Josh Berry qualified on the pole and never relinquished the lead in the CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car race at Motor Mile Speedway despite challenges from Bobby McCarty on every restart. Never, that is until the caution waved with less than 1/3 of a lap left in the race.
Under CARS Tour rules, the field was reracked for a restart and Berry took the lead again, however, after taking the white flag for the second time on the night, Berry’s dominance came to an end off the front bumper of McCarty’s car in turn one.
The caution would wave again with McCarty not being penalized for the contact and Berry relegated to the rear of the field. McCarty would take the outside line on the restart and hold off Justin Carroll in a photo-finish at the line.
McCarty was apologetic for the contact with Berry.
“I really hate that with the 88,” McCarty said in victory lane. “I really do. He knows I don’t race that way. He was trying to pinch me and I was trying to move him up a little bit and we hit wheels and it yanked the wheel right out of my hand.”
“I wouldn’t wreck nobody for a win, I never have and never will. That was just a racing incident and hopefully him and I can talk about it and come to an agreement.”
Berry didn’t see it as just a racing incident.
“I led 124 and 3/4 laps and the caution come out,” Berry said. “Bobby got a good start and got up under me coming up off of four and he ran in there and we hit and I got turned around.”
“I learned a long time ago this thing about disgruntled racers. When they don’t win in a long time and they spend a whole lot of money and have a whole lot of help and still don’t win the pressure gets to you and I think that’s what happened to him.”
Berry finished 14th after the final restart after coming into the event 19 points ahead of McCarty for the championship points lead.
While McCarty was apologetic for the contact with Berry he was glad to be back in victory lane.
“It means a lot,” McCarty commented. “It’s a testament to Nelson Motorsports. My wife and son is here and it’s the first time they’ve come in the pits in a long time. It’s a really cool moment for me.”
McCarty was worried late in the race when the caution came out but had to take the outside line because his car wasn’t handling great and knew Justin Carroll would race him clean.
“When that caution came out, I was actually really worried. Those cautions cause problems. You never know how they’ll play out. I didn’t whether to take the inside or the outside there on the final restart. I was losing forward drive, that’s where the 88 was killing me. We took the outside and Justin is a really clean racer, he’ll race you hard but he races clean. Hope the fans enjoyed the show.”
Carroll after bad luck early in the most recent CARS Tour race at Ace Speedway was happy to be in a position to win the race at the end.
“We had a good car, not quite a winning car,” Carroll told RACE22.com. “I think Josh had the best car here tonight but things got crazy there at the end. We were in position to win, we ran third and fourth all night and that put us in position to win the race.”
CARS Tour and Late Model Stock Car newcomer Sammy Smith finished third in his second career Late Model Stock Car start.
“It was an up and down night for sure,” Smith told RACE22.com. “We fell back to ninth and I was fighting loose in all night. Two cars got spun out and I was able to avoid them and we were in a good spot on the restart.”
Brandon Pierce finished fourth after late race contact with Ryan Repko. Tommy Lemons, Jr. rallied from being involved in a lap 81 crash that took out much of the field to finish fifth. Chad McCumbee, Deac McCaskill, Mini Tyrrell, Tyler Matthews and Ronald Hill completed the top ten finishers in a 28-car field.
1 – Bobby McCarty #22
2 – Justin Carroll #57
3 – Sammy Smith #12
4 – Brandon Pierce #2
5 – Tommy Lemons, Jr. #27
6 – Chad McCumbee #16
7 – Deac McCaskill #08
8 – Mini Tyrrell #81
9 – Tyler Matthews #63
10 – Ronald Hill #74
11 – Craig Moore #1
12 – Taylor Gray #17
13 – Stacy Puryear #17
14 – Josh Berry #88
15 – Ryan Repko #14
16 – Trevor Ward #77
17 – Jessica Cann #19
18 – Matt Cox #51
19 – Adam Lemke #98
20 – Layne Riggs #99
21 – Drew Dollar #54
22 – Terry Brooks, Jr. #23
23 – Zach St. Onge #25
24 – Derek Kale #22
25 – Jonathan Findley #4
26 – Camden Gullie #07
27 – Cameron Bowen #19
28 – Brody Pope #1