Berry Impresses in ASA/NSRA Debut

Spokane, Washington - Rookie sprint car driver Tony Berry and the HEI Motorsports team ventured to Ephrata Raceway Park (ERP) in Ephrata, WA this past Saturday night for race number three of the ASA/NSRA season. The HEI team decided to take the limited motored sprinter that is being run for points at Stateline Speedway to this big event in an attempt to run with some of the strongest sprint cars in the Northwest.

The evening got started on the tight, challenging ¼-mile oval with a disappointing qualifying effort. "We brought our small motor and harder tires compared to the sticky Hoosiers that others were running; I believe it put us at a sizeable disadvantage in qualifying," remarked Berry.

Heat race action saw the #53, River City River Runners, Sallee Chevrolet, Joe's Racing Products, Don's Group Attire Gambler start on the pole. Berry stuck to the team's game plan and stayed on the bottom of the race track and led seven of eight laps when series points leader Andy Alberding passed Berry on the outside to claim the heat race victory, Berry finished second. "You feel like you're clawing at a brick wall when you're just trying to hang on like that. I was hoping to pick up the heat race victory, but finishing second to Andy is certainly alright in my book."

When it came time for the 50-lap main event the winds picked up greatly and wreaked havoc on the big wings of the ASA/NSRA sprint cars. In just his first ASA/NSRA start the 21-year-old Berry would lead the field to the green flag with 16 drivers in tow. Again, as much as possible trying to keep the left side tires of the car on the white line, Berry ran in the top-five most of the night and finished the race in the seventh position. "My goal was to finish in the top-five in this event, but when you get here and see the caliber of equipment that the entire ASA/NSRA field has to offer, a top-ten is gratifying."

In an unusual set of circumstances, the Witte family, track owners of Ephrata Raceway Park and the ASA/NSRA Officials voted to give the Advanced Sprint Car and Truck Parts Hard Charger Award to Berry. "Tony ran extremely hard with the equipment that he had and did the most with the least this evening. Therefore the ASA/NSRA staff and I decided to give an award usually reserved for advancing the most positions, to a driver that started on the pole, but drove a hard, intelligent race in route to a top-ten finish," said Bob Witte, co-owner of ERP.

"I am very honored that the Witte family and the officials of this very professional series would give me an award of this nature. I was surprised obviously because we lost positions, but I am truly grateful for the award and appreciative of what it means that they decided to give it to me," said Berry.

The past several weeks have been very busy for the Gonzaga University student as Berry got his first Washington Midget Racing Association start on Memorial Day weekend. "This past month has been a time of opportunity in my career and I am very grateful for all those involved to help make that happen. It is a great feeling when you are offered to drive someone else's equipment because it shows you a great deal of respect. I need to thank Tony Villelli and the Villelli Racing team as well as the Speed Sport Report, Budweiser and Pepsi for putting their vote of confidence in my abilities."

The next race for the HEI Motorsports team will be this weekend, June 18th at Race City USA in Hermiston, OR. Come out and support the team on this slippery and very fast oval.

For more information on Tony Berry and the entire HEI Motorsports team contact Dixon Helgeson @ 509.991.9627

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