NASCAR Cup Series
Why Petty GMS Wants to Build Around Noah Gragson
Aug 10, 2022
What a week for Evan Shotko.
For the second time in five days, the native of Coopersville Michigan captured the biggest victory of his career. First came the Motor Mountain Masters at Jennerstown Speedway on Saturday and then the Battle at Berlin 250 on Wednesday.
Combined, the 19-year-old collected $40,000 in winnings.
What makes the victory even more impressive on Wednesday night is that it came against some of the biggest names in Stock Car racing in a field that featured the likes of William Byron, Erik Jones, Bubba Pollard, Ty Majeski and William Sawalich.
In the end, it came down to a pair of Berlin Raceway regulars in Shotko versus Brian Campbell.
The winning pass came with 45 laps to go when Shotko broke loose under Campbell, nearly wiping both of their cars out. Shotko felt like he was being pinched and Campbell felt like it was a bold decision, but Shotko drove away to collect the $30,000 prize.
"I can't even put this into words," Shotko said on the FloRacing broadcast. "I grew up watching this race and have wanted to be in this position for most of my life. The whole team has worked so hard for this, we're on a roll here and hope we can just keep winning them."
This is just the second race this refurnished car has entered, and the VanDoorn produced No. 22 has won both times after setting the fastest lap in time trials.
"Against a field like this, it's pretty unbelievable," Shotko said. "This is a fantastic race car and I don't know why, can't tell you, it's nothing special but it's fast."
Campbell would have liked to have gotten back to Shotko to give the bumper right back but that wasn’t even an option.
"Even with the contact, I couldn’t get back to him, so if I could get back to him, it would have been a different story, but I couldn’t," Campbell said.
Shotko conceded the lead to Money in the Bank 150 winner Byron on Lap 12 but ran top three for a majority of the race. It got to be ‘go time’ around 100 laps to go and that’s when the charge to the front began.
While the race was dominated by the locals, former track champion Joe Bush even leading laps, another native Michigander in Jones finished third to wrap up the podium. The Cup Series winner was proud to have made gains in the Wimmer Motorsports No. 4 after being a non-factor back in June.
"Best of the rest," Jones said. "I'm really happy with the improvements we made from the 150. We weren't really in contention for that race. The 22 and 47 were the class of the field tonight. I wish I could have just seen them at the end. They were pretty checked out. They're fast and they race here a lot. They do a good job and we just got to get a little bit better."
Carson Hocevar was a contender early and led laps 49-104 before losing the top spot to Campbell. He was later penalized for intentionally drawing a caution for tossing a water bottle out of his car and then intentionally coming to a stop.
Majeski was not a factor for the lead and fell out of the race with 52 laps to go after smoke trailed from his No. 91. Bubba Pollard charged into the top-10 after starting 18th but also failed to make it to the finish with some kind of mechanical gremlin.
A miserable summer continued for Derrick Griffith, who didn't have his usual speed, was involved in an incident and cut a tire leading to a crash in the wall near the end of the race.
Battle at Berlin
August 10 2022