Josh Berry wins Xfinity race at Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS - Josh Berry, driving in place of an injured Michael Annett, scored his second Xfinity win of the season and lead JR Motorsports to a 1-2-3 finish in Saturday night’s playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“Oh my gosh, this thing was so fast,” Berry told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast. “It just took me a while to figure out. I knew the race would go down to the bottom (lane) at the end, I felt like. I just wanted to work hard and made sure my car worked good on the bottom. I just had to stay disciplined and keep working on it. These guys made the right adjustments. It was fast. Just finally got a long run and put everything together and was able to do it.”
Berry is not playoff eligible since he did not run every race this season. JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier (second) and Noah Gragson (third) followed. Gragson overcame two pit road penalties to score the top-three finish.
Reigning series champion Austin Cindric placed fourth. Daniel Hemric was fifth.
The 1-2-3 finish came a night after ThorSport Racing went 1-2-3-4 in the Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas.
Berry’s race, though, nearly ended early in the event.
Jeb Burton and Berry made contact on the Lap 31 restart and triggered a 12-car crash. Berry got squeezed and made contact with Riley Herbst’s car. That turned Herbst’s car to the left into traffic. Eight cars, including those of Burton, Herbst and Jeremy Clements were eliminated.
“I don’t think we need to be four-wide getting into (Turn) 1 on Lap (31),” Jeb Burton told NBCSN.
Jeb Burton, who won at Talladega earlier this year, then said: “We’ll go to Talladega next week and win the race.”
STAGE 1 WINNER: AJ Allmendinger
STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Riley Herbst, Jeb Burton and Jeremy Clements were eliminated in a 12-car crash on a restart early in the race. Herbst finished 33rd; Burton 36th; Clements 39th.
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Bayley Currey finished 13th for his second-best result of the season. ... Tommy Joe Martins placed 14th for his second-best finish of the year.
NOTABLE: JR Motorsports’ 1-2-3 finish was its first such result in team history. ... Matt Jaskol, who also is a skydiving instructor, parachuted into the track for driver intros. He finished 27th.
NEXT: The second race of the Round of 12 takes place Oct. 2 at Talladega (4:30 p..m ET, NBCSN).