Berry Bumped Out of CARS LMSC Victory in Season Opener

Photo: Glenn Starek Photography

JR Motorsports | 3/11/2019

Adam Lemke All Things Automotive Josh Berry Late Model News Southern National

Josh Berry was one lap away from going to Victory Lane before a bump from behind relegated him to second in Saturday's CARS Tour season opener at Southern National Motorsports Park.

Track Specs: .400-mile oval / 150-lap feature
Berry’s start/finish: 3rd/2nd  
Lemke’s start/finish:  28th/28th    

 

LUCAMA, N.C. (March 11, 2019) – Josh Berry’s start to the 2019 CARS Late Model Stock Car Series was headed for Victory Lane on Saturday afternoon at Southern National Motorsports Park, but Brandon Pierce had other ideas.

On the final lap, Pierce got to the back bumper of Berry’s No. 88 All Things Automotive Chevrolet and moved him up the track, completing the pass and going on to win the season opener on the banked .400-mile oval. Berry was second at the checkered.

Adam Lemke, the young California driver, will have to wait a week to get his first taste of competition with the JR Motorsports Late Model team. He was involved in a crash during practice on Friday and the damage was such that he was only able to complete one lap on Saturday before pulling into the pit area.

Berry qualified third among 28 cars and went to the lead just seven circuits into the 150-lap event. Track position was going to be important, and Berry managed the gap while saving tires for the end of the long race. Part of the plan in going to the front was also to stay out of trouble, and that proved prophetic as the race went on.

Early in the going, Berry picked up a vibration in the drive train that eventually broke his shifter, so being in the lead was a blessing as he could control the pace of the restarts despite the mechanical damage. Despite the disadvantage, Berry kept his All Things Automotive Chevrolet at the front of the field until Pierce’s final-lap bump-and-run.

A caution waved with 10 laps remaining to tighten the field, and Pierce judged his moment carefully. Berry pulled away on the inside line and led, with Pierce chasing. Pierce pulled to the rear bumper with five to go, and after delivering a solid shot or two to Berry’s machine, got Berry off the bottom line and made the pass for his first career CARS LMSC victory and the $10,000 winner’s check.

Behind Pierce and Berry came Deac McCaskill, Bobby McCarty and Riley Herbst.

Lemke’s weekend was over before it got started. During Friday’s practice session, the young Californian was on track when it began to rain. The No. 74 of Ronald Hill spun in front of him and Lemke had no place to go. The damage was severe enough to eliminate him from further competition, but team manager Bryan Shaffer elected to use one of his provisional starts. Lemke started the race shotgun on the field, made one lap for points and put the No. 98 Slick Products/JR Motorsports Chevrolet on the trailer.

Next up for the JR Motorsports team is this coming Saturday, when Lemke will make his first appearance at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event. Berry will be back in action along with Lemke on March 23 when the CARS Tour hits Hickory for the first time this season.

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

“Obviously, I am really disappointed with how we finished. I felt like with how the pace was and the history of racing at SNMP that being in the lead was going to be the way to go. We developed a vibration in the drive train early on that ultimately ended up breaking the shifter. After that happened, I feel like I ended up racing a little too hard around the two-thirds mark of the race because I felt like I had to keep the lead. The inability shift on restarts would’ve been crippling if I wasn’t in the lead. I feel like dropping back early on might’ve been better at the end, but with the shifter issue, it would’ve been extremely hard to make up spots on all the restarts we had. In the end, the race didn’t go our way and I got beat, and I put that on myself. I felt like we picked up right where we left off last year, so I am really excited to get this year going and head to Hickory in a couple weeks.”

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

“Even though we knew our weekend was done, I still found positives and I did everything I could to gain as much information as I could. We went to the track Saturday and I watched all day to prepare myself for the next race. My next race won’t be a points race, so to be able to go into that event and start from scratch will be nice.”

XFINITY Series Schedule

  • September 20 07:30 PM ET
    Go Bowling 250Richmond Raceway
  • September 28 03:30 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 5 03:00 PM ET
    Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200Dover International Speedway
  • October 19 03:00 PM ET
    Kansas Lottery 300Kansas Speedway
  • November 2 08:30 PM ET
    O'Reilly Auto Parts 300Texas Motor Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300

Las Vegas Motor Speedway | 9/14/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Christopher Bell20550
2Cole Custer2044-11
3Tyler Reddick2044-11
4Austin Cindric2017-38
5Chase Briscoe #2012-43
6Justin Allgaier2012-43
7Michael Annett2009-46
8Noah Gragson #2005-50