|EXPERIENCED DEDICATED RACE TEAM with NEW LEJEUNE PERFORMANCE CHASSIS RESULTS IN WINNING SEASON!||
With weather dictating the early season schedule the first event that Berry and team competed in was the INSCA event at the newly re-opened Spokane County Raceway, an ultra-fast half mile oval in Airway Heights , WA . The team tested at the facility earlier in the year and was confident heading into the event. After experiencing mechanical trouble to open the day, Berry set fast time in qualifying and went on to win their first event of 2009.
The second event was only seven days later at the quarter-mile Stateline Stadium and Speedway in Post Falls , Idaho . Berry again took the Country Place Bar and Grill #53 to head of the field by posting fast time once more and winning from the back of the pack due to a full field invert. “We had a phenomenal start to the season. It was really the culmination of several years working together as a team and with the addition of the Lejeune Chassis to our stable – we were very confident moving forward,” commented Berry .
On June 13th, the INSCA series once again visited Spokane County Raceway and this time Berry and team were racing for a cause. A family friend, Cory Mackay, who was driving home from the Washington State University campus experienced a serious auto accident and suffered spinal cord damage in May. The Mackay family formed the Mackay Spinal Injury Foundation to offset the on-going medical costs associated with Cory’s rehabilitation. As a part of the INSCA event at SCR, Berry and his fellow drivers in the series walked through the stands in order to raise money for this worthwhile cause. When it was all said and done, the drivers and fans at Spokane County Raceway raised over $1200 that was donated to the Mackay Spinal Injury Foundation. Berry and the B&B team came home second and left the event with a commanding point’s lead and the satisfaction that comes with helping others.
The team took a hiatus for the first part of July as Tony married his longtime girlfriend Leah on the Fourth of July. Going on at the same time, was race number four in the INSCA season and the B&B team would relinquish the series’ points lead.
The next scheduled event for the B&B team was the NSRA race at Spokane County Raceway. With a proven set up the team was again optimistic about the opportunity to compete among the regions’ best. However in qualifying the bottom end came apart in the motor while Berry qualified ninth for the event – ending their evening prematurely.
After putting in the limited motor, the B&B crew traveled to Ephrata Raceway Park for the another attempt to compete with the NSRA cars. After a promising start to the day, the #53 sprinter would start on the pole of the main event. Again, coming to take the green flag, the team experienced motor trouble, sticking a valve and limped home 18th.
“Those two NSRA events were among the ones that we had circled early season as races that we really wanted to compete and run well in. It was disappointing to experience motor problems in consecutive events, but proved to ourselves that we could run with the best in the region,” said Berry of the mid-summer motor troubles.
At this point in the season came the real decision making time for the team. Based on the early season successes and the recent motor set backs – the team decided that running second in points at that time with the INSCA was too big of an opportunity to pass up and would finish the year out with the series that they won the championship with in 2007.
The August 8th event was held at Stateline Speedway and after experiencing power steering pump and fuel pump issues early in the day, the B&B #53 picked up their third win on the season.
Berry commented, “The team worked so hard all season, but that August event at Stateline really demonstrated the strengths of the group we’ve assembled. We knew we had a fast car, but struggled through three fuel pumps and two power steering pumps in the early portion of the day. The crew never lost focus and got the car running great by the time the main event rolled around. It may not have been exciting for the fans because we started up front, but I can tell you it is awfully satisfying for a team to work that hard all day through troubles and bring home the victory!”
On Labor Day weekend the team traveled back to Ephrata Raceway Park to run the only non-wing event of the year on the schedule and the make up date for the Annual Cast Iron Nationals that were slated to be run in early May. After practicing for the non-wing portion, the rains once again came and pushed both events to be run on Sunday. Sunday began early and the #53 machine qualified 8th for the non-wing portion, but after winning the heat race was forced to start inside of row four based on the invert. After a caution plagued race in which Berry received heavy contact twice, they came home in the eighth position. The crew switched over the set up to the winged portion of the Cast Iron Nationals during a mid-day rain storm. The B&B team won the B-trophy dash and finished third in the heat, but missed the set up for the main event and ended a soggy weekend not as well as they had hoped.
The following weekend the B&B team traveled to their only event in the state of Montana for 2009 at the Mission Valley Speedway in Polson. After qualifying second fastest and winning the trophy dash – the #53 car jumped out to an early main event lead in the 35 lap feature. A lap 10 red flag for fluid on the track allowed the team to determine why the car began to get tight as the car had a punctured right rear tire that was losing air quickly. The team changed the tire and restarted the race from the rear of the field. The #53 maneuvered it’s way back to the fourth position at the conclusion of the race.
With one scheduled event remaining for the 2009 INSCA season, the B&B Motorsports team found itself in second place in points, within striking distance, however the Championship race was cancelled by the racetrack due to management concerns.
“It was awfully disappointing to have our season cut short in that manner – while we understand the intricacies of running a racetrack it was tough to swallow. We chose to approach it like it was a rainout and decided to focus on the big end of the year show, the Northwest Sprint Car Invitational,” stated Berry .
The First Annual Northwest Sprint Car Invitational was held October 10th at Columbia Motor Speedway in Hermiston , Oregon . The event was designed to bring together the cars of the regional cast iron motored groups of the Northwest to compete against each other in a non-points event. With abnormally cold temperatures the B&B Motorsports team qualified 8th, but went on to finish second in the B trophy dash and win the heat race. Berry lined up inside of row number two on the start of the main event, but after the pole sitter struggled to get going Berry got boxed in and slid back as far as sixth. Quickly dispatching with cars, the #53 moved back towards the front and got to second as the yellow flag flew for a spun car. After several attempts to get by the leader, the B&B machine came home after 50 laps, second in this First Annual event.
“It was a great way to wrap up the year. We obviously would have preferred heading into the long off-season with a win, but we can’t be disappointed with the run. We had a tremendously strong year, with three wins, a second in points and to finish second at the Northwest Sprint Car Invitational it was a banner year and we’re hoping to take our program to the next level for the 2010 season,” stated the excited driver of the #53 car.
A special thanks to the crew members that make up the B&B Motorsports team:
– Michael Bartle
Also a special thanks to the moms and dads, wives, fiancés, girlfriends and sisters for supporting us in our endeavors.
2009 Marketing Partners: