Josh Berry wins Xfinity race at Charlotte as JR Motorsports dominates overall
CONCORD, NC — When Josh Berry crossed the finish line at Charlotte Motor Speedway — giving JR Motorsports its first NASCAR Xfinity Series win at its home track — second-place Ty Gibbs was just reaching the 200-foot-long Speedway TV screen television on the backstretch.
After JRM teammate Justin Allgaier scraped the outside wall for the second time and had to pit during the final 81-lap green-flag run, Berry won Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 by an astonishing 18.039 seconds over Gibbs.
But the race wasn’t that lopsided before Allgaier had to bring his No. 7 Chevrolet to pit road on Lap 185 of 200.
True, Berry and Allgaier were racing in a different zip code from the rest of the field, but their battle was intense until Allgaier nicked the wall on Lap 177 and hit the Turn 2 barrier even harder eight laps later.
With Allgaier out of the picture, Berry enjoyed a pleasure cruise for the remaining 15 laps and finished three-quarters of a mile ahead of Gibbs.
“Man, it’s so amazing,” Berry said. “This car was so good. (Crew chief) Mike (Bumgarner) and this whole group works so hard. We’ve been getting better every week. I think the sky is the limit as we continue to learn about each other and keep getting better.
“That was a battle with Justin. It is always with us. We always seem to run good at the same places and always have to race each other. He slipped up in (Turn) 1 — and I got loose, too, and it all worked out.”
In fact, JR Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr., enjoyed another banner day from green flag to checkered flag. Sam Mayer started from the pole position and finished third. Berry won the first stage and Allgaier the second, giving JRM his 10th consecutive stage victory — extending the series record established last week at Kansas Speedway.
Five drivers led laps Saturday — four of them from JRM. Berry led a race-high 89 circuits, followed by 63 for Allgaier, 36 for Noah Gragson and two for Mayer. Gragson dropped off the lead lap with a cylinder down, but with power seemingly restored, he recovered to finish fourth.
Berry won for the second time this season and the fourth time in his career. JRM has won four of the last five Xfinity Series races.
“I think everybody knew that this was going to be a good benchmark for our organization, and I think I speak for everybody in saying that we exceeded expectations,” Berry said.
Ryan Preece came home fifth in the top Ford, with Daniel Hemric, Allgaier, Sheldon Creed, Trevor Bayne and Myatt Snider completing the top 10.
Allgaier had the lead on Lap 163 after a full cycle of green-flag pit stops, and he held it until Berry beat him to the stripe by 0.022 seconds on Lap 176. Allgaier regained the top spot on Lap 177 but scraped the wall for the first time a lap later.
“We tried to put on a show for the fans,” Allgaier said. “I don’t know if you can drive any harder. At one point we were literally barreling off into Turn 1 harder than we did in qualifying.
“I thought we were going to be OK there and battle it out again (after the first contact with the wall), but unfortunately, my right rear started to go flat.”
NOTE: There were no major issues in the NASCAR Xfinity Series garage found during post-race inspection, confirming Berry as the winner. The No. 44 of Ryan Ellis had one lug nut not safe and secure, usually resulting in a fine to the crew chief next week.