Josh Berry scores first career Xfinity Series win at Martinsville

0 Comments

Josh Berry scored one for the short track racers on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

Berry, the reigning NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series champion, took the lead from Ty Gibbs with 29 laps to go and went on to claim his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win for JR Motorsports.

The victory comes less than two years after Berry won Martinsville’s prestigious late model race in October 2019.

MORE: Martinsville Xfinity race results

MORE: Xfinity drivers Gaulding, Graf Jr. fight after Martinsville race

“This is for all those (short track) guys,” Berry told Fox Sports after the race. “There’s a ton of them out there that are like me, that have won here and at all 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 and we did it.”

Berry has competed for JRM’s late model program since 2010 and is in the midst of a scheduled 12-race run for JRM in Xfinity this season.

Prior to this season, he made select Xfinity starts, mostly for JRM, from 2014-17. But a lack of funding prevented him from more appearances.

One of his bosses, Dale Earnhardt Jr., admitted after the race on social media that it had “been a long time since I cried so hard.”

“It’s great to see my friend, Josh Berry, live his dream,” Earnhardt added in his tweet.

Berry’s teammate, Noah Gragson, finished second to give JRM a 1-2 finish. He also congratulated Berry in his own post-race comments.

“I’m a big fan of his and it’s really humbling to be on the same race track as him,” Gragson said of Berry, to Fox Sports. “He’s a legend in short track racing.”

Gragson’s runner-up enabled him to win the first $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus of the season.

Daniel Hemric, Ty Gibbs and Brandon Jones rounded out the top five finishers.

The 250-lap race began Friday night, but was stopped by rain after 91 laps. The resumption of the race began shortly after Noon ET on Sunday.

Following today’s race, the No. 23 Our Motorsports entry of Blaine Perkins was penalized for “loss/separation of an improperly installed rear axle” under Section 12.5.2.7.4e of the rule book. NASCAR’s post-race inspection report said the car lost the axle during the race.

Brian Graham, who was listed as the No. 23 team’s tire technician in this week’s rosters, has been suspended for the next Xfinity Series race. Perkins finished 35th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Noah Gragson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Daniel Hemric

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: 18-year-old Ty Gibbs continued to impress with a fourth-place finish for Joe Gibbs Racing. Gibbs has now finished first, second and fourth in his first three career Xfinity starts.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ryan Vargas‘ race ended immediately after Sunday’s initial restart at Lap 97. He lost the brakes on his No. 6 JD Motorsports Chevrolet and hit another car, suffering terminal front-end damage. … Tommy Joe Martins was running a solid 11th when he was forced to pit road for a battery issue on Lap 173. He returned to the track and finished 34th, 19 laps down.

NOTABLE: Berry became the first driver to earn their inaugural Xfinity win at Martinsville since Jeff Burton in the September 1990 race.

NEXT: The series returns to action Saturday, April 24 at Talladega Superspeedway (4 p.m. ET, FOX). Berry, Gragson, Hemric and Jones are the Dash 4 Cash drivers for that event.