Austin Berry Posts Strong Podium Run in Butch Renninger Memorial
Port Royal Finale This Friday; Hustle at the Hollow Added to the Schedule
Port Royal, PA – September 5, 2022
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Feature Photo Credit: Brian Rhoad / WRT Speedwerx
Austin Berry rolled into Port Royal Speedway Saturday afternoon hoping his team’s bout with bad luck was behind them. After all, the law of averages would have to balance things out soon, right?
Berry’s electrical issue and blown tire at extremely inopportune times the prior week during the Lucas Oil Late Model show had turned an evening full of potential into a night of frustration.
The team has put in the hard work all season and had some good results to prove it, but they were due for some good fortune on a night when the spotlight was a little brighter, like it would be for the Butch Renninger Memorial. They didn’t need any big breaks; they just needed the bad luck to stay away.
September 3: Butch Renninger Memorial / Port Royal Speedway / Port Royal, PA
[37 cars, Qualifying 3rd in Group B, Heat 2nd (2), A-main 3rd (2)]
A stout field of 37 super late models signed in to take their shot at the $7,333 top prize, as well as they numerous contingency prizes offered throughout the night, which included quick time, top three heat race finishers, hard charger, hard luck award, and several others.
The format for the ULMS-sanctioned annual event called for time trials, heat races and a B-main to set the field. Berry was the third car in Group B to hit the track for qualifying. When the last of the eighteen cars in his group had made their laps, Berry’s 20.265 stood as 4th quickest.
Berry’s lap earned the outside front row starting spot in the fourth heat for his Tire Mart of Harrisburg / JDS Racing / Berry’s Siding & Seamless Gutter / Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop / Nathan Berry Beef Farm / A&C Racing Engines / Swift Springs / Addicted2DirtPR.com / Penske Racing Shocks / Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic / VP Racing Fuels / Rocket Chassis XR1 No.86.
The top four finishers from each of four 8-lap heat races would transfer to the A-main, with the top two participating in a redraw to set the top eight starting spots. The top three finishers from each of two B-mains, plus two provisional starters would round out the 24-car starting field for the night’s finale.
Despite his front row starting spot, Berry knew securing a spot in the redraw couldn’t be taken for granted. He was lined up next to Gary Stuhler and Mason Zeigler was sitting in the next row. Berry wasn’t able to beat Stuhler off of turn two on the opening lap, so he settled into second. From there, it was a balance of trying to track down Stuhler but not gamble too much and allow Zeigler to take away the redraw spot. Berry was able to hold on to the 2nd spot to the checkers.
Berry had a little good fortune shine on him during the feature redraw. He pulled the number two, putting him once again on the front row. This time he would be next to Greg Satterlee, who has been one of the hottest late model drivers in the country this year. Row two included Alex Ferree and Michael Norris, while Rick Eckert and Hayes Mattern made up row three.
The main event was slated for 33-laps in honor of the late Butch Renninger’s car number. When the green flag dropped, Berry was in Satterlee’s tire tracks. On the second trip around, Ferree slipped by Berry to grab the 2nd spot.
On the restart following a lap eleven caution, Berry charged back around Ferree and glued himself to Satterlee’s rear bumper. Over the next few laps, Berry challenged the Indiana, PA driver, trying to build enough momentum to clear the No.22 and claim the top spot.
Berry’s Rocket XR1 was very good but not quite good enough to complete a pass for the lead, so he settled into the runner up spot for several laps. Meanwhile, after initially dropping back to 5th, Michael Norris had been working his way back toward the front. He had also gotten around Ferree on the restart and was chasing Berry.
While Berry was searching for a way to run down Satterlee, Norris closed and challenged the Mifflin, PA driver, eventually capturing the runner-up spot on lap 17, dropping Berry to 3rd. The top five of Satterlee, Norris, Berry, Eckert and Ferree were all separated by a couple seconds over the final ten laps and crossed the finish line in that order.
“First off, we want to thank the Renninger family for putting this race on. They’ve been doing it 19 years and it’s a great event. We know Heidi, Holly and the whole family put a lot of work into it and it’s good to have an event like this in our area.“, Berry said.
“I wanted it (the track) to be black, but we took off a lot better than I thought we might. That restart was what we needed. During the caution I got a chance to look at the racetrack and think about what I was doing. I was able to get back to second on that restart, but Greg (Satterlee) was getting away from me a little bit. I started searching and that left Michael (Norris) get around me, so I probably should’ve stuck to what I was doing. These are two very good cars sitting here in front of us (on the podium), so for this little motor and our little team, I’ll take it tonight.“
It was a consistent night from beginning to end for Austin Berry Racing, with no surprises for a change. Berry’s performance continues to trend upward and gain consistency month by month, season by season and people are beginning to take notice.
“I want to thank everyone who helps us, starting with The Tire Mart of Harrisburg. Greg and everyone down there are great people. If you want to support someone who supports local racing, go see them for all your automotive needs.”, Berry added.
“We finally got Davey from Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop to the races tonight, and I want to thank him for his support. Big thanks to Jim Stevens and JDS Racing. He’s been a huge help to our program. And of course my mom, my dad, everyone who helps out on the car at the shop and at the track. We’ve had a lot of help this year and it makes such a big difference when I don’t even have to ask and I know things are taken care of.“
Austin Berry Racing will be in action one final time at Port Royal Speedway this Friday night as part of the ‘Night Before the 50’ program. It will be the final points race of the season for the super late models. Despite missing four races earlier this season as a result of engine issues, Berry sits 7th in the season championship point standings, just 20 points behind 6th place Dylan Yoder.
The season won’t end Friday for Berry. He has added one more event to his 2022 schedule. The team will travel to Dog Hollow Speedway to compete with the ULMS on Friday and Saturday, September 16th and 17th in the inaugural Hustle at the Hollow, where Saturday’s super late model finale will pay $10,000 to the winner.
15 races, 0 wins, 4 top 5’s, 7 top 10’s, 10 top 15’s, 13 top 20’s
AUSTIN BERRY RACING
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