N News & Results

Xfinity at Las Vegas: Super-sub Berry beats all the playoff contenders

Las Vegas, NV, Sept 25/21 (GRW): Amid all the hype about the playoffs and the drivers still in contention for the season championship, fill-in driver Josh Berry drove Michael Annett’s JRM Chevrolet to the win here in the Xfinity Alsco Uniforms 302. Berry took the lead for the first time on lap 160 of the 201-lap race and led all but four of the remaining laps – looking like a winner the rest of the way to take the checker by a 4.4-second margin over Justin Allgaier.

Berry, who recently has been filling in for Annett who has been sidelined by a stress fracture of his femur and some complications, also won at Martinsville in April driving the No. 8 JRM entry. In all he has had 13 Xfinity starts for JRM and three for Jordan Anderson Racing. It seem only fitting that he should have been recently announced as full-time Xfinity driver for JRM in 2022.

The next six places behind Berry went to playoff-eligible drivers – Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones and A.J. Allmendinger. This was a 1-2-3 sweep for the Junior Motorsports cars.

“Oh my gosh, that thing was so fast, it just took me a while to figure out,” Berry said, adding, “I just had to stay disciplined and keep working on it and the guys made the right adjustments. And it was fast, man. Finally got a long run and got it all together.”

As for racing his teammates, who are fighting for the championship. “It was tough,” Berry said smiling. “Me and Justin raced together a lot this year and most of them, he’s gotten the better of me. Today we were able to get one. This is cool.”

This race was the first race in the seven-race elimination series culminating in the final shootout at Phoenix in November. While Cindric and Allmendinger came into the playoffs as favourites given record of five wins and four wins respectively, their performance in this race compared to the other challengers suggests that they will not be alone in the fight for the title.
Cindric led the first 29 laps before Allmendinger took over - a pattern we are used to. But after that the race took on a different complexion with Allmendinger never again leading and Cindric only leading another 4 laps mid-race.

Ty Dillon took the lead on lap 49 and he led for 17 laps. His strong run here suggested that he was going to contend for the win. Allmendinger won the first Stage over Hemric and Cindric but pit strategy – pitting before the end of the Stage – saw Dillon take the lead on the restart.
At the end of the second Stage he finished second to Allgaier but he fell to tenth for the restart and he finished in eighth place.
Allgaier continued to lead – at first ahead of Cindric and Allgaier – but Berry was coming and, as Cindric and Allgaier faded a bit, Berry was charging forward. He passed Cindric for second on lap 146 and he took the lead – and command of the race on lap 160. After that, the story was Berry the rest of the way to the checker.

The next race will be the second race in the initial three-race Round of 12 in the Seven-race Xfinity playoff series. It will be held at the Talladega Superspeedway next Saturday, October 2nd.

• Click HERE for the Race Results


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