Multi-tasking is great, but sometimes it’s best to concentrate on just one thing.  Just ask Bernie VanderPloeg who, after dividing his time between a dragster and a door car the last few seasons, focused his attention solely on his venerable 1967 Chevy II last weekend and came away with a Top ET victory that made him Gary Hunt’s first US 131 Racer of the Week for 2017.

The US 131 Top ET points champ in 2007 and winner of the divisional bracket finals in 2013, VanderPloeg’s average reaction time for seven rounds of racing in the season’s first Lane Automotive Series event was .017 of a second.  That consistency and the fact that he ran within .02 of his dial carried him to the trophy, the cash, Aeroquip’s Racer of the Week recognition and the early point lead.

Nevertheless, it’s not like the Plainwell resident totally abandoned the B&L dragster he campaigned previously with wife Lori.  He simply did what you do in a family sport: he turned the long car over to daughter Amanda Wesler who’ll now have an opportunity to apply the lessons learned from dad on dad.

Congratulations, Bernie, from Gary Hunt and everyone else at US 131 Motorsports Park.


Gary Hunt is in his tenth season as the track announcer at US 131 Motorsports Park, a track on which he used to race in the brackets and Stock Eliminator.  His experience as a race car driver (he won seven points championships) has served him well behind the mike and while he often misses the thrill of competition, his “desk job” is not without its benefits.  “It’s given me the best seat in the house, which is always climate controlled,” he said.  “I never break any parts, don’t have to wait in line and I leave with a little bit of money every week.”