Josh Berry won his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race of the 2022 season at Dover Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Berry won for the third time in his career, finishing six tenths ahead of his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier.
Josh Berry won the A-Game 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Dover Motor Speedway on Saturday, beating off JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier by 0.604 seconds.
Berry won his first race of 2022 and his third in the Xfinity Series by leading the final 55 laps of the 200-lap race.
His JR Motorsports team took four of the top five spots in the race, the first time that has happened since 2013. Ty Gibbs of Joe Gibbs Racing was third, followed by Noah Gragson and Sam Mayer of JRM.
With 55 laps remaining, Allgaier was passed by Berry’s No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, who had led the race for 67 laps. After a setback on a delayed last pit stop, he battled back to finish in second position.
On the re-start, Berry took the lead and Allgaier had to fight his way up from fourth place, rising as high as second but never having a chance to pass for the win.
“I struggled a lot on the bottom on the restarts and just kept trying to work to get better,” said the 31-year old Tennessee native, Berry.
“It’s just credit to these guys; the pit crew did a phenomenal job today. They executed when we needed it, and we were there when it counted.”
“I went toe-to-toe with Justin Allgaier and he’s so freaking good here,’’ Berry added.
“Gosh, I thought he was kind of out of it after that pit stop and then he was right back to second and I thought, ‘Here we go again.’”
Allgaier, 35, a longtime championship contender, is seeking his first victory since Darlington in May of last year. This was his fifth runner-up finish in as many years, and his best performance in 2022.
“Proud of our team. We wanted to get the car in victory lane, but with the string of bad luck I feel like today was a good day; just a little bit short,’’ said Allgaier, who had finished 20th or worse in four of the five races leading into Dover.
Gragson’s fourth-place result capped up a difficult day for the 23-year-old, earning him a $100,000 bonus cheque under the Dash 4 Cash programme.
“What a day for the entire company — four cars in the top-five and congratulations to Josh Berry for his win,’’ said Gragson, who added with a smile holding up the giant $100,000 cardboard Dash 4 Cash winner’s check.
“My car was as fast as the Xfinity internet.’’
A.J. Allmendinger finished sixth, although he still leads the title by 43 points over Gragson, who won two races, and Gibbs, who won three races.
Given his hectic day, Mayer’s fifth-place finish was impressive. He won Stage 1 and then had a pit stop problem during the subsequent pit stop. He had to make an extra stop after his No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet lost a left rear tyre, and he finally plummeted to 19th place before making his way forward again.
Brandon Jones, the polesitter on Saturday, finished seventh after pit difficulties as well.
Sheldon Creed of Richard Childress Racing finished eighth, the highest placing rookie, with Riley Herbst and Ryan Sieg rounding out the top ten.
The Mahindra ROXOR 200 takes place next week at the historic Darlington Raceway (Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Allgaier is the reigning champion.