Berry Back on Track with Top 5 at Port Royal
ABR Up to 4th in Season Championship Point Standings
Port Royal, PA – April 4, 2022
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Feature Photo Credit: WRT SpeedWerx / Brian Rhoad
Austin Berry Racing came out of the gate strong in 2022, showing they had been doing their homework, learning from their opportunities in recent years, and applying it all to race consistently at a higher level.
A couple weeks ago they returned to their race shop after a two-race weekend, frustrated and scratching their heads a bit after 11th and 16th place finishes at Williams Grove and Port Royal respectively. It wasn’t just the finishes really, it was the way the car handled and failed to respond positively to their changes.
It was time to hit the reset button. To ‘go back to work’, as Berry put it. Inclement weather provided an off weekend and an opportunity to do so. The team went over the car with a fine tooth comb, replaced a couple damaged parts, and went back to the setup they started with a month earlier.
The team returned to Port Royal Speedway this past weekend with The Tire Mart / JDS Racing / Berry’s Siding & Seamless Gutter / Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop / Nathan Berry Beef Farm / A&C Racing Engines / Swift Springs / Kevin Nouse Designs – K1 Race Gear / DMI / Addicted2DirtPR.com / Penske Racing Shocks / Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic / DirtCarLifts / VP Racing Fuels / Rocket Chassis XR1 No.86 to find out what dividends their efforts would pay. The results were certainly positive.
April 2: Port Royal Speedway / Port Royal, PA
(23 cars, Qualifying 1st, Heat 2nd, A-main 5th)
The first Saturday in April found 23 super late model teams signed in to compete on a sunny but seasonably chilly day in Central Pennsylvania. A random pill draw was used to separate the field into three groups for combined hot lap / time trial sessions.
Austin Berry wasted no time showing they were ready to race at the front of the field again. He posted the quickest lap in group three with a 19.382, which was also the fastest lap in the entire field.
“I’m very happy to see that the work we did following our subpar performance a couple weeks ago paid off. That’s rewarding “, Berry said following the solid start to his day.
The top four in each group were inverted to set the heat race lineups, so Berry rolled off 4th in heat number three. Finishing in the top two was the primary goal because those drivers from each heat would participate in the redraw for one of the top six starting spots in the feature event. Once again Berry was strong from the drop of the green, surging into 2nd on the opening circuit of his 8-lap heat race.
On lap three, Matt Cosner slipped by Berry to claim second, but the battle for a redraw spot wasn’t over. Berry remained poised and worked his way past Cosner and back into second on lap five. He then set his sights on leader Dylan Yoder. Berry closed the gap slightly but there wasn’t enough time remaining to mount a challenge for the win.
The redraw could have been friendlier to Berry, but you have to play the hand you are dealt. He pulled number 6, putting him outside the third row for the 25-lap, $3,000 to win feature event. By lap two, Austin had claimed the 5th position and turned his focus toward Gary Stuhler, just ahead in 4th.
While Berry was on the move into the top five, Colton Flinner had claimed the lead, with Trever Feathers, Dylan Yoder and Gary Stuhler in pursuit. An early yellow slowed the event but following that, the event went caution-free the rest of the way. The top five remained largely in tact, with only a couple position changes occurring late in the race. Berry was on the heels of Feathers in the closing laps but wasn’t able to get close enough strike, and rode home with a solid top five.
“That was one of the best cars I’ve ever had in the slick. The car didn’t take off very well, but it continued to build speed throughout the feature. If we could’ve taken off the way we ended, we would’ve been much better. We’ve still got work to do. We’re still a long way off from that 48 “, Berry said, referring to Colton Flinner who has been the class of the field thus far in 2022 at Port Royal Speedway.
Berry is off to a solid start nonetheless. His top-5 and earlier top-10 have him currently sitting in 4th in Port Royal’s season championship point standings, only five points out of 3rd place.
Current plans for Austin Berry and the team are to return to Port Royal Speedway to compete against the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series on Sunday, April 10th.
AUSTIN BERRY RACING
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