After a rain postponement from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, Josh Berry rose to the occasion and scored his first-career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in the Cook Out 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
Berry led the race on four separate points in the race, but he took the lead — for good — from Ty Gibbs on lap 222. Berry stayed calm and methodically worked through lapped traffic over the final 29 circuits to score the victory.
“I knew this would be a good opportunity to win, but [crew chief] Taylor [Moyer] called a perfect race,” Berry explained. “The car was good and we kept tweaking on it. The tires were pretty worn out there at the end, I was struggling a little bit with wheel hop, was going back and forth on the brake lever.”
The 30-year old who has attempted to make it to the big stage, finally delivered with a NASCAR National Series win. After climbing from his car, Berry rode the wave of emotion in thanking those who helped him get to the top.
“I guess they like me here,” Berry said as the crowd cheered him on the frontstretch. “Oh my gosh, I have so many people to thank — I could be here until tomorrow morning — that’s helped get me here. Just Dale, L.W., Kelley, everybody for believing in me. Everyone on this No. 8 team, man, they’ve been through a lot the last couple of years. Had a ton of different drivers, and man, I wanted to win so bad for these guys.”
Noah Gragson, Berry’s JR Motorsports teammate, finished runner-up and in doing so, scored the $100,000 Xfinity Dash4Cash bonus.
Daniel Hemric had the fastest car in the closing laps, but just couldn’t get around Gragson for second and scored a third-place finish in the race.
Ty Gibbs continued his impressive start to his NASCAR Xfinity Series career by finishing fourth in his third career start. Gibbs won his debut at the Daytona Road Course and finished second at Phoenix earlier this season.
Brandon Jones, who was leading at lap 91, when the race was halted on Friday night, finished fifth.
Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton, Justin Haley, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.