Berry soars to fourth career Xfinity win in Charlotte

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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-placed Ty Gibbs was just reaching the 200-foot Speedway TV screen. long on the straight.

After JRM teammate Justin Allgaier scraped the outside wall for the second time and had to stop on the final 81-lap green flag race, Berry won Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 by a stunning 18,039 on Gibbs.

But the race wasn’t so lopsided until Allgaier had to bring his No. 7 Chevrolet to pit road on lap 186 of 200.

Granted, Berry and Allgaier were racing in a different postcode to the rest of the field, but their battle was intense until Allgaier slashed the wall on Lap 178 and hit the Turn 2 barrier even harder eight laps later.

With Allgaier out of sight, Berry enjoyed a fun cruise for the remaining 14 laps and finished three-quarters of a mile ahead of Gibbs.

“Man, this is so amazing,” Berry said. “This car was so good. [Crew chief] Mike [Bumgarner] and this whole group works so hard. We are improving every week. I think the sky is the limit as we continue to learn from each other and improve.

“It was a battle with Justin. He is always with us. We always seem to run well in the same places and always have to race against each other. He slipped into [Turn] 1 and I escaped too, and everything was fine.

In fact, JR Motorsports had another banner day from green flag to checkered flag. Sam Mayer started from pole position and finished third. Berry won the first stage and Allgaier the second, giving JRM its 10th straight stage win, extending the series record set last week at Kansas Speedway.

Five drivers led laps on Saturday, including four from JRM. Berry led a record 89 homers, followed by 63 for Allgaier, 36 for Noah Gragson and two for Mayer. Gragson gave up the lead lap with a failed cylinder but, with power seemingly restored, 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 everyone knew this was going to be a good benchmark for our organization, and I think I speak for everyone in saying that we exceeded expectations,” Berry said.

Ryan Preece came fifth in the Ford top, with Daniel Hemric, Allgaier, Sheldon Creed, Trevor Bayne and Myatt Snider rounding out the top 10.

Allgaier had the lead on lap 163 after a full cycle of green-flag pit stops, and he held onto it until Berry beat him to the tape by 0.022s on lap 176. Allgaier reclaimed the lead on lap 177 but scratched 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 harder. At one point we literally went into Turn 1 stronger than in qualifying.

“I thought we were going to be good there and fight again [after the first contact with the wall]but unfortunately my right back started to flatten out.

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