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Tony Talks Berlin Special 6-23-11
WOW is how I start this special Berlin Tony Talks. What a couple days from Berlin Raceway. We got to the track at 1 pm Tuesday as the sun was out and it was well into the 90s and pretty darn warm. Pits were full as over 40 CRA teams and over 20 USA Mod teams were ready to go racing. The track seemed pretty fast as Chase Elliott was on top of the leader board. Chase gave us a great interview and stated " we should have know better then to go fast today those laps times are just an ego sheet for the day". We also had a chance to talk to about half of the field in the MSZ interviews. I spent some time with my new hero Johnny Vandoorn who drives the Port City house car. Johnny had a heck of a run at Angola and looked dang sporty in hot laps. "The car is good and seems fast if we want to be Busch we have to be on our game and trust me we will be" Stated Vandoorn.
As cars began to line up for time trials the rain and heavy storms came and the crew and I set in the production trailer for over 2 hours until the track called it a night. They said we would do it all over again the next day and thats what we did. So after a night in Grand Rapids with Eric , Teresa , and Andy we were back track side ready to go. I got to the track just in time to open the trailer take some pics and watch it rain for 2 hours. The radar looked ify and I figured we were going home but Mike Blakmer and the crew waited it out and we went racing. Of course Kyle Busch set fast time and drew a 7 putting him 4th row inside. The on track autograph session was next and all the drivers got a lot of time with the fans.
Next up the drivers walked across the stage for fans to see them .... this was awesome as it gave you the chance to put a face and name together. Chase Elliott gace away a lot of stuff for his fans and Kyle Busch also gave away two bikes. It was neat to see him and the winners as the little boy and girl were so happy. Kyle helped them on thier bike and took pictures.
We are now set and ready to go racing in the last chance race and these guys beat and bang like nuts. Mods were up next for the 50 lap $3000 to win show and Jordan Dalke who just climbed out of the CRA car and into the mod picked up the big win. He had to husstle into the pits and jumb back into the CRA car for 251 more laps making it a really long day for the youngster.
As the cars came to the front strtch fans roared to life. The first 75 laps saw a lot of follow the leader and I was getting worried we would not have good pit footage. Have no fear lap 88 hits and we send 10 cars over the back stretch and cars all over the track. Derrick Griffin was in that as was Bubba Pollard and Aric Jones to name a few. My buddy Derrick had a ton of damage but his crew did a great job to get the car back out. We did catch up with Bubba pit side and he said the following " the car was good out there... we had a break check I checked up and missed it then got plowed from behind. Sucks but we will try to get her fixed and back out". Bubba and his crew did just that only to later get tore up even worse and end his night for good.
After a few more yellows it was the half way break and all cars came to pit road for tires and fuel. During the break I talked to the man the myth the legend Tom Thomas. Toms wife is his crew cheif as he calls shots to her form the car. He had a little damage to the left side of his car and the tow was knocked out a lot. We stepped over the crew and got a great interview as he was eating some fruit he dropped it and was tossing blueberries out the window the whole time. Tom said " I never go down with out a fight and I know Belrin well. We will hopefully work our way back up and show the fans what we got" Eric Fraizer my camera man and I headed to a good guy Johnny Benson next. JB Stated " Thank goodness for the Helen Devos Childrens Hospital crew as I went the wrong way on stagger early on and this crew got me fixed up right now".
We go back to green with 125 laps to go and boy oh boy do we see action all night long. We started with 32 cars and ended with 15 at the end and all the cars in the pits had damage. Camping World Truck driver Brian Ickler had rear damage to his hot rod. Also Brandon Hermiller destroyed his hot rod as did Ryan Blaney, Nick Bonstell, Brian Campbell, and more.
With less than 10 to go a big wreck and a little rain puts us under red. Drivers thinking about what to do while they talk to crews from the car on the front stretch. We go back racing and Vandoorn stays out as the other 4 cars on the lead lap go to pit road for tires. Benson , Busch, Devos all in the pits. As we go back to green Vandoorn has an issue with Devos and a 4 car pile up follows ending Vandoorns night and stellar run. Busch holds on to it and wins over Benson and Devos.
Now for my fav parts of the day. Afetr it stopped raining and with boss at home we decided to take the ol hhr out for some track drying. 60 MPH down the back stretch at Belrin was AWESOME !!!! Then looking to the left and almost taking out a silver Ford Focus was unreal. I glance over and yell OMG its Kyle Busch. Yeah we raced him for 20 laps he would cut us off we would cut him off and both cars were laughing so hard and having a blast. For the record yes I beat Kyle .... Its not my fault he stopped to sign autographs for the track crew he went a lap down just saying. He stayed out by him self and smoked the tires off that rental car. It was unreal to see him drying the track and smiling like he did and to know we were the car he was messing with made me liek the guy. After he won he did the biggest burnout I have ever seen. The crowd some chearing some booing made him GO NUTS. Out of the car he comes climbs on top and starts taking a bow. He then goes and gets the checkered flag and goes nuts again. Finally to victory lane where Eric andI were waiting. We get a GREAT interview with Kyle and yeah he shook my hand lol.... He was very cool down to earth and fun. Never saw that coming. Allin all what a week for Michiana Speed Zone. This Berlin show is awesome and I can not wait for fans to see it.
I have to thank Eric Frazier as he ran his butt off in the infield chassing all the action and wrecks. Heck we walked on the track and interviewed drivers with wrecked cars. Eric did awesome for his first time and seemed to have a blast. I guess it helps that he is a HUGE Kyle Busch fan. I did have to tell him 30 mins of random Kyle time was enough lol waht a stalker !
Teresa Witmer who does so much for MSZ anyways came along as a camere woman and did a great job on top of the tower following all the action.
Cody Ong was also onhand both days and as always this kid did great work.
Gary Martin in the trailer with Andy Jach kept everything rolling as Scott Feater did your at the track updates via text messages from home. We hope you enjoyed your coverage of the Rowdy 251 and we will get it on TV soon for all to enjoy !!!