Berry prevails in battle with teammate Allgaier for Xfinity win at Charlotte

In a dominant run by JR Motorsports on home turf, Josh Berry prevailed after a late battle with teammate Justin Allgaier before cruising to win the Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 28.

The 31-year-old Berry from Hendersonville, Tennessee, led five times for a race-high 89 of 200 laps, including the final 23 after intimidating and battling Allgaier for the top spot two laps earlier. Following those two intense laps of battling with his JR Motorsports teammate, Berry gained a huge advantage.

It enabled him to snatch the lead for good and drive away for the win when Allgaier got into the wall and eventually pitted under green due to a flat tire. Having an advantage of three-quarters of a mile over Ty Gibbs for the final 23 laps of the event, Berry proceeded to capture his second NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the season.

On-track qualifying to determine the starting lineup occurred on Friday and rookie Sam Mayer notched his first Xfinity career pole after recording a pole-winning lap at 179.892 mph in 30.018 seconds. Joining him on the front row was teammate Justin Allgaier, who posted a fast qualifying lap at 178.571 mph in 30.240 seconds.

Prior to the event, names like Ryan Vargas, Trevor Bayne, Brandon Jones, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ty Gibbs and Joe Graf Jr. dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to their respective cars. In addition, Riley Herbst dropped to the rear of the field as he started the event in a backup car.

When the green flag waved and the race started, Mayer took off with an early advantage while Ryan Preece battled and overtook Allgaier for the runner-up spot as the field made their way through the backstretch and back to the frontstretch.

Following the first lap, which was led by Mayer, Preece battled and overtook Mayer through the frontstretch during the following lap to assume the lead while JR Motorsports’ Noah Gragson, Allgaier and Mayer fanned out while battling for the runner-up spot. 

Two laps later, Gragson battled against teammates Allgaier and Mayer for the runner-up spot and muscled his No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro to the front as Preece and Allgaier fought for the runner-up spot. Behind, Mayer was overtaken by teammate Josh Berry for fourth place.

Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Gragson was leading by seven-tenths of a second over Preece followed by Berry, Allgaier and Mayer while AJ Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill, Austin Dillon and Jeb Burton were in the top 10. Brett Moffitt was in 11th followed by rookie Sheldon Creed, Brandon Jones, Ty Gibbs, rookie Austin Hill, Stefan Parsons, Ryan Sieg, Trevor Bayne, JJ Yeley and Jeremy Clements while Riley Herbst was in 22nd. By then, Brandon Brown had made an unscheduled pit stop under green to address a flat right-front tire.

Five laps later, the first caution of the event flew when Brandon Jones slipped sideways and spun below the banking in Turn 1 as he came back across the track while being dodged by the field. 

Another four laps later, the race resumed under green. At the start, Gragson rocketed to the lead followed by teammates Berry, Mayer and Allgaier while Preece slipped back to fifth through Turns 2 and 3. Not long after, however, the caution returned when Timmy Hill slipped sideways and spun against the outside wall in Turn 3.

When the race proceeded under green on Lap 25, Gragson retained the lead while Mayer, who slid up the track through Turn 1, was left battling teammate Berry for the runner-up spot in front of teammate Allgaier. Behind, Allmendinger made his move on Preece for fifth place before Preece regained his momentum and challenged Allgaier for fourth place. 

By Lap 30, Gragson was leading by nearly six-tenths of a second over teammate Berry while teammate Allgaier trailed by more than a second in third place. Preece was in fourth ahead of Allmendinger and Mayer while Hemric, Moffitt, Ty Gibbs and Trevor Bayne were in the top 10. By then, Jeb Burton made an unscheduled pit stop to address a flat right-front tire.

Just then, the third caution of the event flew when Brandon Brown got loose and spun below the apron in Turn 3.

When the race restarted under green on Lap 35, Josh Berry used the outside lane to his advantage as he assumed the lead while Gragson was left battling teammate Allgaier and Allmendinger for the runner-up spot. Behind, Daniel Hemric muscled his way into the top five ahead of Mayer, Preece and Moffitt while Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs and Bayne were in the top 10.

Through the first 40 scheduled laps, Berry extended his advantage to more than a second over teammate Allgaier while teammate Gragson trailed by two seconds in third place. Kaulig Racing’s Allmendinger and Hemric were in the top five followed by Mayer, Moffitt, Preece, Gibbs and Brandon Jones while Bayne, Creed, Ryan Sieg, Hill and Riley Herbst were in the top 15.

Shortly after, the caution flew due to a multi-car wreck on the frontstretch that involved Myatt Snider, Kyle Weatherman and Jeffrey Earnhardt. The caution was enough for the first stage, scheduled for Lap 45, to conclude under the yellow flag as Berry captured his fourth stage victory of the season. Teammates Allgaier and Gragson settled in second and third followed by Allmendinger, Hemric, Mayer, Preece, Ty Gibbs, Brandon Jones and Moffitt. During the caution period, Landon Cassill, who was in 16th, lost power on the backstretch and needed assistance back to his pit stall while his crew went to work to diagnose a fuel pump issue to his No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

Under the stage break, the leaders led by Berry pitted and Allgaier exited with the lead followed by Berry, Brandon Jones, Mayer, Hemric and Allmendinger. During the pit stops, Gragson’s pit crew popped the hood up on the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro to address a potential mechanical issue.

The second stage started on Lap 49 as teammates Allgaier and Berry occupied the front row. At the start, Allgaier retained the lead after receiving a push from teammate Mayer while teammates Berry and Mayer battled behind for the runner-up spot in front of Allmendinger and Brandon Jones.

Through the following lap, Berry challenged Allgaier for the lead on the inside lane through Turns 3 and 4, but Allgaier managed to use the outside lane to fight back through the frontstretch. Then, as Berry tried to clear Allgaier in Turn 1, he slipped up the track and Allgaier used the crossover move on the inside lane to reassume the lead as teammate Mayer joined the battle. 

By Lap 60, Allgaier continued to lead by eight-tenths of a second over teammate Berry while Mayer trailed by more than a second in third place. Allmendinger and Brandon Jones were in the top five ahead of Hemric, Gibbs, Bayne, Preece and Creed while Herbst, Sieg, Moffitt, Hill, Austin Dillon, Snider, Clements, Anthony Alfredo, Jeb Burton and Bayley Currey were in the top 20.

Nearly 15 laps later, the caution flew when Jeb Burton got loose and spun from the top to the bottom lane in Turn 1. By then, Allgaier led by nearly a second over teammate Berry while Mayer, Allmendinger and Brandon Jones remained in the top five. 

When the race restarted under green on Lap 78, the front-runners fanned out as Allgaier just managed to stay ahead of Mayer and Allmendinger while Berry slipped back to fifth. 

During the following lap, Brandon Jones slipped sideways again through Turns 3 and 4 while running in the top five, but he managed to keep his No. 19 Menards Toyota Supra straight and running despite losing a bevy of spots as the race proceeded under green.

Back at the front, Allgaier was ahead by nearly nine-tenths of a second over Mayer while Berry worked his way back to third place ahead of Allmendinger and Bayne.

When the second stage concluded on Lap 90 amid the on-track actions and battles ensuing around the track, Allgaier captured his third stage victory of the season. Berry worked his way back into the runner-up spot followed by Mayer, Bayne, Preece, Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs, Creed, Hemric and Moffitt.

Under the stage break, the leaders led by Allgaier returned to pit road for adjustments and Berry reassumed the lead after exiting with the top spot followed by Bayne, Mayer, Allgaier, Creed and Preece. During the pit stops, Allgaier lost three spots due to an issue with changing the left-front tire on his No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Following the pit stops, Creed was penalized for an uncontrolled tire violation while Josh Williams was penalized for speeding on pit road. In addition, Nicholas Sanchez was penalized for removing the jack out of his pit box while Joe Graf Jr. was penalized for a safety violation.

With 101 laps remaining, the final stage commenced. At the start, Berry and Bayne dueled for the lead for a full lap as Berry emerged ahead to lead the halfway mark on Lap 100.

During the following lap, Berry cleared the field to retain the lead while Preece muscled his way into the runner-up spot. Behind, Allgaier and Bayne battled for third place while Mayer was in fifth ahead of Allmendinger.

Then with 97 laps remaining, the caution flew when Riley Herbst blew a right-front tire and scrapped his No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang against the outside wall in Turn 3.

With 91 laps remaining, the race restarted under green as Berry and Preece occupied the front row. At the start, Berry and Preece battled for the lead until Preece managed to pull his No. 5 Hunt Brother’s Pizza Ford Mustang ahead in Turn 3. Behind, however, the caution returned again due to another multi-car wreck that involved Austin Dillon, Ryan Sieg, Anthony Alfredo, Stefan Parsons and Joe Graf Jr. 

Following an extensive caution period, the race restarted under green with 81 laps remaining, At the start, Berry battled and fended off Preece to lead while Allgaier moved into the runner-up spot ahead of Preece. Behind, Mayer was in fourth ahead of Bayne, Hill, Allmendinger, Gibbs, Hemric and Brandon Jones.

With 70 laps remaining, Berry was leading by nearly seven-tenths of a second over teammate Allgaier while third-place Preece trailed by nearly three seconds. Mayer was in fourth ahead of Bayne while Hill, Gibbs, Brandon Jones, Gragson and Hemric occupied the top 10. In the midst of the on-track action, Allmendinger pitted under green to address a flat tire and lost two laps in the process.

Ten laps later, Berry continued to lead by more than a second over Allgaier while Mayer was in third place, trailing by more than seven seconds. Behind, Bayne passed Preece to move into fourth while Gibbs was in sixth. Gragson, meanwhile, was up to eighth in between Brandon Jones and Hill while Hemric was in 10th ahead of Creed.

Another 10 laps later, Berry led the field by three-tenths of a second over Allgaier who was methodically closing in on him. Behind, Mayer and Bayne remained in third and fourth while Ty Gibbs overtook Preece to move into the top five. Soon after, Brandon Jones rallied his way into sixth place while Preece fell back to seventh. By then, 17 of 38 starters were scored on the lead lap.

A few laps later, Creed pitted his No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet Camaro. He was soon followed by Clements, Josh Williams, Bailey Currey, Preece, Hemric and Bayne as a cycle of green-flag pit stops ensued. During the pit stops, Bayne and Austin Hill were both penalized for speeding on pit road. 

Nearing the final 40 laps, teammates Berry and Allgaier pitted from the top-two spots as Gragson, who still had to make a pit stop, emerged out in front. Once Gragson pitted with 38 laps remaining, Allgaier cycled his way into the lead by a narrow margin over teammate Berry while third-place Preece trailed by nine seconds.

With 30 laps remaining, Allgaier retained the lead by nearly four-tenths of a second over teammate Berry while third-place Preece trailed the two leaders by more than 11 seconds. Meanwhile, Gibbs and Mayer were in the top five while Brandon Jones, Gragson, Hemric, Garrett Smithley and Creed were in the top 10.

Then with 25 laps remaining, teammates Allgaier and Berry duked it out for the lead through the frontstretch. As Berry made a move on the inside lane and slid up the track in Turn 1, Allgaier pulled a crossover move beneath Berry through the backstretch. They nearly made contact against one another through Turn 3 before Allgaier pulled ahead in Turn 4. Just then, Allgaier made contact with the outside wall in Turn 1. This allowed Berry, who had repeatedly pressured Allgaier for the lead, to surge ahead to the top spot, though Allgaier kept his teammate within his sights. 

Under the final 20 laps, Berry stabilized his advantage to more than two-tenths of a second over teammate Allgaier while Preece, who trailed by more than 16 seconds, was under pressure by Ty Gibbs for third place.

Nearing the final 15 laps, the battle for the lead ignited once again between teammates Berry and Allgaier amid lapped traffic as Allgaier tried to issue another challenge for the lead. Then shortly after, Allgaier made contact with the wall in Turn 1. He then made contact with the wall again in Turn 3 as he cut a tire and was forced to pit under green. 

Down to the final 10 laps of the event, Berry was out in front by more than 16 seconds over Ty Gibbs while Mayer, Preece and Gragson occupied the top five. Hemric was the last competitor scored on the lead lap in sixth place while Creed was the first competitor a lap down in seventh place. Allgaier, meanwhile, was back in eighth place, a lap down, while Bayne and Myatt Snider were in the top 10.

With five laps remaining, Berry stabilized his advantage to more than 16 seconds over Gibbs.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Berry remained as the leader by nearly 17 seconds over Gibbs. Having a huge lead to his advantage, Berry easily cycled his way back to the frontstretch and went on to claim his second checkered flag of the season.

With the victory, Berry notched his first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, his second Xfinity Series victory of the season and the fourth win of his career in his 42nd series start. The victory was also a first at Charlotte in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports as Berry became the third multi-winner of this year’s Xfinity season.

“Man, it’s so amazing,” Berry, who led a race-high 89 of 200, said on FS1. “This car was so good. [Crew chief] Mike [Bumgarner] and this whole group have worked so hard. We’ve been getting better every week. I think the sky’s the limits as we continue to learn about each other and keep getting better. I’m so happy for Harrison’s USA. This is their home track…Just truly so amazing. Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. and Kelley [Earnhardt Miller], LW [Miller], thank you, all of you, for what you do. That was a battle with Justin [Allgaier]. It always is with us. We always just seem to run good at the same places and always have to race each other, but he slipped up in [Turn] 1. I got loose too. I was following off him and he got loose. I got loose, too. Man, it all worked out.”

Finishing in second place and 18 seconds behind Berry was Ty Gibbs, who won the spring Xfinity Charlotte event a year ago, while Mayer, Gragson and Preece finished in the top five.

Hemric came home in sixth place and as the final competitor on the lead lap while Allgaier, Creed, Bayne and Snider finished in the top 10 amid a lapped behind.

“[I’m] Just proud of our team,” Allgaier, who led 63 laps, said. “After the first contact into the wall, I kind of felt like maybe the right rear [tire] was going soft and ultimately, it ended up going down. I got the fence again and had to pit under green, so just disappointing, but congrats to Josh and this whole JR Motorsports team. It’s nice to have the momentum we’ve got right now. We’re gonna keep riding that high.”

There were 12 lead changes for five different leaders. The race featured eight cautions for 44 laps.

With the first half of the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series regular-season stretch complete, AJ Allmendinger leads the standings by 33 points over Noah Gragson, 40 over Ty Gibbs, 58 over Justin Allgaier and 60 over Josh Berry.

AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, Brandon Jones and rookie Austin Hill are currently guaranteed spots for the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs based on winning at least once throughout the regular-season stretch. Sam Mayer, Riley Herbst, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill and Ryan Sieg occupy the remaining vacant spots in the Playoffs as winless competitors. Anthony Alfredo trails the cutline by 48 points, Jeb Burton trails by 50, rookie Sheldon Creed trails by 59, Brett Moffitt trails by 73, Brandon Browns trails by 76, Myatt Snider trails by 122 and Jeremy Clements trails by 129.

Results.

1. Josh Berry, 89 laps led, Stage 1 winner

2. Ty Gibbs

3. Sam Mayer, two laps led

4. Noah Gragson, 36 laps led

5. Ryan Preece, 10 laps led

6. Daniel Hemric

7. Justin Allgaier, one lap down, 63 laps led, Stage 2 winner

8. Sheldon Creed, one lap down

9. Trevor Bayne, one lap down

10. Myatt Snider, one lap down

11. Brett Moffitt, one lap down

12. Jeb Burton, one lap down

13. Ryan Ellis, one lap down

14. Austin Hill, one lap down

15. Bayley Currey, two laps down

16. Brandon Jones, two laps down

17. Brandon Brown, two laps down

18. JJ Yeley, two laps down

19. AJ Allmendinger, two laps down

20. Matt Mills, two laps down 

21.  Garrett Smithley, three laps down

22. Jeremy Clements, three laps down

23. CJ McLaughlin, four laps down

24. Shane Lee, four laps down

25. Riley Herbst, four laps down

26. Ryan Vargas, 13 laps down

27. Josh Williams – OUT, Suspension

28. Nicholas Sanchez – OUT, Ignition

29. Landon Cassill, 69 laps down

30. Stefan Parsons, – OUT, Accident

31. Austin Dillon – OUT, Accident

32. Ryan Sieg – OUT, Accident

33. Anthony Alfredo – OUT, Accident

34. Joe Graf Jr. – OUT, Accident

35. Brennan Poole – OUT, Brakes

36. Kyle Weatherman – OUT, Accident

37. Jeffrey Earnhardt – OUT, Accident

38. Timmy Hill – OUT, Accident

Next on the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season is the series’ inaugural visit to Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon. The event is scheduled to occur on Saturday, June 4, at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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