Date: October , 2006
2006 season provided a great deal of excitement and opportunity for Tony
Berry and the AJB racing team. The 22-year old Berry competed in three of
the most competitive divisions in North West motor sports; Late Models,
Sprint Cars and Midgets.
Driving the Idaho
Army National Guard #53, Berry and team brought home Rookie of the Year
honors in the Inland Northwest Super Stock Association (INSSA) while
competing in their first full year of late model racing.
“We set out this year with a handful of goals that we had hoped to
accomplish by the year’s end. We achieved several of them and ran very
competitively, but came up short in picking up the team’s first late model
victory for the Idaho Army National Guard and the rest of our great
sponsors,” commented Berry.
That win nearly came in the season finale on September 23. After starting
the race in the fourth position, Berry made a move three-wide for the lead
exiting turn four. The orange and yellow #53 ran mostly uncontested past the
mid-way point of the 100-lap event when the handling on the car went away.
“I am not exactly sure what happened. I was running pretty conservatively
trying to save the car for the end of the race when it suddenly got really
loose. It felt like I was running a dirt sprint car for the rest of the
race. We put ourselves in a position to succeed though and I think it
provided the team with some momentum heading into the off-season.”
In addition to campaigning the late model stock car full time, Berry drove a
partial schedule in the famed Voss Racing #45 midget for veteran car owner
Dick Voss with the Washington Midget
Racing Association (WMRA). The team’s best run came at the Wenatchee Valley
Super Oval in East Wenatchee, WA on August 5th. After qualifying 17th, the
Nissan-powered #45 began to move forward in the field. Dispatching with many
cars on the outside in the early laps, and running as high as 6th, Berry
brought the car home in the 8th position.
“I can’t thank Dick Voss enough for providing me the opportunity to drive
his beautiful car. We were running a division II motor in the ultra
competitive WMRA, which made for some uphill battles at times, but these
cars are so much fun to drive and the racing is so close, it’s hard not to
have a great time,” said Berry.
The final piece to the Tony Berry racing puzzle came from the newly formed
B&B Motorsports team that began to field a winged sprint car in the middle
of the season with the Inland Northwest Sprint Car Association (INSCA). AJB
racing crew member Mike Bartle and Tony Berry formed the team with a winning
car and competitive power plant with hopes of competing for bigger things in
2007. In the final event of the 2006 INSCA season Berry looked to be in
contention for the win after taking the lead on the fourth lap of the 35-lap
race, but a caution negated the four-wide pass for the lead. On the restart
the #53 car experienced some fuel delivery problems and Berry exited the
track running third on lap 27.
The 2006 season started with a bang for the team as Berry piloted the
Villelli Racing midget to the inaugural victory at the Oregon State
Fairgrounds dirt track in January. It was Berry’s first midget win and the
first for car owner, Tony Villelli.
“The trip to Salem in January was a lot of fun for all of the guys to get
prepared for the season and was an awesome way to pass the time in the
middle of the winter! We were hopeful that the win would be the first of
many during the 2006 season. We won heat races and trophy dashes, but never
quite put it all together for the whole event. It certainly provides some
motivation for myself and the team for 2007.”
During the off-season Berry will be participating in a new reality T.V. show
called Racin’ For A Livin’. The show will bring an American Idol flair to
the world of professional motorsports, awarding the winner of the series a
seven-race opportunity in a NASCAR Busch Series car during the 2007 season.
Berry was selected to be among the final 27 contestants that will take part
in the shooting of the show through an in-depth review process by a panel of
judges and an on-line voting campaign that was decided in August. For more
information on the show visit www.racinforalivin.com.
Tony Berry and the AJB racing team would like to thank each of the marketing
partners that made the 2006 season possible: the Idaho Army National Guard,
ACRAnet, Inc., Racecar Supply, C2P Shocks, Sign Service, Voss Racing, Lucas
Racing Photos, Joe’s Racing Products, racinforalivin.com, the Speed Sport
Report, Villelli Racing, Longacre Racing Products, Don’s Group Attire, RPM
Sales and Service and AJB Motorsports Marketing.
The 2006 AJB racing team consisted of: Dan and Linda Berry, Bruce Garber,
Mike Bartle, Kily Fleming, Chris Kleiner, Leah Dootson, Steven Scrivens, Ron
Lucas Jr. and Jacob Stam. Also, special thanks to: Jeff Jefferson, Ron Lucas
Sr., Dick Voss, Tony Villelli, Loren Bartle, Nick and Butch Behn, Randy
Murray, Rick Hager, K.C. Garber, Terry Armstrong Jr. and Chris Johnson.
For more information on Tony Berry and the AJB racing team visit