Josh Berry celebrates in victory lane after dominating the Old North State Nationals at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Sunday to claim a $30,000 paycheck. (Photo: Brandon White)

Josh Berry capped off a perfect week that included a NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series championship and earning a part-time Xfinity Series ride by dominating the Old North State Nationals at Greenville-Pickens Speedway to claim the $30,000 race-winning paycheck.

Sunday was the first time Berry had competed in a Solid Rock Carriers CARS LMSC Tour event since his suspension following an on-track accident between him and Bobby McCarty at Ace Speedway, but he provided the field a strong reminder as to why he is the division’s all-time wins leader.

“This is truly unbelievable,” Berry said. “These guys have done such a great job all year staying on top of things. We ran a lot of laps Friday and Saturday, and all of that payed off today. I knew taking tires with 100 laps to go was too early, and we were in a prime position with new tires by restarting eighth after the second rain delay.”

Berry surrendered the lead from the pole to Deac McCaskill before he himself was passed by Layne Riggs, who studied the advantage of running the top side during the three heat races on Saturday and used it to assume control of the race.

After passing McCaskill for second, Berry attempted to use the bottom line to power his way by Riggs, but the 2017 CARS LMSC Tour champion was forced to tuck in line and ride behind Riggs until a competition caution was displayed at Lap 68.

On the ensuing restart, Berry worked his way by the slower cars of Chad McCumbee and Peyton Sellers, both of which had stayed out under caution, to retake the lead, and proceeded to pull away before a crash by Boo Boo Dalton slowed the pace once again.

Berry, Mike Looney and several others elected to save a set of tires for the end of the race while Riggs led a group of cars down pit road. Riggs and the other cars that pitted methodically worked their back towards the front of the pack, but proved unable to catch Berry at the front.

Berry believed that the race was in his hands when a rain delay halted the Old North State Nationals with 52 laps remaining, but he admitted that patience would be imperative depending on how many cars decided to come with him to get fresh tires once the yellow flag was displayed.

“We were concerned about how many cars would stay out during the break, but only seven did,” Berry said. “We lined up eighth with fresh tires, but you’re always worried about getting caught up in a wreck and you have to control what you can control. I felt like we put ourselves in the best position to win.”

Berry wasted no time charging towards the lead and found himself on Riggs’ rear bumper after only ten laps. A strong run by Berry under Riggs in Turn 3 gave him the momentum to drive away from Riggs and easily claim his 19th CARS LMSC Tour win.

Only one year removed from leading every lap in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, Berry had been looking forward to the Old North State Nationals after narrowly missing out on a win in the event last year and was thrilled to merely have the opportunity to take the green flag on Sunday afternoon.

“The last week has been such a whirlwind for me,” Berry said. “I haven’t processed everything yet, but this is another one we were waiting to check off. It’s been such and amazing season and I’m very thankful to be here, but I’m also looking forward to having some time off.”

Riggs ended up finishing third behind Corey Heim while McCaskill and Jonathan Findley completed the Top 5. Jared Fryar, who finished 13th, claimed the 2020 CARS LMSC Tour championship by just one point over Riggs.

Old North State Nationals Results:

  1. 8 Josh Berry
  2. 78 Corey Heim
  3. 99 Layne Riggs
  4. 19 Deac McCaskill
  5. 4 Jonathan Findley
  6. 22 Bobby McCarty
  7. 1 Nolan Pope
  8. 16 Chad McCumbee
  9. 99s Austin Somero
  10. 88 Connor Mosack
  11. 87 Mike Looney
  12. 08 Justin Johnson
  13. 14 Jared Fryar -1
  14. 67 Cameron Bolin -1
  15. 40 Taylor Satterfield -1
  16. 63 Tyler Matthews -1
  17. 2 Brandon Pierce -1
  18. 2c Ralph Carnes -1
  19. 12 Timothy Peters OUT
  20. 19c Jessica Cann -7
  21. 112 Trey Gibson OUT
  22. 51 Matt Cox OUT
  23. 54 Mike Darne OUT
  24. 26 Peyton Sellers OUT
  25. 09 Riley Gentry OUT
  26. 10 Janson Marchbanks OUT
  27. 50 Boo Boo Dalton OUT
  28. 74 Ronald Hill OUT
  29. 81 Mini Tyrrell OUT
  30. 28 Jackie Manley OUT
  31. 41 Jeremy Burns DNS
  32. 41a Anthony Anders DNS