SPOKANE, Wash. -- Driver Tony Berry and the Villelli Racing midget team made
the eight-hour haul to the first ever indoor midget event at the Oregon
State Fairgrounds in Salem, OR this past weekend resulting in their first
win of 2006.
The weekend would get off to a tumultuous start as the team unloaded their
#53 Speed Sport Report, Budweiser, Idaho National Guard, River City River
Runners, Ellis midget from the trailer. The track was much tighter than
expected and as a result the gearing was off. Often a simple remedy with
quick change gears, but there was some difficulty stuffing the proper gears
into the rear end. As a result, the team was forced to compromise with a
different gear set. "I need to thank my crew guys for working so hard all
weekend. We had the rear end in and out of the car four times. I need to
also thank Steve and Spence Gatrell who run with the WMRA. We left the track
Friday night after practice to go to their shop and pull the rear end out of
their completed racecar to see if we could get a little closer with that
one. As it turned out, we didn't end up using that one, but there aren't too
many race teams that would go to that effort for someone that they didn't
even know very well."
Once Saturday's events got under way, Berry quickly adapted to the flat,
tight 1/6th of a mile dirt oval. Berry finished second in both qualifying
heat races after starting fourth on the one-grooved track. When main event
time rolled around, Berry started outside of the second row. After contact
on the start, the #53 was the last car to enter turn one. In the 20-lap
event each move counted as the laps wound down quickly. Berry worked his way
back into the second position by lap nine. Trying the inside and outside to
no avail, the #53 was running second when the white flag flew. After a
thrilling last lap duel with the cars that ultimately finished second and
third, Berry crossed the finish line first picking up the win.
"I was worried that we wouldn't have enough time to work our way forward
after getting knocked out of the way on the start. It was a very fast,
tight, one-grooved track and was very difficult to pass on. I got up to
second and tried the outside, but there just wasn't anything up there and no
one else was willing to go up there with me. It was an exciting finish and I
am just glad that we could bring home the win for the team.
The track was really cool, it was so small that about the time the car got
going you'd have to dynamite the brakes to make the corner. The promoters,
Bob Leach and Bill Arnold did a first class job preparing the track and
putting on a well- run show. The Oregon fans and competitors are a great
group. They get very excited about their motorsports"
The rest of the 2006 season will hopefully prove to be as rewarding as the
start of the year for the AJB racing team. Berry and crew will be
campaigning the #3 Late Model with the Inland Northwest Super Stock
Association, the #53 with the Washington Midget Racing Association, as well
as select events in the #53 Winged Sprint Car. Current efforts include
seeking a competitive opportunity in an NSRA Sprint Car for the season
opener at Monroe on April 1.
The entire AJB racing and Villelli Racing teams would like to wish the
Seattle Seahawks good luck this weekend in Super Bowl XL.
For more information on Villelli Racing and Tony Berry contact AJB
Motorsports Marketing @ 800.366.2682