The Rapidian

Drivers rev up for the race at the Berlin Raceway

Grand Rapids competiors to enter Battle at Berlin 251 race this weekend.

For times and tickets

Visit the Berlin Raceway website.

For years, the Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan has been home to weekly races that draw drivers from all over North America to compete for both prizes and bragging rights. This year is no different, and the newly renamed Battle at Berlin 251- happening June 15 and 16- is another big race for veterans and rookies alike.

Previously called the Rowdy 251, the Battle at Berlin 251 was given a new name with the absence of NASCAR star Kyle Busch. Drivers this year are hoping to make the Battle at Berlin just as rowdy even without the big name driver at this family friendly weekend.

One NASCAR star, Kasey Kahne, will make an appearance. Along with Kahne will be local drivers from the Grand Rapids area. Some resident drivers compete in addition to another career, but for others the Battle at Berlin 251 is just another day in the life of being a professional racer.

“This’ll be my second year full time,” Walker native Brandon Hermiller says. Hermiller is a professional racer who has been competing on this track for longer than he has been driving professionally. He’s looking to continue his career with an improved showing from years past and is very optimistic about his entire crew and their upcoming performance. The more races they compete in as a crew will make them better, he says. Hermiller competes in local races such as the Battle at Berline 251 as well as traveling across the country.

Others like Comstock Park resident Tim DeVos don’t compete as professionals and choose the local races that don’t conflict with their own careers and lives. Sometimes he competes in Friday races, but DeVos says he prefers the Saturday races instead.

“I try not to and don’t like to race on work days, and neither does my crew; it’s hard on all of us that work,” he says. Friday races require long days of preparation and racing after an otherwise typical work day. Since he is not a driver by trade, racing weekends are different for him.

“Last year, I had some complications. I didn’t have a pit crew last year,” he chuckles. He’s hoping to be prepared for this week’s race as the format changes to implement some NASCAR exclusive regulations.

“Now we can lose position multiple times,” he says. DeVos is preparing for the change that no longer gives drivers breaks for pit stops, meaning that drivers can fall behind in the race for the simplest of maintenance check-ups. This change, called moving pit stops, isn’t just for him though, as the entire field will have to cope with the change as well.

Over 30 drivers have been confirmed for the race, attracting drivers from beyond Michigan each year. A total of six drivers from the Grand Rapids area are prepared to enter the Battle this weekend. The other four drivers from the Grand Rapids area include Brian Campbell (number 20) from Wyoming, Terry VanHaitsma from Hudsonville (21V), Chris Anthony also from Walker (55) and Andrew Hylaan from Jenison (77B). 

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