A-GAME 200: Josh Berry takes checkered flag in first win of season
On a banner day for JR Motorsports, Josh Berry‘s flag flew the highest at the right time.
Grabbing the lead off pit road following a late caution, Berry led the race‘s final 55 laps and held off hard-charging teammate Justin Allgaier to win the A-GAME 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash race Saturday at Dover Motor Speedway.
It was the first Xfinity Series victory of the season for the 31-year-old Hendersonville, Tenn., native, the third of his career and came one year after he finished second in his track debut in the Xfinity Series.
"This was one place we had circled after what we did last year," Berry said. “To do what we did today is very special.”
Berry, driving the No. 8 Chevrolet, topped Allgaier by just over half a second, the top two drivers of JR Motorsports‘ 1-2-4-5 finish.
“We‘ve had some tough moments and it‘s been frustrating at times,” Berry said of his season. “Racing at this level is a lot of work. You have to learn to love the work and the preparing more than the finishes.
“We knew if we kept bringing fast cars, we would find a win. We just have to keep moving the needle and getting better every week.”
Noah Gragson, was the highest finishing Dash 4 Cash driver in fourth and earned the $100,000 bonus in the race. It is Gragson’s fifth career Dash 4 Cash bonus victory, tying Elliott Sadler‘s record.
“From where we were to get a top-5 finish, we’ll take it,” said Gragson, who said the bonus would be split among his crew. “What a day for the entire company.”
Among other Dash 4 Cash contenders, A.J. Allmendinger finished sixth, Ryan Sieg was 10th and Landon Cassill was 12th.
Stage 1 winner Sam Mayer led 18 laps and finished fifth, recovering from an incident where he lost his left-rear tire and was forced to make an extra pit stop. Ty Gibbs led one lap and finished third.
Allgaier led a race-high 67 laps and entered pit road with the lead on Lap 145 but came out of the pits fifth and was not able to get closer than second from there.
“That last run we were really good,” Allgaier said. “We came up a little short.”
Berry completed the 200 miles in 1 hour, 55 minutes, 17 seconds for an average speed of 104.091 mph. Five caution periods, including the two stage breaks, took up 36 laps.
Among other notable finishes, pole winner Brandon Jones led 59 laps and finished seventh and Xfinity Series rookie Sheldon Creed was eighth.