Josh Berry entered the Radley Cadillac & Chevrolet 125 at Dominion Raceway determined to shake off two disappointing finishes at Motor Mile Speedway and Langley Speedway that came as a result of late-race contact.
Berry accomplished his goal by engaging in an intense battle with Bobby McCarty over the second half of the Late Model feature, which concluded with Berry making an aggressive move on McCarty that allowed him to drive away with the victory.
“This was awesome,” Berry said. “We decided to bide our time at the beginning. It was very hot out there and we wanted to see what we had when it cooled off. McCarty looked like he was getting tight late in the race and we were able to get runs underneath of him. Thankfully we were able to get the lead and coast our way to the win.”
Berry and McCarty established themselves as the two best drivers at Dominion in qualifying, as McCarty earned the pole with a time of 15.090 while Berry followed closely behind him with a 15.096.
McCarty would have the advantage at the start of the race by pulling away with a comfortable lead, but Berry managed to use the high line to pressure McCarty and briefly take the lead away on a restart.
Two cautions on Lap 26 would change the complexion of the race, as Camden Gullie lost an engine on the backstretch and laid down oil on the track, while Mason Diaz, Trevor Ward and others were eliminated in an accident on the following restart after several drivers slipped in the speedy dry in Turn 4.
Both incidents required the drivers to make several laps around the track to work the speedy dry in, which forced the drivers to come down pit road on Lap 66 for fuel.
McCarty was not pleased with how everything unfolded following the two Lap 26 cautions, adding that the additional fuel needed to finish the remainder of the race ultimately cost him an opportunity to pick up his second win of the year.
“It’s a bad situation for everyone to be in,” McCarty said. “We didn’t want to add the fuel because the balance was just right on our car, but because we had to make so many laps to dry the track, it ultimately forced our hand. We put fuel in and the balance went away. I couldn’t role the center like I needed to in Turn 1 and Josh could.”
With McCarty’s car fading, Berry found the opening he needed on Lap 77, as he drove his #88 All Things Automotive Chevrolet hard into Turn 3, which moved McCarty up out of the groove and gave Berry a lead that he would not surrender for the rest of the evening.
Berry’s win made him the first driver to visit victory lane for the second time during the 2019 CARS LMSC Tour season, but he admitted that he was relieved to bring home that checkered flag after surrendering so much ground to McCarty in the past few races.
“It’s obviously a big deal,” Berry said. “We haven’t raced here a lot, so it means a lot to come up here with a new racecar and run as good as we did. It really shows the strength of our team, but even though we haven’t had a good last couple of races, tonight showed that if you bring fast cars, you’ll find yourselves in good spots.”
Berry is expected to re-take the points lead following Dominion, but he stated that he is not focused on the championship and is ready to move on to the CARS LMSC Tour’s next race at Carteret County Speedway on July 13th.
Radley Cadillac & Chevrolet 125 Results:
1. 88 Josh Berry
2. 22 Bobby McCarty
3. 2 Brandon Pierce
4. 81 Mini Tyrrell
5. 99 Layne Riggs
6. 88b Doug Barnes Jr.
7. 08 Deac McCaskill
8. 7 Michael Hardin
9. 63 Tyler Matthews
10. 74 Ronald Hill
11. 98 Adam Lemke
12. 55 Howie DiSavino Jr.
13. 1 Craig Moore -1
14. 17p Stacy Puryear -1
15. 91 Justin S. Carroll -1
16. 57 Justin Carroll -1
17. 90 Terry Carroll -1
18. 19c Jessica Cann -4
19. 4 Jonathan Findley OUT
20. 19 Cameron Bowen OUT
21. 12 Mason Diaz OUT
22. 77 Trevor Ward OUT
23. 07 Camden Gullie OUT