Corn Heat Race number two followed the same trend, with Erickson collecting the win.  Finally, NUVU Fuels Heat Race number three took to the racing surface and Paul Johnson drove to the win.

 

Next up was heat race action for the AELMT, as Allstar Performance Heat Race number on rolled onto the Raceway.  Dona Marcoullier picked up the heat race win ahead of Logan Arntz.  Zoye Vegetable Oil Heat Race number two went straight through as well.  Kevin Reeve lead the field to green alongside Rich Bell with Reeve jumping out to the early lead, going all the way to pick up his first heat race win of the season. A strong field of drivers were slated to start YellowHose.com Heat Race number three with Mike Spatola, Eric Spangler and Nick Kurtz among others.  It would be Travis Stemler who came out with the win.

 

SOD heat races were next with Cap Henry, Josh Turner and Dillon Westbrook all collecting wins.  After the redraw for all three divisions, the Last Chance Qualifier for SOD took to the Raceway, featuring three different 2018 sprint car champions.  Butler Motor Speedway track champion Boston Mead, SOD Champion Chad Blonde, and Lane Automotive Michigan Traditional Sprint Car Series champion Steve Irwin all found themselves in the LCQ after not finishing inside the top five in their heat races.  The LCQ win went to Mead, ahead of Blonde, Andrew Sheid, Irwin and John Gurley.

 

From there, it was time for the $2,500 to win GetBioFuels.com 40 for the AEMODT.  Bob Baldwin and Paul Johnson led the field to green, but were quickly overtaken by row two’s Poel and Erickson, as Poel had the lead off turn two, but Erickson lead lap number one.  A number of single car accidents slowed the field, including a Luke Hubble spin off turn four into the tractor tire ending his night, as well as a restart in which Dave Baker tried to go to the outside of Jacob Poel on the back stretch, running out of room and spinning to the top of turn three, and into the barriers.  The restarts, however, would prove no match for Erickson who continued to lead with conviction through the finish, collecting his second AEMODT win in three weeks.

 

Rain began to fall as drivers lined the front stretch for the $6,000 to win Michigan Corn 50 for the AELMT.  Despite the light sprinkles that continued to fall, drivers all made it clear they felt the track was safe and ready to race on for 50 laps.  As the green flag flew, Illinois’ Mike Spatola jumped out to the early lead quickly putting distance between he and his fellow competitors.  A few single car cautions plagued the first half of the race, including for Spatola, whose car lost power under caution, before mother nature stepped in on lap 28 bringing the field to a halt in the Berlin Raceway pits.  After a delay to let the rain pass and to re-work the racing surface, engines were re-fired and racing resumed.  Jeep VanWormer led the field back to green and appeared to be on his way to a fourth consecutive Berlin Raceway victory.  Rich Bell had other plans.  On what became the final restart of the race, with just three laps to go, sprinkles began intensifying, VanWormer spun the tires coming to the green on the slick track, allowing Bell to look to his outside through turns one and two.  Bell was able to hold his ground on the top side and took a huge run down into turn three.  VanWormer tried desperately to drive deep into turn three, however a hole on the bottom of the track upset the chassis, sending the car into a major push, allowing Bell to drive by and eventually onto the win.  For Bell, it was his first trip back to YellowHose.com victory since a July 2016 win at Thunderbird Raceway.

 

 

Rain was falling again as the AELMT cars crossed under the checkered flag, sending the show into another rain delay prior to the SOD Comp Cams 30 Lap End-of-the-Year Shootout.  Drivers were instructed to get in their cars and were pushed onto the racing surface to help work the rain into the already harden surface.  Efforts were successful, however due to the laps helping with track prep, the race was cut to 20 laps due to the amount of fuel drivers had used.  Dillon Westbrook jumped out to the early lead, before Ryan Ruhl tried to challenge on his inside through turns one and two.  While Ruhl was looking inside, however, Henry was blistering around the outside of the race track, and passed Ruhl on the next lap, setting up Westbrook down the back stretch.  Taking lapped cars three wide into turn three, Henry took the lead with just a handful of laps remaining and went on to collect a back-to-back Berlin victory.

 

The next even for the American Ethanol Tours is the 2018 Awards Banquet, scheduled for Saturday, December 1, at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  More information, including ticket prices, times and more will be announced in the coming weeks.

 

Continue to stay up-to-date with the AEMODT and the AELMT through social media all throughout the off-season.  Find exclusive behind the scenes content, Tour news and updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Be part of the conversation by using the hashtags AELMT or AEMODT.

 

For more information on the American Ethanol Tours, log onto aemodt.com or aelmt.com. 

 

 

Race Highlights

  

AELMT Michigan Corn 50

1. 21B Rich Bell

2. 55 Jeep VanWormer

3. 79 Nick Kurtz

4. 6M Dona Marcoullier

5. M14 Brandon Thirlby

6. 87 Rich Neiser

7. 45 Kevin Reeve

8. 33H Dave Hilliker

9. 2 Travis Stemler

10. 27 Eric Spangler

11. 33 Andrew Terrill

12. 4 Jason Playter Jr.

13. 23V Ryan VanderVeen

14. 12 Scott Fisk

15. 89 Mike Spatola

16. 15 Phil Ausra

17. 3 Scott Wendell

18. 94 Bill Bray

19. 21A Logan Arntz

20. 33T Bob Timmer

21. 1W Michael Luberda

22. 30 Robert Bray

 

AELMT Heat 3

1. 2 Travis Stemler

2. 89 Mike Spatola

3. 79 Nick Kurtz

4. 27 Eric Spangler

5. 33H Dave Hilliker

6. 12 Scott Fisk

7. 33T Bob Timmer

8. 30 Robert Bray

 

AELMT Heat 2

1. 45 Kevin Reeve

2. 21B Rich Bell

3. 55 Jeep VanWormer

4. 23V Ryan VanderVeen

5. 33 Andrew Terrill

6. 94 Bill Bray

7. 4 Jason Playter Jr.

 

AELMT Heat 1

1. 6M Dona Marcoullier

2. 21A Logan Arntz

3. M14 Brandon Thirlby

4. 87 Rich Neiser

5. 15 Phil Ausra

6. 1W Michael Luberda

7. 3 Scott Wendell

 

AEMODT GetBioFuels.com 40

1. 1E Jeffery Erickson Jr.

2. 19 Chad Bauer

3. 47 Collin Thirlby

4. 82 Jacob Poel

5. 28 Mark Beard

6. 24N Kyle Novak

7. 42 Bob Baldwin

8. 12 John McClure

9. 32H Dan Hubbell

10. 15X Rich Robinson Jr.

11. 77D Anthony Deming

12. 32 Troy Ziegler

13. 13 Andy Galgoci

14. 4B Brian Brindley

15. 47B Corey Bevard

16. 60 Nate Wilbur

17. 9 Garrett Rons

18. 71 Larry Passenier

19. 46 Dave Schmidt

20. 81 Rick Swartout

21. 15 Dave Baker

22. 29 Steve Shellenberger

23. 4J Paul Johnson

24. 23 Luke Hubbell

25. 80 Dave Knowlton

 

AEMODT Heat 3

1. 4J Paul Johnson

2. 15 Dave Baker

3. 23 Luke Hubbell

4. 12 John McClure

5. 13 Andy Galgoci

6. 32H Dan Hubbell

7. 77D Anthony Deming

8. 80 Dave Knowlton

9. 81 Rick Swartout

 

AEMODT Heat 2

1. 1E Jeffery Erickson Jr.

2. 47 Collin Thirlby

3. 19 Chad Bauer

4. 15X Rich Robinson Jr.

5. 28 Mark Beard

6. 47B Corey Bevard

7. 9 Garrett Rons

8. 32 Troy Ziegler

 

AEMODT Heat 1

1. 82 Jacob Poel

2. 24N Kyle Novak

3. 42 Bob Baldwin

4. 71 Larry Passenier

5. 60 Nate Wilber

6. 29 Steve Shellenberger

7. 46 Dave Schmidt

 

AELMT Awards

Motul Motor Oil & Lubricant Fast Qualifier: *87 Rich Neiser

Comp Cams Halfway Leader: *55 Jeep VanWormer

ARP Most Laps Led: *55 Jeep VanWormer

Allstar Performance Hard Charger: 4 Jason Playter Jr.

Quarter Mast Move of the Race: 21B Rich Bell

Lane Automotive Member A: 79 Nick Kurtz

QuickCar Member B: 6M Dona Marcoullier

* = Non-Member, not eligible to receive contingency award certificate

 

AEMODT Awards

Motul Motor Oil & Lubricant Fast Qualifier: 82 Jacob Poel

Comp Cams Halfway Leader: 1E Jeffery Erickson Jr.

ARP Most Laps Led: 1E Jeffery Erickson Jr.

Allstar Performance Hard Charger: *4B Brian Brindley

Quarter Mast Move of the Race: 19 Chad Bauer

Lane Automotive Member