Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

BERRY collects first Xfinity series victory.

-

MARTINSVIL­LE, Va. — Josh Berry has worked for several years as a coach for JR Motorsport­s, working with upand-coming drivers and enjoying their success as their careers developed.

On Sunday, he showed he can do what he tells his pupils to do.

Berry passed star rookie Ty Gibbs with 28 laps to go at Martinsvil­le Speedway and earned his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in the completion of a race that started Friday night.

“It’s unbelievab­le, man. It really is,” Berry said, adding that his familiarit­y with the track from his short-track career was a source of confidence. “It’s really going to take a while to soak this in.”

That was true for Berry, and also for his boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who said on a postrace Zoom call that he was watching the race at home but, “with about 20 to go, I got to where I couldn’t watch it anymore. … I’ve never been so nervous about a finish.”

Earnhardt said he did peek at the TV as the final laps wound down, and once he saw Berry take the white flag with a pretty nice lead, “We cried some happy, happy tears.”

Berry, who has raced in five of the first seven races in the series on a part-time deal with JRM, gave himself enough cushion after getting by Gibbs to withstand challenges by Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric, who ran out of time trying to navigate lapped traffic.

“I had a good gap that allowed me to be patient and not panic,” Berry said.

Berry, making just his 13th career start spread over five seasons and eight years, became the second driver to gain his first Xfinity Series win on the 0.526-mile oval, joining Brett Bodine (1985). Berry’s best prior finish was seventh earlier this year at Las Vegas.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States