Josh Berry Captures First-Ever NASCAR Xfinity Series Win At Martinsvilleby Hunter Thomas April 11, 2021 0 comments
RIDGEWAY, Va. – Josh Berry moved Ty Gibbs for the lead in the closing laps on Sunday and held off JR Motorsports teammate, Noah Gragson at Martinsville Speedway to capture his first-ever win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Berry is a regularly competitor in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series and CARS Tour that competes throughout the Southeast, and he has even won the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Late Model race at Martinsville, but Sunday’s win in the Cook Out 250 marks the biggest of his career. The victory came in only his 13th series start.
“This is for all of those guys (grassroots racers),” said Berry, driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet Associates Chevy. “There’s a ton of them out there that are like me that have won here and at all of these great short tracks around here. We can do it; we just need the opportunities. Today proved it. Yeah, it’s a short track, but it’s still damn hard to win here.”
With just 29 laps to go in Sunday’s race, Berry put the bumper to Gibbs, moved him up the track in-between Turns 3 and 4 and drove by to retake the lead for the fourth time. As the laps ticked away, Berry had to methodically make his way through lapped traffic with a hard charging Gragson just behind him. No caution came out in the final laps as Berry held on for the victory.
“I knew this would be a good opportunity to win, but Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) called a perfect race,” Berry said. “The car was good. We just kept tweaking on it. The tires were pretty worn out there at the end. I was struggling a little bit with wheel hop; I kept going back and forth on the brake lever trying to help it on one end.”
Gragson didn’t win the race, but he enjoyed the battle that he had with his teammate. After the race, Gragson visited Victory Lane to congratulate Berry.
“I’m a big fan of his, and it’s really humbling to be on the same racetrack as him,” Gragson said. “He’s a legend in short track racing.
Gragson did claim the Dash 4 Cash, which features a $100,000 bonus. He won Stage 1 and ran up front throughout the entire race. The runner-up finish is Gragson’s second consecutive top-five effort.
“I really wanted to win there,” Gragson said. “I was having to protect the bottom, protect the bottom to keep the guys behind me from moving me out of the way so I could open up my arch the way I needed to and kind of make speed with that, but overall, I’m very thankful for Jonny Morris and everyone at Bass Pro Shops.”
Daniel Hemric battled back to finish third, followed by Gibbs and Brandon Jones. Austin Cindric finished sixth, followed by Harrison Burton, Justin Haley, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett.
Sunday’s race saw 13 lead changes among nine leaders. Berry led a race high of 95 laps. There were also 12 cautions for 75 laps.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, April 24 for the Ag-Pro 300. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on FOX and MRN at 4 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com