Brian Campbell arguably scored the biggest victory of his Super Late Model career on Saturday night when he outdueled Bubba Pollard and Terry Senneker to win the Battle at Berlin 251 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan.
Campbell has won countless races in the Midwest and won more notable events in an Outlaw Late Model, but his textbook performance against two of the best will no doubt make his personal highlight reel someday.
Pollard had won the first two 100-lap stages of the 251-lap event, but had to restart third behind Carson Hocevar and Raphael Lessard due to a mandatory position redraw for those who finished the second segment inside the top-5.
Pollard and Campbell quickly dispatched Lessard, but couldn’t get around the 14-year-old Hocevar.
With 39 laps to go, Pollard got trapped behind Hocevar on the outside, allowing Campbell to sail by both contenders. It took a few laps for Pollard to rid himself of Hocevar and may have used up his tires in the hopes of doing so cleanly.
Pollard would get one more shot at victory thanks to a caution with 15 laps to go, but Campbell set sail immediately after the restart. Pollard finished second ahead of Senneker, Hocevar and Joe Busch.
“That was a heck of a fight,” Campbell said in Victory Lane over the public address system. “Thank you to Bubba for racing me clean and that’s a 1-2-3 for Senneker Performance. That’s awesome.”
And again, even though Campbell has won the Glass City 200 or the All-American Super Late 200, this is one of his signature victories in a field that included Pollard, Senneker, reigning CARS Tour champion Lessard and Snowball Derby winner Steven Wallace.
“We’ve won everything out here, except for this race,” Campbell said.
Despite finishing second in the Berlin 251 for the second straight year, Pollard was unusually relaxed and content to have raced clean against a driver he respects.
“Nah, that was fun,” Pollard said. “If I’m gonna lose, I want to lose to Brian Campbell. He’s a hell of a race car driver. It goes to show you that two guys can go back-and-forth, not touch each other, and have fun. That’s what racing is all about.”
With that said, he admitted that Hocevar likely held him up. Pollard was unwilling to use the bumper against the 14-year-old on Saturday after spinning him on older tires in July to win the Money in the Bank 150 at Berlin.
That set up a brief feud between Pollard and the Midwest.
“For God’s sake, I didn’t want to touch the 14 because I’d be getting death threats,” Pollard said. “I couldn’t get around him. Brian did pretty easy. We were pretty loose at the end. I don’t think our last set of tires were any good. That’s part of racing so we’ll just come back and do it again.”
While the first stage was clean and uneventful, the second was marred by caution after caution.
The most notable incident occured on Lap 173 when CRA championship contenders Logan Runyon was caught up in an incident with Wes Griffith, Terry Van Haitsma and Harold Fair.
The crash brought out a red flag.
The race was also the finale for the Berlin Raceway Super Late Model track championshhip. Hocevar finished one spot ahead of Joe Bush in fourth to become the youngest Berlin SLM champion.
The CRA Championship Chase continues at Toledo Speedway on September 16.
The complete results can be found below.
- Brian Campbell
- Bubba Pollard
- Terry Senneker
- Carson Hocevar
- Joe Bush
- Johnny VanDoorn
- Jordan Dahlke
- Nate Walton
- Kyle Crump
- Raphael Lessard
- Dalton Armstrong
- Wes Griffith Jr
- Evan Shotko
- Ken Wobma
- Boris Jurkovic
- Chris Koslek
- Logan Runyon
- Terry VanHaitsma
- Harold Fair Jr
- Steve Wallace
- Trever McCoy
- Travis Braden
- Chase Purdy
- Hunter Jack
- Steve Dorer
Note: Short Track Scene was not at this event but watched online via the Speed 51 Pay-Per-View broadcast.
Read more Short Track Scene:
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- CARS Tour to run partial Super Late Model schedule in 2018
- Doug Coby breaks long winless Modified Tour drought