MARNE, Mich. — Get your engines ready – Money in the Bank race takes place Wednesday night at Berlin Raceway.
Professional racers come from as far south as Florida, as far west as Iowa, and as far north as Maine for this event. Why? Because Berlin has truly become one of the most attractive race tracks in the country for racing.
But it didn't start out that way.
"Years ago this was the place to be but as West Michigan has evolved it's kind of gone under the radar, but it's coming back slowly but surely, it's coming back," said mike Bursley, Berlin Raceway president. "You probably drive by it a number of times going right out to the lake shore. Years ago, it was you didn't drive past here without stopping."
Today, Berlin is the only NASCAR sanctioned home track in the state.
Meaning, professional racers from across the country come to race the seven-decade-old track.
"This place was actually a dirt track in 1950 and I believe it was transformed into an asphalt raceway in 1957," said Bursley. "We have NASCAR hall of famers that have been here from Dale Earnhardt, the Allison's, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, who's probably going to be a future hall of famer who's in NASCAR. Now we are one of the only NASCAR sanctioned home tracks in the state."
But Bursley says Berlin wouldn't be where it is today without the person that laid its foundation.
"We got to date it back to the early 1950s with Chet," said Bursley. "He was the founder of Berlin Raceway and he was a great promoter. Back in the day, he started a magnificent thing. There are tracks that have come and gone and it just shows the roots that are buried right here at Berlin in West Michigan. How well he established a solid foundation for us to build on."
A foundation of passion for all things racecars, speed, and most importantly, putting on a good show for their fans.
"It's not all about the cars. It's about the fans and the spectators and getting them experience and having a good time. And that's kind of what we focused a lot on these past few years, is making sure we're putting on a show for people in West Michigan," said Bursley.
Big names racing in Money on the Bank include; William Byron, Eric Jones, Ty Majeski, and Derek Griffith who will drive for Portage native and defending champ Carson Hocevar because he was hurt Saturday in the truck race.
The winner will take home a cash prize of $10,000.
Gates open at 1 p.m.
Adult tickets are $15 online and $20 at the ticket office.
Kids 15 & under are free.
Qualifying is set for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday with the race starting at 6:30 p.m. weather permitting.