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Short track racers getting excited for 75-lap SLM race at Berlin Raceway Saturday

Saturday night at Berlin Raceway is all about winning for Travis Braden who is currently ranked second in the ARCA Racing Series point standings.

Braden, driving a one-off entry for Team Platinum, is set to race in the 75-lap Super Late Model race at the Michigan short track.

There’s a whole lot riding on this weekend’s race. Along with a $4,000 check for the winner, first-place also punches their ticket into the prestigious Money in the Bank 150.

“It’s not ‘bring home the steering wheel or the checkered flag, but there’s no interest in going there besides trying to win,” said Braden.

The berth into the Money in the Bank 150 also excites local racer Scott Thomas, who’s been a Berlin regular for 25 years. He took his first Berlin Super Late Model victory last week.

“There’s a little spiff in the Money in the Bank spot along with the prize money,” Thomas said. “I’m expecting some drivers to come up here.”

Braden expects the 75-lapper to be both quick-paced and intense.

“75 laps certainly isn’t very long. You have to take care of your tires either way,” Braden said. “A lot of it depends on if there are cautions or not.”

What would Braden do with another $20,000? He’d do what any racer would: find somewhere else to race.

“We don’t do this for money,” Braden said. “No one really does, for that matter. But it would allow for us to run a couple of extra races. There are the Kalamazoo and Berlin weekday shows, and maybe even the Snowball Derby.”

Braden and his Team Platinum crew are throwing everything they’ve got at Saturday night. They’ve even got a new car ready.

“Everything’s pretty much new from top to bottom,” Braden said. “Hopefully we can pull it off.”

Perhaps the increased attention on the Money in the Bank 150 is a sign of the health of the track’s Super Late Model division.

Thomas has seen it happen firsthand.

“We’re finally seeing the competition level getting tougher,” he said. “Car counts are getting higher… You’ve gotta bring your A-game here. You can’t back your way into a win here.”

Braden would be one to agree.

“Those weekly shows pay a lot,” Braden said. “Berlin is one of the few tracks out in the Midwest that is thriving.”

Both drivers hope to be the ones standing in victory lane come Saturday night.

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Paul Lambert is an aspiring collegiate journalist. A writer and broadcaster, Paul's excited to cover New England short track racing in 2019. Paul has also been published in Speedway Illustrated and on Autoweek.com.

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