Berry Rallies for CARS LMSC Victory, Lemke Races to Top-Five

JR Motorsports | 5/6/2019

Ace Speedway Adam Lemke All Things Automotive Josh Berry Late Model News Slick Products

Josh Berry overcame an early spin to battle back and score the victory Friday night for JRM's Late Model team at Ace Speedway while Adam Lemke raced to another top-five finish.

Track Specs: .400-mile oval / 125-lap feature
Berry’s start/finish: 8th/1st   
Lemke’s start/finish:  13th/5th    

 

ALTAMAHAW, N.C. (May 6, 2019) – After a couple of heartbreaking races in which he had chances to win but fell victim to the vagaries of his competition, Josh Berry overcame an early spin and a very near miss to earn a CARS Racing Tour victory Friday night at Ace Speedway. JR Motorsports teammate Adam Lemke battled his way to a fifth-place finish as well, making it a very good weekend for the team.

The all-time leader in series victories with 15, Berry had not had good luck racing on the .400-mile oval prior to Friday night, and by the way the 125-lap feature began, it seemed that trend was bound to continue. After starting eighth, Berry had gained a position just three laps into the race when Taylor Gray and Tommy Lemons Jr., among others, tangled in front of him. That sent Berry’s No. 88 All Things Automotive Chevrolet for a spin, and put him at the rear of the field for the restart.

By lap 30, however, Berry had worked his way back to ninth place, and 12 laps later he was sitting in fifth, with more than 80 laps remaining. Prior to that, Berry dodged another bullet when Leland Honeyman nearly speared Berry’s machine in Turn 1, doing slight damage to the right rear. It was not serious enough to require a trip to pit road, however, and Berry soldiered on.

At lap 89, Mini Tyrrell brought out a caution flag with a spin, and Berry took the restart flag on the front row with Bobby McCarty, who had led all but four of the laps to that point. McCarty used the low line to squirt ahead when the green flag waved again, but Berry nudged the leader off the inside groove off Turn 4 and assumed the lead. He would never relinquish it on the way to his first CARS Tour victory of the season and the 15th of his career. The triumph gives him a nine-win lead over Deac McCaskill in the all-time CARS Tour standings.

Lemke, the 16-year-old Californian, had been solid all weekend long in his No. 98 Slick Products Chevrolet, staying inside the top 10 on the speed charts during Thursday’s practice sessions. In qualifying, the young driver overcooked the entry to Turn 3 and ended up 13th, but had confidence he could move up once the green flag waved.

On the start, he advanced into the top 10 and stayed there for the majority of the race. Since the bottom groove is the fast way around at Ace, Lemke had to deal with traffic and the inevitable contact that goes with it. A couple of check-ups ahead of him did some damage to the nose, which started to raise the temperature inside the engine bay of his Chevrolet. The temperatures stayed under the threshold for repairs, however, and he continued to hold pace. With 20 laps to go, Lemke turned up the wick and started passing cars, landing in the top five with 10 laps remaining. The field was spread out by that time and he could go no farther up in the order, but posted his second straight top-five finish in one of the best touring Late Model series in the Southeast.

Polesitter Ryan Millington finished second, followed by McCaskill, McCarty and Lemke.

Next up for the JR Motorsports team is twin 50-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series features for Lemke on Saturday at Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia, in preparation for the CARS Tour event the following week at the Radford, Va. speedplant.

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

“We haven't had the best results at Ace before, so we worked pretty hard on longer runs in practice.  It really seemed to benefit in the race.  I knew our car was better than where we qualified.  After the lap 3 incident, obviously it wasn't a great situation to be put in, but I was pretty confident in the car.  Once we got back rolling we were able to move through the field fairly quickly and put ourselves in a good spot for the finish.  Once we got out front, the car was even better, and we were able to pull away.  We have lost some close ones here lately, so it meant even more to finally capitalize and put the All Things Automotive car in Victory Lane again.”

Adam Lemke, driver No. 98 Slick Products/JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“I think overall this was one of our better weekends of racing. We were consistent on both days, getting better every time we went out on the track. At tracks like Ace or Motor Mile where you have to wrestle the car to get around people is something that I think I need to work on a little more. It’s a completely different type of driving compared to a track where you set them up instead of force your way into position. I don’t think I’m too far off though, because we were fast all day. We struggled with overheating issues because there was a big checkup on a restart and I bent the nose up a bit and Bryan Shaffer, my crew chief, said if the temp got over 250 we would have to pull off. The temperature stayed just below it the entire race. All in all, I think we had a great day of racing and both JR Motorsports cars finished in the top five.” 

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • July 27 05:00 PM ET
    U.S. Cellular 250Iowa Speedway
  • August 3 03:00 PM ET
    Zippo 200Watkins Glen International
  • August 10 03:00 PM ET
    B&L Transport 170 at Mid-OhioMid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • August 16 07:30 PM ET
    Food City 300Bristol Motor Speedway
  • August 24 03:00 PM ET
    CTECH Manufacturing 180Road America

XFINITY Series Standings

After ROXOR 200

New Hampshire Motor Speedway | 7/20/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick8120
2Christopher Bell756-56
3Cole Custer736-76
4Justin Allgaier666-146
5Austin Cindric649-163
6Noah Gragson #596-216
7Chase Briscoe #568-244
8Michael Annett567-245