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Violent wreck sends two drivers to hospital Saturday at Berlin Raceway

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Berlin Raceway
A Life Ambulance arrives on the scene after David Fretz and Boris Jurkovich crash during the 35-lap Super Late Model feature race on May 22, 2021 in Marne, Mi. (Photo courtesy of Eli Kaminski)

Violent wreck sends two drivers to hospital Saturday at Berlin Raceway

By Steve Kaminski | Skaminsk@mlive.com | MLive

Photo Credit: Eli Kaminski

MARNE – Super Late Model drivers Boris Jurkovic and David Fretz were hospitalized Saturday night after a horrific accident at the Berlin Raceway.

Fretz slammed into Boris Jurkovich in turn two of the evening’s first Super Late Model feature race. Both drivers had to be cut from their cars, placed on stretchers and transported via ambulance to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Track officials reported that Jurkovich, who is from the Chicago area, suffered injuries to both of his legs. He was conscious while being removed from his car and his injuries are not considered life threatening.

Fretz, of Grand Rapids, was unconscious when Berlin’s safety crew officials arrived on the scene. Tim Greene, a cousin and longtime teammate of Fretz, told MLive after the races that Fretz was in ICU and his condition was believed to be serious but not life threatening.

Greene’s uncle, Steve Greene, called Greene from the hospital with an update.

“He definitely came to, and that’s good news,” Greene said. “They put him back out for tests but this is really good news. It is a weight off of our shoulders.

“Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He is a hard racer and competitor like the rest of us. Granted, he’s not the fastest driver out there, but it’s his heart and he loves it. He wants to keep doing it. We will see if he does.

“We started in the mid-80s, so we have been out here five decades. We have been working out of the same garage as long as I’ve known him. It’s a whole family deal. It’s family racing.”

Eyewitnesses to the accident reported that Jurkovic had spun after drawing contact from a competitor, and Fretz, who was a lap down, crashed into Jurkovic on the driver’s side of the race car.

Berlin’s safety crew quickly sprung into action.

“I couldn’t have been more proud of our safety crew,” Berlin track president Jeff Striegle said. “They were immediately on the scene, evaluated the situation and took immediate action. When I arrived at the scene, both drivers were being attended to by multiple people representing our safety crew at the track.

“Our safety crew is prepared for situations like this. While you never want to see these situations happen at your race track, you are thankful that they are there and they know how to address the situation. They took appropriate response to stabilize both drivers and asked for assistance when assistance was needed. They were right there, they knew what to do, how to do it and did it in the quickest and most timely fashion.”

Races did resume after a nearly one hour, 45-minute red flag period. Five-time USAC Silver Crown champion Kody Swanson won the feature, while Tom Thomas of Grandville captured the second Super Late Model main.

“It absolutely is tough to come back after there is a wreck like that,” Thomas said. “You try to put a mental block on it and try to focus back on the task at hand. It takes a couple of laps to get back going again. Once you do, you are back in the zone and thinking about what the car is doing and what you should be doing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those guys that they are going to be OK. Down in the pits, we hear a lot of mixed reports, so we are not definitely sure what’s going on. But we will stay tuned, and we hope and pray for the best for those guys.”

Check out full results:

SUPER LATE MODELS 1 (35 LAPS)

  1. Kody Swanson
  2. Nate Walton
  3. Blake Rowe
  4. Samantha Stuart
  5. Lauren Bush
  6. Tom Thomas
  7. Lee VanDyk
  8. Will Olmsted
  9. Joe Bush
  10. Evan Shotko
  11. Brian Tillema
  12. Kevin Cremonesi
  13. Eric White
  14. Boris Jurkovic
  15. Ken Wobma
  16. David Fretz
  17. Dave Killian
  18. Austin Hull
  19. Tim DeVos
  20. Trevor McCoy
  21. Brian Campbell

SUPER LATE MODELS 2 (35 LAPS)

  1. Tom Thomas
  2. Blake Rowe
  3. Lee VanDyk
  4. Lauren Bush
  5. Nate Walton
  6. Brian Campbell
  7. Joe Bush
  8. Brian Tillema
  9. Kody Swanson
  10. Evan Shotko
  11. Samantha Stuart
  12. Kevin Cremonesi
  13. Will Olmsted
  14. Tim DeVos
  15. Dave Killian
  16. Ken Wobma
  17. Eric White
  18. Trevor McCoy

LIMITED LATE MODELS 1

  1. Nick deLongpre
  2. Josh Frye
  3. Tim Devos
  4. Tony Davis
  5. Tim Sweeney
  6. Billy Eppink
  7. Scott Root
  8. Kyle Anderson
  9. Tim Greene
  10. Allen Davis
  11. Denny Anderson
  12. Larry Root
  13. Adam Casari
  14. Bob Bliss
  15. Tony Caputo
  16. Dave Hart
  17. Gerry Shepard
  18. Arik Holtzlander
  19. Joseph Jones

LIMITED LATE MODELS 2 (35 LAPS)

  1. Tim Devos
  2. Josh Frye
  3. Scott Root
  4. Nick deLongpre
  5. Joseph Jones
  6. Billy Eppink
  7. Denny Anderson
  8. Allen Davis
  9. Tony Caputo
  10. Adam Casari
  11. Tony Davis
  12. Kyle Anderson
  13. Bob Bliss
  14. Tim Greene
  15. Tim Sweeney
  16. Larry Root
  17. Dave Hart

SPORTSMAN 1

  1. Kevin Ford
  2. Jack Russell
  3. Brian Thome
  4. Kyle Kramlich
  5. Cole Roelofs
  6. Tyler Sterken
  7. Ryan Holtzlander
  8. Kirk Meissner
  9. Kyle Toppen
  10. Scott Baker
  11. Justin Thomas
  12. Dan VanderMolen

SPORTSMAN 2

  1. Ryan Holtzlander
  2. Cole Roelofs
  3. Brian Thome
  4. Kyle Kramlich
  5. Tyler Sterken
  6. Jack Russell
  7. Scott Baker
  8. Kevin Ford
  9. Justin Thomas
  10. Kyle Toppen
  11. Kirk Meissner
  12. Dan VanderMolen

Photo Credit: Eli Kaminski

By Steve Kaminski | Skaminsk@mlive.com | MLive

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