The debut of its newest driver and the return of a former champion highlighted the season opener for the JR Motorsports late model program, and both teams responded with top-five finishes.
Racing in the 100-lap late model feature at Hickory Motor Speedway Saturday night, 16-year-old William Byron started sixth and finished second in his debut. It not only was his first race in the No. 9 Liberty University car for JR Motorsports, but it was his first competitive event driving a late model stock.
“I am so thankful and proud to be a part of this JR Motorsports late model team,” said Byron, who made his pass for second with 12 laps to go. “To get a second-place finish in my first start shows how strong this group is.”
Josh Berry was JRM’s biggest mover despite battling a loose condition for much of the night. Driving a brand new No. 88 Speedco Chevrolet, Berry started 10th and climbed to fifth by lap 50. He passed Shane Lee with two to go to finish fourth.
“We’ll go over everything and make it better for next weekend,” Berry said. “I feel like if we can qualify a little better we will be right there fighting for a win now that we have a race under our belt. We knew that we would have some bugs to work out with this new car. We were really fast in practice, but it seemed like from qualifying on we just got way too loose.”
Winston Salem, N.C.’s Dillon Bassett won the race. The JRM late models will be back in action at Hickory this Saturday night.