Berry Doubles Up in Hickory Late Models, Mayer Second in Nightcap

Photo courtesy of Race22.com

Ron Lemasters | JR Motorsports | 3/19/2018

Josh Berry Late Model News Sam Mayer

Josh Berry has long been known as the modern-day master of Hickory Motor Speedway, and the master delivered another lesson on Saturday night in the season opener.

Track Specs: .363-mile oval / twin 40-lap features
Berry’s Race 1 start/finish: 3rd/1st 
Berry’s Race 2 start/finish: 8th/1st 
Mayer’s Race 1 start/finish:  6th/8th
Mayer’s Race 2 start/finish:  1st/2nd   

HICKORY, N.C. (March 19, 2018) – Josh Berry has long been known as the modern-day master of Hickory Motor Speedway, and the master delivered another lesson on Saturday night in the season opener at the legendary .363-mile speedway. Berry swept both ends of the twin 40-lap Late Model events to get his NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season off to a good start, and young teammate Sam Mayer finished runner-up to his teammate in the second 40-lap event.

In the first race, Berry started third in his No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and passed into second quickly. He took the lead after 15 laps and led the rest of the way to the checkered flag. As is often the case at Hickory, there was an inversion following the first race, which meant Berry would start the second 40-lapper from eighth.

It didn’t seem to matter much, as Berry took advantage of an early caution period to sweep to the top spot on lap 12—passing polesitter Mayer for the lead. He paced the field the rest of the way to earn his second victory of the young season in just his third race. The twin triumphs are Berry’s 10th and 11th at HMS in the past three seasons, and the 13th and 14th over that span for JR Motorsports, as former driver Anthony Alfredo won there three times in 2017.

Mayer, the 14-year-old from Wisconsin, started sixth in the first 40-lapper and ended up eighth at the finish. With the inversion, that put him on the pole for the second 40-lap race. Taking off, Mayer battled a loose condition in his Chevrolet that made it difficult to get off the corners the way he wanted to. Berry, charging from eighth after the inversion, got to the inside of his teammate and loosened the handle on the No. 9 machine enough to push past and into a lead he would never relinquish.

Next up for the JR Motorsports team is the CARS Late Model Stock Car series race on Saturday at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway.

Josh Berry, driver No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“We had a really great car from the time we got to Hickory this weekend.  We qualified 3rd, but felt like we would be strong in the race and was able to get the first win.  After the invert, you never really know what to expect, but we were able to gain some positions pretty quickly and work our way up.  Overall, just a great job by all of our team to bring two great race cars to the track again.  It is nice to get the first win of the season under our belt, and now we are going to look toward the CARS Tour race at Myrtle Beach this weekend.”

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

“The car was pretty much perfect off the truck, and for the second race, we made a big swing on adjustments to get me looser overall. It was a bit too much, but I was able to handle it. I was happy to have a good car and a good team with me this weekend. I’m ready to go to Myrtle Beach and win that one down there!”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • November 3 04:30 PM ET
    O’Reilly Auto Parts 300*Texas Motor Speedway
  • November 10 03:30 PM ET
    Whelen Trusted to Perform 200*ISM Raceway
  • November 17 03:30 PM ET
    Ford EcoBoost 300*Homestead-Miami Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Kansas Lottery 300*

Kansas Speedway | 10/20/2018
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Daniel Hemric (P)30670
2Elliott Sadler (P)3058-9
3Tyler Reddick # (P)3055-12
4Christopher Bell # (P)3045-22
5Matt Tifft (P)3044-23
6Justin Allgaier (P)3040-27
7Cole Custer (P)3022-45
13Michael Annett562-2505