In a season that had been marked by several highs and lows, defending CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour champion Josh Berry  managed to put together a complete race and pick up his first victory of the 2018 CARS LMSC Tour season after holding off a late charge from Lee Pulliam at Hickory Motor Speedway.

“We had an awesome car tonight,” Berry said. “Typically, it was a little bit against what we do by leading like that, but we just didn’t want to get caught up in the pack, lose track position and start beating and banging and tearing stuff up. I just felt like that we had a good enough car to try and manage it while in the Top 3. Lee was good there at the end, but it was too little, too late for him.”

Berry had the Throwback 276 circled on his calendar prior to the start of the season, but saw the race as a way to boost his momentum in the final stretch of the season after finishing second in the Cloer Construction 300 earlier this year. Berry showed speed throughout the entire weekend, as he was in the Top 10 in both practice sessions, and was able to carry over that speed into qualifying by starting on pole.

The start of the race went according to plan for the Hendersonville, Tennessee native, as he edged out outside polesitter Deac McCaskill on the initial start, and was able to get everyone to follow him in a single-file line through the first 40 laps. Berry was able to hold the lead through a couple more restarts, but would soon receive a strong challenge from Layne Riggs in the #10 Nesquik Late Model.

On Lap 75, Riggs was able to run down Berry for the top spot before putting his bumper to Berry’s rear end, causing him to briefly lose control of his car and slide up out of the groove, giving Riggs the lead. Riggs admitted that he did not forget about the late-race accident between him and Berry at Carteret County Speedway that ended up costing him the victory, but was glad that the veteran raced him cleanly throughout the entire race.

“Carteret County was definitely in the back of my mind,” Riggs said. “I gave him a little nudge, and he would have done the same to me. I knew he wouldn’t hit me back in the next corner, but at the end of the night, it’s just racing.”

Riggs would hold the lead for the next 27 laps until a caution caused by Mason Diaz losing control of his car on the backstretch set up a late-race restart. Riggs elected to stay on the inside lane, but Berry proved to have the stronger car at the end of the race, as he passed Riggs on the outside line, and pulled away from the rest of the field to win the Throwback 276.

Saturday evening’s win for Berry was special for many reasons, as he was sporting a throwback scheme that paid tribute to JR Motorsports employee and former driver LW Miller, while also picking up his 50th win behind the wheel of a Late Model. Berry has been overwhelmed by the amount of success he has obtained in Late Model racing on the East Coast, and is confident that he can continue to build on his well-established resume for many years to come.

“If you had told me eight years ago when I started racing that I would win 50 races, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Berry said. “There was a point in my career where I didn’t even have a chance of driving a Late Model, so to drive a Late Model, win multiple championships, and now win 50 races, that’s just something I still can’t believe to this day.

Nelson Motorsports driver Timothy Peters, who was a late entry to the Throwback 276, quietly put together a solid night and brought home a third place finish. Current CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour points leader Bobby McCarty ended up fourth, while Riggs’ car faded over the last 25 laps, forcing him to come home in fifth place.

 

 

Unofficial LMSC Results:

1. 73 Josh Berry
2. 5 Lee Pulliam
3. 12 Timothy Peters
4. 77m Bobby McCarty
5. 10 Layne Riggs
6. 60 Deac McCaskill
7. 28 Sam Mayer
8. 6 Charlie Watson
9. 2 Cody Haskins
10. 22 Bradley McCaskill
11. 36 Cole Glasson
12. 77d Dylon Wilson
13. 51 Grayson Cullather
14. 24 Mason Diaz
15. 2L Kevin Leicht
16. 17m Austin McDaniel
17. 17 Craig Moore
18. 2p Brandon Pierce
19. 27 Ronald Hill
20. 4 Craig Stallard -1
21. 5h Riley Herbst OUT
22. 29 Mitch Walker OUT
23. 3 Chris Denny OUT
24. 54 Tommy Lemons Jr. OUT
25. 5b Thomas Beane OUT
26. 7 Justin Carroll OUT
27. 18 Ty Gibbs OUT
28. 75 Landon Huffman OUT