Speedweek Continues at Path Valley Tuesday, Bedford Thursday and Friday
Port Royal, PA – June 12, 2023
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Mgmt
Photo Credit: Jason Walls / WRT Speedwerx
When the return of Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek in 2023 was announced, Austin Berry Racing saw it as a goal for their program for a few reasons. First, it was an opportunity to showcase what they have been building and hopefully show fans, and maybe even themselves, they had taken the next step toward their ultimate goal.
“In my late model career, I’ve never been able to attempt running a series of races like this. This is the first time I have been in a position to have enough resources to think about doing it. For a working man, it’s like being a professional racer for ten days.”, Berry commented. “That’s fun of course for a kid who always wanted to be a race car driver, but there’s a practical aspect to it too. The variety of tracks makes me better as a driver and us better as a team. The schedule makes us better as a team too by challenging us to be prepared for anything and to be able to handle short turnaround times. There is a lot to be learned from running Speedweek.”
Second, the team feels they need to race to give their marketing partners the exposure they expect for their support.
Lastly, while their performance over the past season and a half has mostly been good, the team still works with limited depth. The hope is that consistent, top performances on a stage like Speedweek will attract partners that can help build the depth they are aiming for to compete on a regional level.
- Date: June 9, 2023
- Event: Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek – Night 1
- Track: Clinton County Speedway
- City, State: Mill Hall, PA
- Quick Stats: 40 cars, Qualifying 3rd in Group B, Dash 2: 1st (3), A-main 3rd (2)
- Date: June 10, 2023
- Event: Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek – Night 2
- Track: Port Royal Speedway
- City, State: Port Royal, PA
- Quick Stats: 50 cars, Qualifying 12th in Group B, Heat 3rd (5), A-main 13th (16)
- Date: June 11, 2023
- Event: Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek – Night 3
- Track: Hagerstown Speedway
- City, State: Hagerstown, MD
- Quick Stats: 40 cars, Qualifying 7th in Group B, Heat 8th (2)
Hot Start at Clinton County
Opening night of Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek attracted 40 of the best super late models in Pennsylvania to compete for the $4,000 top prize at Clinton County Speedway in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania.
The field was split into two groups for qualifying, with Berry going out 39th overall. His late-session laps drew some attention when he ripped off the 3rd quickest lap in Group B, which was good enough to lock the The Tire Mart Tire Pros of Harrisburg, Juniata Veterinary Clinic, Berry’s Siding & Seamless Gutter, SRI Performance, VP Racing Fuels, JDS Racing, Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop, Nathan Berry Beef Farm, Addicted2DirtPR.com, GO Lithium, Valvoline Pro-V Racing, Super Clean, Rocket Chassis No.86 into the dash and the night’s 35-lap feature.
The dashes for Speedweek are a unique format. The top three from each qualifying group earlier in the night compete against each other for two more laps under the clock. The fastest of the Group A cars earns the pole, with the next two starting 3rd and 5th respectively in the feature. The Group B cars make up the outside of the first three rows. Austin Berry earned the outside front row spot with a lap of 14.03, which just nipped Dylan Yoder who logged a 14.06.
Berry had a rocky start at the drop of the green and found himself running 4th after two laps, but the Mifflin (PA) native battled back, working his way past Rick Eckert to claim 3rd on lap eight.
As the leaders sliced through lapped traffic, Berry tracked them down and wrestled the runner-up spot away from Drake Troutman on lap fourteen. He controlled the 2nd spot for the next nineteen laps and closed on leader Jason Covert briefly during one stretch. He never got close enough to strike and Covert stretched his lead again.
A caution appeared with two laps remaining, bunching the field for a single-file restart. Gregg Satterlee had raced from 9th to 3rd and pressured Berry on the restart, slipping by coming to the white flag. Berry held on to the 3rd place finish at the line.
“Well, I have to admit, I didn’t expect that.”, a smiling Berry said. “We’ve only been here once before and didn’t get to race that night, so this was really our first time making laps here. We took a shot at the setup for qualifying and that went pretty well, then since we didn’t have to run a heat, we had to guess a little what the car needed for the feature.“
“If it had stayed green and I could have cleared a couple lapped cars, we might have had a shot at Jason (Covert) but that yellow hurt us a little. With our tire choice, I was afraid it wouldn’t take off on the restart and Gregg did get us coming to the white but it was a good night and we will certainly take it. We’re glad Speedweek is back and we are looking forward to the rest of the week.“
At the conclusion of opening night, Berry sat second in points, trailing leader Jason Covert by 33 points.
Late Slip at the Palace
Night two of Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek at Port Royal Speedway drew a large, stout field of 50 super late model teams to chase the $5,000 top prize.
Berry once again had to work with a late draw, going out 21st of 25 cars in Group B qualifying, which was 46th overall. He managed to register a solid lap that put him 12th in the group. To show just how close the competition is, had Berry been able to lap the half-mile just 0.055 seconds quicker, he would have been 9th in the group.
From the 5th starting spot in his heat race, Berry worked his way to 3rd at the halfway point and finished there to lock himself into the main event.
Berry knew if he and the team made the right adjustments his Rocket XR1 was still capable of racing into the top ten from his 16th starting spot. It appeared they had done just that as he raced his way all the way to 8th in the first dozen laps of the 35-lap feature.
Following a mid-race caution, Berry fell a couple spots. As the night came to a close, he dropped a couple more positions and crossed the line with a 13th place finish.
“I got over-anxious and got the tires too hot. The car was running so good early, I pushed it too hard and that hurt us at the end. Tonight is on me. I ran too hard early and mismanaged my tires.”, Berry admitted.
At the conclusion of night two, Berry sat fourth in points, trailing leader Tyler Emory by 64 points.
South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Night three of Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek brought Austin Berry and 39 other teams just across the Mason-Dixon Line to Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland. His night started off on solid footing with a 7th place qualifying run in Group B.
Going from the front row in his heat race, Berry appeared to be on track for another good starting spot in the night’s finale, but things didn’t go as planned.
Berry assumed the 2nd spot at the green flag and held that for the first two circuits. On lap three in turn three there was contact when Matt Sponaugle tried to dive under Berry’s No.86. The contact caused Berry to spin and dropped him to the rear of the field for the restart with six laps remaining.
Not ready to give up, Berry raced his way back toward a transfer spot, or at least a good starting spot in the B-main. He was in the midst of a tight battle for the 5th position at the white flag but never made it back to the checkered flag.
Once again turn three bit Berry. Twice in six laps.
“I was planning to go low into turn three and take a shot at 5th but the 44s took the low line away. I tried to avoid contact and hit the inside guardrail, which spun me up across the track where I got clipped by another car a few seconds later. That did us in for the night.“, Berry explained.
“Overall, we are getting better at time-trialing. We’ve been decent and in position to transfer through our heat worst case, so I feel pretty good about our week so far. We didn’t get the finishes we should have the last two nights obviously, so I need to learn from that and make better decisions so we can improve on the end of our night.“, Berry said Monday afternoon from the team’s shop where they were thrashing to make repairs.
“Thankfully it looks like we can get this car back to the track, so we will be at Path Valley Tuesday night. Our short track program is pretty good, so hopefully the car will be ok and we can have a good night there.” Berry shared.
With the disappointing night in Maryland, Berry fell from 4th to 13th in the tightly contested Speedweek point standings.
“We took a points hit last night though, so we’re going to take it one night at a time from here on this week. If Path (Valley) doesn’t go well, we will reevaluate and pick our spots the rest of the week. If it goes well, we will keep racing and try to work our way back up the point standings.“
Be sure to visit YouTube.com/AustinBerry86 to watch the team’s latest video recap! Speedweek videos will be posted soon! Like, comment and share the video, plus subscribe to Austin Berry Racing’s YouTube Channel to see all the great content they share!
Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek continues Tuesday, June 13th at Path Valley Speedway, followed by an off day Wednesday before a two-day show at Bedford Speedway on Thursday and Friday, June 15th & 16th.
10 races, 0 wins, 3 top 5’s, 4 top 10’s, 6 top 15’s
Last week’s trivia answer is, Austin Berry finished 6th in the championship point standings at Port Royal Speedway in 2019!
Now, on to this week’s question. In what discipline did Austin earn his college degree from Penn State University?
The answer in the next press release!
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As always, thank you to all our sponsors and partners, including our silent partners who do everything they can to help but ask for nothing in return! These are the businesses…the people…the families…that make what these we do possible.
PLEASE take the time to browse this information and help our race team by giving your business to these great partners.
Most importantly, tell them WHY you patronized them and thank them for being involved in racing!
The Tire Mart Tire Pros of Harrisburg
Juniata Veterinary Clinic
Berry’s Siding & Seamless Gutter
VP Racing Fuels
Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop
Nathan Berry Beef Farm
Valvoline Pro-V Racing
Peterson Fluid Systems
Barnes Systems, Inc.
Kevin Nouse Designs
BDR Racing Products
DMI – Diversified Machine, Inc.
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