Modified driver Tom Berry Jr. earned national recognition when he won the IMCA Super Nationals in 2022 at Boone Speedway in Iowa. He returned to the national spotlight once again with a feature win during the DIRTcar Nationals. The triumph occurred in a different type of modified, a DIRTcar UMP one, last Tuesday at Volusia Speedway Park in De Leon Springs, Florida.
“Big motors, soft tires, and the choice between two different tire choices for the right rear are the major differences between the two types of modifieds,” said Berry, originally from Oregon, but now of Des Moines, Iowa. “It is a tire gamble every night. We picked the right tire three out of the four first nights we raced.”
Berry ran as a teammate to David Stremme, proprietor of Lethal Chassis, and shared a crew chief with Kaede Loudy. Berry has raced his own modified built by Lethal Chassis in USMTS competition.
Stremme invited Berry to race with him in Florida. Even seasoned veterans, such as Berry and Stremme, can learn something new from each other.
“Everyone in racing thinks differently and has a different way to be faster,” Berry said.
The entire DIRTcar Nationals provided an educational experience for Berry.
“You learn by whom you drive against,” said Berry. “The drivers I am racing with are drivers I seldom [have] or never [have] raced with before.”
His first DIRTcar Nationals win came after a battle with his teammate, where Berry put a slide job on Stremme for the victory.
“I had the confidence to dive-bomb him, and I did,” Berry said. “He crossed over again and we raced it out. Neither of us touched. It was an awesome race.”
At the end of the DIRTcar Nationals, Berry had one win and five top-fives in six races. He finished eighth in points, among a field of 120 drivers.
As far as future plans for Tom Berry Jr. in DIRTcar or USMTS competition, he kept that close to his vest.
“We’ll see how it goes,” said Berry. “I’m always hoping for more races with David.”
The Outside Groove Director of Photography has written hundreds of stories since the website’s inception. This year marks his 54th year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.