Austin Berry Logs Heat Win and Overall Quality Day at Port Royal
Confidence and Momentum Continue to Build for ABR
Port Royal, PA – April 3, 2021
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
(featured photo credit: Apex Media)
One week ago, while loading up the Berry’s Siding & Seamless Gutter, Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop, Addicted2DirtPR.com, Nathan Berry Beef Farm, A&C Racing Engines, Ontime Body & Graphic, Swift Springs, Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic, VP Racing Fuels, Rocket Chassis XR1 No.86 at Port Royal Speedway after making a mistake that gave away a qualifying spot for the night’s main event, Austin Berry was already chomping at the bit to get back to the well known Pennsylvania oval known as The Speed Palace. Not only did he know they had found speed, he felt he had something to prove.
Saturday, April 3rd provided that next opportunity at Port Royal. ABR was one of 34 teams to sign in for action. Lineups for four 8-lap heats were set by pill draw. The top five finishers from each would transfer to the A-main, with the top 3 being handicapped based on accumulated season points to set the top 12 positions of the main event’s starting lineup.
Austin started on the pole of the third heat race on the slick, late afternoon surface. By the time he exited turn two on the opening lap, he had already pulled out to a 3 car length lead. Berry was smooth over the first seven laps, building a lead of over half a straightaway. A caution for a slowing car just after the white flag, slowed and bunched the field. When the race went back to green, he once again pulled away and won the qualifying event by several car lengths. Following the effort, Austin immediately turned his focus to the remaining racing for the evening. “The car isn’t quite where it needs to be but it was good. With three divisions racing here today and the sun setting soon, the track will continue to change. We will watch the track and make some adjustments before our feature.“, he shared.
The format, coupled with the heat win, worked to ABR’s favor. Their familiar blue and yellow No.86 would be on the pole for the night’s 25-lap feature event. In the opening laps, Austin lost a couple spots but continued to run in the top three. It was apparent pretty quickly to him that some of the changes the team had made may have missed the mark. The nose was dragging on the track surface on corner entry, which required Berry to adjust his driving style. The highly competitive field of late models at Port Royal is unforgiving though. If you give even the slightest opening, the other teams capitalize quickly. Austin continued to fight, adjusting his line and style, trying to make the most of what his Rocket XR1 would give but he found himself slowly sliding into the back half of the top 10 just before the halfway point. The battle became even more ‘uphill’ when the engine developed a slight miss with about 10 laps remaining. When the dust had finally settled, the reduction of power in the closing laps led to the loss of a few more positions and ultimately a 14th place finish. The feature event was run without a caution, so even running a few tenths of a second slower than the leader each lap can add up quickly at this level of competition. After crawling from the car, checking tire temperatures and discussing things with his crew, Berry had this to say: “We just missed the setup. We probably went a little too far trying to tighten up for the slick surface. Race and learn…that’s all you can do. We’ll check the engine issue out this week and get ready to go again next weekend.”
Performance has been steadily improving for ABR since the start of the season and people are taking notice, including other racers. Just before the start of the season, Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop came on board as a new partner. In recent weeks, faced with engine and suspension needs while waiting for repairs to their own equipment, two fellow racers stepped up and offered unsolicited help to ABR that enabled them to get back to the track and remain competitive. Those are indicators of the potential this team has. The challenge for teams like ABR who are trying to build a program is that they don’t have unlimited resources, so they need marketing partners to help build the necessary depth to continue improving the program. Working hard without the proper resources is just spending a lot of time, money, and energy. Working hard with the right resources means you can accomplish something. This seems to be a team on the brink of something good. If you’re able, it might be a good time to help them continue to build that depth.
The upcoming weekend schedule for ABR consists of two ULMS sanctioned shows. Both shows will award $3000 to the winner. Friday, April 9th, Austin will venture back to Williams Grove Speedway for the second time in his career, where he will try to improve on his 11th place finish from two weeks ago. Saturday will take Austin and the team to Selinsgrove Speedway for night two of the ULMS weekend. Berry is quite familiar with the Snyder County, PA oval, having garnered the Super Late Model Rookie of the Year honors there in 2016.
AUSTIN BERRY RACING
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Photos from Saturday, April 3 at Port Royal Speedway
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