Josh Berry earns JR Motorsports' first Charlotte win
Michael Manny recaps Josh Berry's NASCAR Xfinity Series win in the Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Josh Berry put on a clinic, leading 89 laps and avoiding disaster to earn his second NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the season in the Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
With the win, Berry has also given JR Motorsports its first-ever victory at Charlotte. With all of JRM’s domination, the track has historically been their Kryptonite.
“We’ve been getting better every week, I think the sky’s the limit as we continue to learn about each other and keep getting better,” Berry said to Tyler Reddick, the pit reporter for Fox Sports’ “Drivers Only” broadcast.
Over the last five seasons, JRM had led 1,159 laps and earned 46 top-five finishes, 93 top-10s and three wins in 148 mile-and-a-half track starts that are not Charlotte, according to Fox Sports.
In 16 Charlotte starts, the team had managed to lead just 12 laps and earn five top-fives and eight top-10’s.
By the late stages of the race, Berry and JRM teammate Justin Allgaier had pulled away from much of the field. Allgaier led the second-most laps (63), but a cut tire after a brush with the wall forced him to go down pit road with 15 laps to go.
“After the first contact in the wall down here, I kind of felt like maybe the right-rear [tire] was going soft and ultimately ended up going down and I had to pit under green,” Allgaier said to Austin Cindric, the broadcast’s other driver-pit reporter. “Disappointing, but congrats to Josh and this whole JR Motorsports team.”
Just six cars finished on the lead lap in a race that featured eight cautions.
Sam Mayer, another JRM driver, started on the pole for the first time in his career, but the lead was quickly taken by Ryan Preece, running his second of three planned races this weekend. Preece was the only non-JRM car to lead laps.
The fourth JRM driver, Noah Gragson then gained the top spot on lap four, holding it for the next 32 laps.
Only 14 laps in, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones spun in turn one, drawing the first caution of the day. Jones’ spin was the first of four cautions in the first stage, the most ever in one stage at Charlotte, according to the Fox broadcast.
Berry took his first lead on lap 36 and went on to win the stage, as Jeffrey Earnhardt, Myatt Snider and Kyle Weatherman got into an incident on the frontstretch behind him.
Bob Pockrass @bobpockrassseveral cars involved ... Weatherman, Earnhardt among them.
Allgaier won the race off pit road and took his first lead, which he held for the next 49 laps. A lengthy green flag run in the second stage was interrupted by Jeb Burton spinning in turn two. It was one example of the grip issues teams dealt with throughout the race. Multiple drivers got loose throughout, but were able to save from spinning or making substantial wall contact.
With the stage two win by Allgaier, JRM swept the stages, giving the team its 10th consecutive stage win.
Bob Pockrass @bobpockrasstop-10 stage 2: Allgaier Berry Mayer Bayne Preece Allmendinger Gibbs Creed Hemric Moffitt
The final stage included by far the longest green flag run of the day, but before that, Riley Herbst spun on lap 103. Soon after the subsequent restart, a five-car wreck brought out the race’s final caution.
Bob Pockrass @bobpockrassCaution. Dillon Sieg Parsons among those involved.
Joe Graf Jr., Anthony Alfredo, Ryan Sieg, Stefan Parsons and Austin Dillon were all involved in turn four with 91 laps to go. Dillon, a Cup Series regular, was driving the No. 48 car that Tyler Reddick took to victory lane last weekend in Texas for Big Machine Racing.
In the race’s final 81 laps, Berry and Allgaier each held the lead multiple times and built a sizable gap cushion on the rest of the field.
With 24 to go, Allgaier had the slight advantage, but hit the wall. Berry took the lead back and did not relinquish it. Despite dealing with engine trouble all day, Gragson still finished fourth.
Teams will next make the long trip out west to Portland International Speedway for the Pacific Office Automation 147, Saturday, June 4 at 4:30 p.m. EST. The race can be seen on Fox Sports 1 and listened to on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Driver points report: