Berry takes Las Vegas Xfinity win, advances to Championship 4
Josh Berry hit the wall to take the lead and held on to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
While battling A.J. Allmendinger for the lead, Berry hit the wall in Turn 4 on Lap 168 of 301 but Berry was able to hang on and clear Allmendinger for the lead.
Berry then had to fend off a late charge by his JR Motorsports teammate, Noah Gragson, and cleared him by 1.125 seconds at the checkered flag for the victory.
With the win, Berry automatically advances to the series’ Championship 4 regardless of his performance in the next two races and will compete for the 2022 title at Phoenix Raceway.
The win is Berry’s third of the season, his first competing fulltime with JRM.
“I was a little bit tight in Turn 4 the whole time. He (Allmendinger) left me a lane but nothing extra,” Berry said of his late-race battle for the lead. “But I wasn’t letting off. This was for a trip to Phoenix. I was willing to hit the wall and have a flat tire or whatever for these guys.
“These guys have done such a great job all year. We’ve had a tough couple weeks and months but we knew we do this if we were at our best.
“We had a caution with (34) to go and I was able to wrestle the lead away from those guys and build enough gap to keep it. I’m just speechless.”
Justin Allgaier finished, giving JRM a 1-2-3 finish. Ty Gibbs was fourth and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top-five.
Completing the top-10 were Austin Hill, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones and Anthony Alfredo.
With two races remaining in the semifinal round of the playoffs, the four drivers lowest in points and in danger of missing the Championship 4 are Mayer, Jones, Allmendinger and Hill.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead-lap cars all pit with Hill first off pit road. Both Hemric and Bayne had safety violations during their pit stops and had to restart from the rear of the field.
On the restart on Lap 97, Hill was followed by Jones, Gragson, Allgaier and Gibbs.
Jones quickly powered to the lead on the restart.
Berry grabbed the lead from Jones on the high side exiting Turn 4 on Lap 101.
With 75 laps remaining, Gragson was right behind Berry battling for the lead as Gibbs had driven back up to third.
On Lap 132, Gragson was finally able to work his way around Berry in Turns 1 and 2 to reclaim the lead.
With 62 laps to go, Hill became the first of the lead-lap cars to make their final green-flag pit stops for new tires and fuel to make it to the finish of the race. Bayne followed on the next lap.
Gragson, the leader at the time, dropped to pit road on Lap 145 to make his final stop.
John Hunter Nemechek and Myatt Sinder were penalized for speeding and Riley Herbst committed a safety violation. All three had to serve pass-through penalties on pit road under green.
Once the cycle of stops was completed on Lap 148, Gragson returned to the lead followed by Gibbs and Allgaier.
Jones, who was running in the top-10, spun off Turn 2 on Lap 161 to bring out a caution. Most of the lead-lap cars pit with Gragson the first off pit road.
Landon Cassill stayed on the track and inherited the lead. On the restart on Lap 167, he was followed by Gragson, Gibbs, Allmendinger and Berry.
Allmendinger went to the inside of Cassill and moved into the lead on the restart. On Lap 168, after Allmendinger made contact with Berry, Berry reclaimed the lead.
On Lap 178, Allmendinger – who was running fourth – was forced to pit under green with what he believed was a loose wheel. He returned to the track in 22nd and one lap down.
The team confirmed both right-side tires on Allmendinger’s No. 16 Chevrolet were loose.
With five laps to go, Berry remained out front with a 1.6-second lead over Allgaier with Gragson close behind in third.
Gragson held off a fast-charging Gibbs to claim the Stage 2 win, his 14th stage win of the year and most of any driver.
Jones was third, Hill fourth and Allgaier rounded the top-five.
Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, the lead-lap cars all pit with Gibbs first off pit road.
On the restart on Lap 52, Gibbs was followed by Hill, Gragson and Jones.
Gragson went three-wide on the restart to reclaim the lead as Gibbs dropped to sixth.
With 25 laps remaining in the stage, Gragson had built a 2.5-second lead over Jones while Gibbs ran third.
With five laps to go, Gragson maintained a 3-second lead over Jones. Gibbs ran third, 3.2 seconds behind the leader.
Gibbs got around Jones with four laps remaining to move back into the runner-up position.
Gibbs cruised to the Stage 1 win over Hill, his seventh of the 2022 season.
Gragson was third, Allgaier fourth and Jones rounded out the top five.
Allmendinger started on the pole and cleared quickly for the lead.
On Lap 7, Gragson went to the inside of Allmendinger and moved into the top spot.
With 25 laps remaining in the stage, Gragson held a small lead over Gibbs as Allmendinger dropped to third.
Gibbs went to the inside of Gragson on Lap 24 and grabbed the lead for the first time in the race.
With five laps to go, Gibbs had built a lead of 3.6 seconds over Hill and Gragson ran third.
Justin Allgaier to return in 2023 for eighth season with JRM
Josh Berry to remain with JR Motorsports for 2023 Xfinity season
Button on NASCAR learning curve: "I forgot how to start the car"
Button on NASCAR learning curve: "I forgot how to start the car" Button on NASCAR learning curve: "I forgot how to start the car"
MotoGP doctor gives Pol Espargaro update after violent Portugal FP2 crash
MotoGP doctor gives Pol Espargaro update after violent Portugal FP2 crash MotoGP doctor gives Pol Espargaro update after violent Portugal FP2 crash
MotoGP riders critical of track safety after Pol Espargaro crash
MotoGP riders critical of track safety after Pol Espargaro crash MotoGP riders critical of track safety after Pol Espargaro crash
Mahindra explains suspension issues which caused Cape Town Formula E withdrawal
Mahindra explains suspension issues which caused Cape Town Formula E withdrawal Mahindra explains suspension issues which caused Cape Town Formula E withdrawal
Subscribe and access Motorsport.com with your ad-blocker.
From Formula 1 to MotoGP we report straight from the paddock because we love our sport, just like you. In order to keep delivering our expert journalism, our website uses advertising. Still, we want to give you the opportunity to enjoy an ad-free and tracker-free website and to continue using your adblocker.