Brian Bergakker won both ends of the Level Pebble 200. He’s the first driver ever to win a double header in Gold Cup Series history (as far as I can tell from my records). “There was no imagining it (that I’d win both races). We thought we’d win with the outlaw car, it was good enough … we made big changes since the last time we were here for the Joy Fair 100. Didn’t think we would win with the other car (the CRA car), we would’ve been happy with a top five, top 10 with that one. This is awesome, two races (won) in the same night in two different cars … it’s unreal,” said the driver of the Central Transport, Sweet Mfg., Senneker Performance, Michigan Marking, Earnest Performance. “Eric (Lee) was really good at the start of the race, I was a little free at the start of the race. He was hugging the bottom, that’s what he needed to do. I picked him off on the lapped traffic, otherwise it would’ve taken me a lot longer to pass him, he was really good. I want to thank Flat Rock and CRA for putting this on. These races at Flat Rock are awesome they put on a good show, they do a good job at tech, handling the drivers and treating them with respect.”
Steve Needles finished second, “We had a pretty good car there in the middle stages of the race. Those guys set a heck of a pace at the start. I really didn’t want to run that hard, but I didn’t want to lose much track position either. Once we got into lapped traffic at the end it got a little slower. We had a good car, I think, Brian (Bergakker), we were pretty equal. I’d make some gains on him for a while, then he got on me a little bit. I think it would’ve been a heck of a race if we could’ve got nose to tail there … but the lapped cars in middle there, it is what it is. He did a heck of a job,” said the driver of the Direct Detail, Hutter Engines, Allstar Perfor., Bicknell, PFC Brakes, Jason Dietsch Trailer Sales. “Eric (Lee) was really good there for the first half of the race but when he had to, moved up, we were able to make some tracks on him. We didn’t have to overly kill our stuff to do it. That was good. Like I said they were running really hard, a little harder than I wanted to … but it is what it is.”
Eric Lee finished third, “I’m really happy. We got this car together a few weeks ago and we’ve had a lot of bugs in it the first couple weeks but it’s getting closer and closer. In a few more weeks I think it’ll be really good. Hats off to Brian (Bergakker) and Steve (Needles) they’re two of the best outlaw guys out there. No shame to running third to them. I was really good the first half of the race but then started getting pretty free and lose a lot of forward bite. We’ll work on that and come back stronger,” said the driver of the Action Drywall, D&E Landscaping, Powertrain Transformers, Lixey Storage #5.
Harold Fair Jr finished fourth. “It’s an alright (finish). We didn’t have a lot of time to adjust on this car today and we really should’ve concentrated on it more. It was a good paced race, we’ll just have to dig deep and do it again,” said the driver of the Fair Racing Development, Royal Truck-Trailer, Senneker Performance, DTS, Earnest Performance, Ross Mortgage Corp. #71.
Craig Everage finished fifth, “I was very happy for a top five finish, and got beat by some of the best in the business. I’m not ashamed. I think I’m the top local driver here. So I’m very happy. I want to thank EverageAuto.com, Hurricane Speed Shop, and all my guys that come every week. It’s a long ride (from Angola, Ind.) here and we didn’t get any practice. So I’m very happy to start 13th and finish fifth.”
The Gold Cup Series outlaw bodied cars shared the card with the ARCA/CRA Series template bodied cars. This is the third time they’ve shared the event at Flat Rock and the first time both series ran 100 laps features (the Gold Cup cars ran 75 laps the last two years).
Four drivers did double duty with Bergakker winning both ends. He led 79 laps in the CRA race and 55 in the Gold Cup. Others in the CRA was Harold Fair Jr, 10th; Justin Schroeder, 16th; and Hayden Sprague, 18th.
The two races were similar. Both divisions had 19 cars that started the feature. They both had one caution in the first quarter of the race. Cars on the lead lap were eight in both races. Even the race time was similar with the CRA taking 26:15.529 and the Gold Cup race taking 28:00.851 (the CRA was for a car that pulled a yellow with a flat tire, the Gold Cup was for a car smoking). Bergakker beat Steve Needles by 1.729 in the Gold Cup race and 2.025 ahead of Kyle Crump in the CRA race. (Times according to Race Monitor).
In the Gold Cup everyone finished except Dan Trosen Jr who blew a power steering hose. The CRA race had 14 finishers.
It was Bergakker’s third Gold Cup win and his first career CRA win. All of his wins have been at Flat Rock and he’s won three of the last four Gold Cup races there.
Bergakker made a clean sweep leading the most laps (also the most in the CRA race), fast time and the win.
The Sportsmanship award goes to Joe Hawes who let Dennis Strickland borrow his car tonight. Dennis was involved in a hard crash a few weeks ago and the car wasn’t quite back together. He finished ninth, the first car a lap down. Joe’s car is sponsored by ABC Plumbing and Dennis’ normal #0 is sponsored by PB Fabrication.
Congrats to Jeremy Vanderhoof who won the Figure 8 feature. Welcome back to Travis Earley who was in Joe Vanderhoof’s car.
Tidbits leftover from June 8 race.
Division Champion Justin Schroeder won his first feature of the season. “All the credit goes to Senneker Performance, Terry and Kevin … they helped a bunch on the car this week. The car hasn’t been right since we’ve wrecked here in 2017 and maybe we got it figured out tonight. We had a good battle with Stevie (Cronenwett). He said he’s been struggling lately, but think he was yanking my chain a little because he ran really good. Thought we’d finish one-two but … it was a good racing him, clean race, happy to win this one with all you fans out there.
Paul Pelletier finished second, “I think the battle of who was the tightest the most and who could get him on the restart. Congrats to the 4 car (Justin Schroeder).”
Stevie Cronenwett finished third. “Not bad for the year we’ve been having, so I’m pleased with the direction it’s going. We struggled the last race and it was a bummer … to fall flat on your face on a big race, doesn’t make you feel good going into the next next week. Gives us something to work on and come back stronger next week.”
Rookie Hayden Sprague finished fourth, the highest finishing rookie this year.
I accidently erased the Figure 8’s from the 8th. Congrats to Billy Earley who won the Figure 8 feature; Chris Benson who won the buses; Dave Lambert won the boat race and Dennis Whisman who won the flagpole race.
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If you missed any of this year’s action visit Mike Miller’s YouTube page at: https://www.youtube.com/user/10yearnascarfan