Berry Bags Big Throwback 276 Victory, Mayer Rumbles to 7th

JR Motorsports | 8/6/2018

All Things Automotive Hickory Josh Berry Late Model Menards News Sam Mayer

Josh Berry scored his first CARS Late Model victory of the season Saturday night in the Throwback 276 at Hickory with teammate Sam Mayer coming home with another top-10 finish.

Track Specs: .363-mile oval / 138-lap feature
Berry’s start/finish: 1st/1st  
Mayer’s start/finish:  24th/7th     

HICKORY, N.C. (Aug. 6, 2018) – Josh Berry had Saturday's CARS Late Model Stock Car Series Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway circled on his calendar for months. It is arguably the biggest race on the CARS Tour, with the most excitement around it.

The Tennessee native provided an additional spark by winning the pole and going on to win the Late Model Stock Car portion of the twinbill, while JR Motorsports teammate Sam Mayer drove a heady race from 24th to finish a solid seventh.

Berry, driving a throwback paint scheme from JRM Director of Motorsports L.W. Miller, started from the pole and led the first 78 laps of the 138-lap main before Layne Riggs came calling. Riggs, still smarting over an incident in the last CARS Tour race between the two drivers, gave Berry’s No. 73 machine a tap heading into Turn 1 on lap 79, which got Berry out of the groove and out of the lead.

Riggs maintained the top spot until lap 104, when Mason Diaz brought out the caution flag with a spin. On the ensuing restart, Berry used the high line to take the lead back, though the two cars were still side-by-side all the way around the .363-mile oval. He finally completed the pass on lap 107 and led the rest of the way for his 50th career Late Model victory.

As if that weren’t reason enough to celebrate, Berry earned that victory with Mark Thomas, owner of sponsor All Things Automotive, in the stands. It was the first victory for Berry with All Things Automotive on the JR Motorsports Chevrolet. It was also Berry’s first CARS LMSC victory of the season, keeping him atop the career leaderboard for CARS Tour victories, and his fifth top-five and sixth top-10 run of the season.

Mayer, running his own “Gray Ghost” throwback to the legendary Buddy Baker’s Harry Ranier-owned Oldsmobile, had a stellar night as well. The 15-year-old driver started 24th in the 28-car feature and worked all the way to seventh at the finish. Mayer battled a loose condition in his No. 9 Menards-sponsored Chevrolet during qualifying, but patiently snatched positions as the race went on.

Mayer, who won a 40-lap Late Model feature at HMS the week prior for his first JRM victory, bided his time at the beginning, saving tires in one of the longest events in the series, cracking the top 20 at lap 38. He was 16th two laps later when the yellow flew after a 40-lap green-flag run. By lap 63 he was up to 12th, and eight laps later entered the top 10 for the run to the finish.

By lap 92, Mayer had advanced to seventh and was battling among a pack that included CARS Tour star Deac McCaskill, eventual runner-up Lee Pulliam and others. Despite a close call after contact with McCaskill, Mayer ran as high as sixth before the end of the race, battling with last week’s rival Charlie Watkins to take seventh at the end. It was Mayer’s third top-10 finish in CARS LMSC competition this season.

Josh Berry, driver No. 88 All Things Automotive Chevrolet team
“We had an awesome All Things Automotive Chevrolet tonight. Typically, it was a little bit against what we do by leading like that, but we just didn’t want to get caught up in the pack, lose track position and start beating and banging and tearing stuff up. I just felt like that we had a good enough car to try and manage it while we were running the top three. Lee (Pulliam) was good there at the end, but it was too little, too late for him. Layne (Riggs) got into me in Turns 3 and 4...that’s part of racing. I said I was sorry, but sometimes sorry doesn’t fix it. I knew he was going to be ready to beat on me. He jacked me up, got the lead and pulled away a little bit, but then he started to fade. He ran me hard on that restart, but once we got a little better start and were able to get clear of him, he kind of let us race after that. This (the Throwback 276) has turned into such an awesome event. So much attention is being paid to it, there were so many people in the stands...these are moments you live for as a driver. You want to win when everybody is paying attention, and tonight we were able to do that. We had a lot of people here, including Mark Thomas from All Things Automotive, and obviously the boss man (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) was watching the broadcast too. It was just an awesome night. I have to thank All Things Automotive and all our guys for all their hard work. We’ve struggled some this year, but we’ve gained on it the past month or so, and tonight we had a really good car.”

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

“She was pretty sporty tonight. I think we had about a seventh-place car all night. Qualifying wasn’t exactly what we wanted it to be, but we were able to get up through the field pretty quickly. I’m just glad that our car is in one piece after this race, because she is really good-looking and fast too. I’m happy with the finish. JR Motorsports puts together a pretty good car for us to run out here at Hickory. We got it pretty locked down and we should be ready to go next weekend at South Boston. We got into the 60 car (McCaskill) there, in the left side, and there was some smoke, but as long as it finished, I’m OK with it. The first 40 laps, we were guaranteed a caution for running 40 green-flag laps. We were just riding around, ready to go when we needed to and saving our tires. I think we went a little too early for the tires and it kind of gave up a little bit towards the end, but we were able to get a solid seventh-place finish for our “Gray Ghost” Menards Chevrolet.”

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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