Hoping to Finish Port Season on a Positive Note Next Weekend
Mifflin, PA – Sep 5, 2021
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
The Butch Renninger Memorial at Port Royal Speedway has grown into one of the speedway’s premier super late model events over its 18 year existence. The event honors Renninger, who was a devoted member of the speedway and who’s number 33 competed there for many years. Renninger compiled 41 career victories and three track titles during his years of competition at the Juniata County oval.
The 2021 edition of the race, which offered a tidy sum of $6,333 to the winner and a respectable purse throughout the field, drew a high quality field of 45 teams for competition Saturday night. The ULMS-sanctioned event used the series’ two group qualifying format to set heat lineups. Austin Berry was the 12th of 23 cars to hit the track in Group B and he registered a solid 20.805, placing him 9th quickest in the group.
Four 8-lap heat races were next on the agenda, with the top four finishers from each transferring directly to the 33-lap feature event. Berry lined up 5th in heat number three. The inside starting spot wasn’t the place to be on the dry, hard surface. Austin slipped back a spot on the opening lap but regained his rhythm and recaptured 5th on lap two. He was then able to move to the top of the speedway and build momentum. He began to run down Jason Covert who held the 4th and final transfer spot but ran out of time in the non-stop event.
Missing the transfer via the heat put Berry on the pole of the second B-main and in solid position to transfer into the main event. At the drop of the green Austin quickly jumped out front and up to the cushion. By the time the field reached turn three, Berry held a four car length advantage and appeared poised to drive away with the victory and a spot in the finale.
Seconds later disaster struck. As Berry began to accelerate at the apex of turns three and four, the rear end of the Tire Mart, Berry’s Siding & Seamless Gutter, Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop, Addicted2DirtPR.com, Nathan Berry Beef Farm, A&C Racing Engines, JDS Racing, Ontime Body & Graphic, Swift Springs, Penske Racing Shocks, Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic, VP Racing Fuels, Rocket Chassis XR1 came apart. Berry drifted high in turn four and onto the home stretch, with a trail of gear oil clearly visible behind him, signaling to his fellow competitors he was off the pace.
It was an unfortunate end to a night that appeared it was getting better as it went. Later, several teams that started in the back half of the field were able to drive forward in the feature and Berry felt his team was set to do the same if not for the mechanical failure.
“We weren’t great at the start of the night but we were good and we were getting better all night. We kept working on it and I think we could’ve really moved forward tonight“, Berry commented. “We don’t have a spare rear end at the shop, so it’s going to be a challenge to get this thing back to the track, especially with short week due to the holiday Monday and racing again Friday. We’ll do our best though. It’s been a good year and I’d like to wrap up our season here on a positive note“.
Austin and the team are aiming to return to Port Royal Speedway for the Night Before the 50 program on Friday, September 10th. That is, assuming they are able to remedy the rear end issue and assuming Austin’s wife Chasity, who is expecting the couple’s second child very soon, isn’t race to the delivery room this week! Stay tuned to the team’s social media for updates on both!
Special thanks to TIRE MART for their support!
You can also learn more about Tire Mart and their partnership with ABR here:
The images below tell the story of the rear end failure that ended ABR’s night.
AUSTIN BERRY RACING
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