Keeping Pace

Tony Berry and B&B Motorsports 2009 Recap

Tony Berry at speed in the No. 53 INSCA sprint car. (Photo courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports Photography)
Tony Berry at speed in the No. 53 INSCA sprint car. (Photo courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports Photography)

With weather dictating the early season schedule the first event that Tony 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.

Courtesy: AJB Motorsports Marketing

Spokane, WA (December 18, 2009) – For Tony Berry and the B&B Motorsports team, the
2009 season began as an opportunity for growth and development. After procuring a
new Lejeune Performance chassis, the plan for the team was to pick and choose events
as the summer progressed, running locally with the Inland Northwest Sprint Car
Association (INSCA) and occasionally competing with the premier ASA/NSRA traveling
sprint car series.

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 the team’s 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 we 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 series 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.

The Crew:

A special thanks to the crew members that make up the B&B Motorsports team:
Co-proprietor – Michael Bartle
Crew Chief – Loren Bartle
Crew – Kily Fleming, Bob Records and Jerry Records

Also a special thanks to the moms and dads, wives, fiancés, girlfriends and sisters
for supporting us in our endeavors.

Our 2009 Marketing Partners:

The Country Place Bar and Grill - 3618 E Columbia Ave, Spokane, WA (509) 484-6707
Mackay Spinal Injury Foundation
Lejeune Performance and Fabricating – www.LejeuneRacecars.com
Silver Lining Limousine Service – www.SilverLiningLimo.com
Ed Nereaux Racing Engines - 208-777-1085
Kodiakweb Racing – www.kodiakwebracing.com
Sir Speedy Printing – www.sirspeedyspokane.com
Longacre Racing Products – www.LongacreRacing.com
Oak Tree Inn – Hermiston, OR
Hermiston Chamber of Commerce – Hermiston, OR
Desert River Inn – Umatilla, OR
The Pheasant – Hermiston, OR

For more information on Tony and crew visit www.AJBMotorsportsMarketing.com or visit
us on facebook at www.facebook.com under B&B Motorsports




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.








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