Josh Berry Wins Again, Jones Ninth in CARS Tour Throwback 276

Ron Lemasters | 8/2/2021

Conner Jones Hickory Josh Berry Late Model News

Berry remained unbeaten in Late Model Stock Car competition in 2021, while Conner Jones finished ninth at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Track Specs: Hickory Motor Speedway, .363-mile oval/138-lap feature

Berry's finish: 1st

Jones' finish: 9th

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 2, 2021) -- Josh Berry remained unbeaten in Late Model Stock Car competition in 2021, adding a second CARS Tour Throwback 276 trophy to his collection on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway. Conner Jones rallied from 16th at the start to earn his second top-10 finish in the series, crossing the stripe in ninth place to give JRM two cars in the top 10 in the series' signature race.

Berry put his No. 8 All Things Automotive/iRacing Chevrolet on the pole for the 138-lap event, but settled into the top five for the majority of the first 40 laps. The extra-distance race put a premium on saving tires, and the 2020 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series champion did just that, crossing the line in third at lap 40 when the competition caution waved.

Once under way again, Berry moved to second on lap 67 and passed leader Mini Tyrrell 20 laps later, just after the second competition caution. Berry built a solid lead over the remaining laps, but a caution flag with 10 laps left tightened up the field.

Over the final stint, Berry had to deal with a persistent Mason Diaz, who was chasing his first CARS Tour victory. On the restart, Diaz, who was a little better over the short run, ran the bottom groove and planted the nose of his Late Model on Berry's left rear corner and did not allow Berry to accelerate away. Berry had enough drive off the corners on the venerable .363-mile oval to keep a slim lead the rest of the way.

Jones, making his first Throwback start, drove a paint scheme dedicated to Jeff Jordan, one of the drivers who helped him early in his career. After a solid practice session, Jones did not use enough brake during his qualifying lap and ended up starting 16th in the 29-car field.

On the initial green flag, Jones began moving up immediately, battling on the cusp of the top 10 early in the going. With tire wear being so critical, the 15-year-old driver went to management mode and rode for a good portion of the extra-distance event. Despite that, the tires wore down as the race went on and Jones found himself with a loose-handling Mean Green/Jones Utilities Construction Chevrolet.

Near the end of the race, Jones was locked in a battle with Sam Butler for eighth place and came home ninth at the checkered. The result was Jones' second top-10 in eight CARS Tour starts, both coming behind the wheel of a JR Motorsports Chevrolet, and he remained 14th in series points, 67 adrift of leader Bobby McCarty.

Trailing Berry and Diaz to the flag were Sam Yarbrough, Tyrrell and Jared Fryar, with McCarty, Kaden Honeycutt, Butler, Jones and Deac McCaskill the remainder of the top 10.

While the rest of Berry's schedule in the Late Model ranks is not yet set, the Tennessee native added to his already impressive CARS Tour career stats. His 21st CARS Tour victory put him 13 wins ahead of McCarty, the second-place driver on the list, and he now has 14 poles, three better than series stalwart Deac McCaskill. Berry has led a record 32 races in the series, and he is the career leader in laps led (1,929, 603 more than McCaskill). Saturday night's victory also tied Berry with McCaskill for most top-five finishes (38).

Next up for Jones on the CARS Tour schedule is Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. on Aug. 28.

Josh Berry, driver No. 8 All Things Automotive/iRacing Chevrolet team

"I'm really proud of the effort of our team this weekend. We made a lot of changes trying to get some better drivability out of the car for the longer races, and it paid off with great long-run speed. The caution at the end made it tough holding off Mason (Diaz), as it seemed like it took a few laps for our car to get going. All in all, a great couple weeks with the Late Model group, and I'm proud to put All Things Automotive and iRacing in victory lane again." 

Conner Jones, driver No. 01 Mean Green/Jones Utilities Construction Chevrolet team

"It was a good night overall for me and the Mean Green/Jones Utilities Construction Chevrolet team. Hickory Motor Speedway is a really fun track and all the JR Motorsports guys did an excellent job getting the car dialed in. Hats off to Josh on a dominant win. I just didn't save enough tire for the end, and that made me loose, but we got another top-10 finish."

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • September 25 07:30 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 302Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • October 2 04:30 PM ET
    Talladega Superspeedway
  • October 9 03:00 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 16 03:00 PM ET
    Andy’s Frozen Custard 335Texas Motor Speedway
  • October 23 03:00 PM ET
    Kansas Lottery 300Kansas Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Food City 300

Bristol Motor Speedway | 9/17/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1AJ Allmendinger10430
2Austin Cindric1033-10
3Justin Allgaier924-119
4Daniel Hemric895-148
5Harrison Burton871-172
6Justin Haley864-179
7Noah Gragson863-180
14Michael Annett524-519
34Sam Mayer #186-857