There are so many things that can completely change over the course of a single year. Just ask JR Motorsports and Josh Berry. In fact, the only thing to stay constant was the victory in the Fall event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
This time, the Hendersonville, Tennessee native returned to the 1.5-mile facility in a totally different situation, looking for a chance to head to the season finale at Phoenix Raceway with a shot at the championship.
Berry, driving the No. 8 for JR Motorsports, made the final pass for the lead just two laps after the race’s final restart, when he blasted around the outside of AJ Allmendinger and wrestled away the lead.
It didn’t come without its own shot of adrenaline though, as Berry smacked the outside wall exiting the fourth corner, while simultaneously making the pass for the lead stick on the regular-season champion.
From there, things were relatively smooth for Berry, who just had to defend a one-second-plus gap on his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier over the last 20 laps or so, a gap that began to shrink as the run continued forward.
However, the real cause for concern came in the final laps of the race, when Noah Gragson was able to clear his JR Motorsports teammate for the runner-up spot with less than five circuits to go. Gragson, who led a race-high 87 laps, was by far the best car throughout the event and began to close rapidly.
Ultimately, there wasn’t enough time for Gragson to secure his fifth win in the last seven races, coming up 1.125 seconds behind Berry, who captured the win in the Alsco Uniforms 302 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Justin Allgaier, despite smacking the wall on the final lap of the event, finished third, marking the second straight year that JR Motorsports has recorded a 1-2-3 finish at Las Vegas’ Fall event.
Ty Gibbs and Trevor Bayne, teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing, finished fourth and fifth. Austin Hill, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, and Anthony Alfredo rounded out the race’s top-10 finishers.
Hailie Deegan, making her NASCAR Xfinity Series debut for SS Green Light Racing, finished on a lead lap in a respectable 13th, marking the best debut by a female driver in the history of the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Hailie Deegan Scores Best Female NASCAR Xfinity Series Debut, Finishes 13th
Finishing 22nd, AJ Allmendinger ended a long-standing streak of top-20 results in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, after having both the right-front and right-rear tire loose on the final pit stop of the event.
Next, the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the penultimate event of the Round of 8 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. With Josh Berry locked in, it will be a slugfest between the other seven drivers still in contention.