Mayer Third, Berry Fifth in CARS LMSC Opener at Tri-County

Ron Lemasters | 3/12/2018

All Things Automotive Josh Berry Late Model Menards News Sam Mayer Tri-County Motor Speedway

Sam Mayer led the way in Saturday’s CARS Late Model Stock Car season opener with a third-place finish, while Josh Berry came home fifth after starting the race from the pole.

Track Specs: .400-mile oval / 150-lap feature
Mayer’s start/finish:  18th/3rd
Berry’s start/finish: 1st/5th     

HUDSON, N.C. – Sam Mayer, in his first start for JR Motorsports, led the way in Saturday’s Do the Dew 150 CARS Late Model Stock Car season opener at Tri-County Motor Speedway with a third-place finish, while Josh Berry brought his All Things Automotive Chevrolet home fifth after starting the race from the pole.

Mayer, driving the No. 9 Menards/JR Motorsports Chevrolet, started 18th in the four-segment event, but drove to 11th by the end of the first stage. By the end of the second, when he made a pit stop to change two tires, he was eighth. In the third segment, the 14-year-old Wisconsin driver got tangled up in a mess in Turn 2, which cost him four spots in the running order and damaged his left front bodywork.

Despite the damage, Mayer powered on and regained all four spots he lost plus two more. Over the final 30-lap segment, he restarted in sixth and knocked off three more spots to end up third at the finish.

Berry, in his first race with new sponsor All Things Automotive on the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, started from the pole for the 150-lap event and ran first or second over the first 56 laps. On the 57th, however, a suspension issue brought the car to a halt in the middle of Turns 1 and 2, bringing out the yellow flag. Under CARS rules, that cost him a lap to the leaders, and while he was able to get to the pits and get repairs, he returned in 27th spot.

Over the next 60-plus laps, Berry worked to get the free pass and finally succeeded on lap 120. Ducking to the pits to take tires with 30 laps remaining, Berry drove from 23rd on the restart to fifth at the finish. The defending series champion had won the last two CARS LMSC events at Tri-County.

Bobby McCarty won the race, followed by Justin Carroll, Mayer, Ryan Repko and Berry.

Sam Mayer, driver No. 9 Menards/JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“We were struggling all the way up to qualifying on the setup, but we found an awesome adjustment to make it good for the race. It was a blast to drive, even though we ended up with some left-front damage, and the strategy we played worked out well for the format. We made a big rally after getting the damage and I was within two seconds of the leader at the finish. I think we’ll have a good piece for the championship this year.”

Josh Berry, driver No. 88 All Things Automotive Chevrolet team

“Definitely a frustrating race to start off, but we were able to rebound pretty nicely towards the end.  We desperately needed a caution through the middle part of the race to get the free pass, but it just never happened for us.  We held the lucky dog spot for a long time but didn’t catch the break until it was almost too late. We made up 18 spots in the last 30 laps, and if we would’ve had a caution or two in that final segment, we probably would have contended for the win.  We will take our fifth place and move on to the next one.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

XFINITY Series Standings

After Ford EcoBoost 300*

Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/17/2018
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick (P)40400
2Cole Custer (P)4035-5
3Daniel Hemric (P)4033-7
4Christopher Bell # (P)4026-14
5Elliott Sadler2255-1785
6Matt Tifft2254-1786
7Justin Allgaier2251-1789
14Michael Annett632-3408