Josh Berry Claims First NASCAR Xfinity Series Victory at Martinsville

Josh Berry claims his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Martinsville Speedway in the Cook Out 250 in the rain delayed race on Sunday afternoon.

Josh Berry claims his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Martinsville Speedway in the Cook Out 250 in the rain delayed race on Sunday afternoon.

After waiting nearly two days for the Sunday conclusion of the Cook Out 250 at Martinsville Speedway, it was a worthwhile delay for the late model ace, Josh Berry.

Josh Berry Claims First NASCAR Xfinity Series Victory at Martinsville

Driving for JR Motorsports car owners Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Berry took the lead from Ty Gibbs on lap 223 of 250 and held it the rest of the way to win his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race in his 13th start.

In a race that was halted by rain after 91 laps on Friday night and restarted at noon on Sunday, Berry beat JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson to the finish line by 0.590 seconds. Both Gragson and Daniel Hemric passed Gibbs during the closing run to finish second and third, respectively.

For Gragson, that meant an extra payday of $100,000 as the highest finisher among four eligible Xfinity Dash 4 Cash drivers. 

The No. 8 Returns to Victory Lane

But the day belonged to Berry, who led a race-high 95 laps, ten before the rain arrived on Friday and 85 on Sunday. Berry is the first driver to win an Xfinity race in the No. 8 car since Earnhardt Jr. prevailed at Michigan in 2006.

“Oh, gosh, I have so many people I could thank I could be here until tomorrow morning,” Berry said after climbing from his car on the frontstretch at the .526-mile short track. “Just Dale, L.W. (Miller), Kelley, everybody for believing in me, everyone on this No. 8 team. 

“Man, they’ve been through a lot the last couple of years. Had a ton of different drivers. Man, I wanted to win so bad for these guys. They’re such a great group. I knew this would be a good opportunity to win. (Crew chief) Taylor (Moyer) called a perfect race. The car was good, and we just kept tweaking on it. The tires were pretty worn out there at the end. I was struggling a little bit with wheel-hop… This is just unbelievable.”

Dash 4 Cash Winner is Gragson

Gragson had good reason to feel mixed emotions about finishing second to a driver he called “a legend in short-track racing.” The driver of the No. 9 JRM Chevrolet had to play defense during the final run to keep Hemric behind him.

“I really wanted to win there,” Gragson said, “but I was having to protect the bottom to keep the guys behind me from moving me out of the way. I couldn’t open up my arc the way I needed to and make speed with that.”

The Dash 4 Cash bonus was a welcome consolation.

“One hundred thousand dollars richer,” Gragson said, displaying the big check. “I’m pumped up. Great 1-2 finish for our team at JR Motorsports.”

The Best of the Rest

Gibbs held the fourth spot, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones, who had just taken the lead from Berry when storms stopped the action on Friday night. 

Series leader and defending champion Austin Cindric ran sixth, with Harrison Burton, Justin Haley, Justin Allgaier, and Michael Annett completing the top-ten. All four JR Motorsports drivers finished in the top-ten (Berry, Gragson, Allgaier, and Annett).

Though he’s not driving in the series full-time, Berry also earned eligibility for the Dash 4 Cash bonus in the April 24 Xfinity race at Talladega, along with Gragson, Hemric, and Jones.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Cook Out 250

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Friday, April 9, 2021

               1. (29)  Josh Berry #, Chevrolet, 250.

               2. (8)  Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 250.

               3. (4)  Daniel Hemric, Toyota, 250.

               4. (16)  Ty Gibbs #, Toyota, 250.

               5. (24)  Brandon Jones, Toyota, 250.

               6. (6)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 250.

               7. (1)  Harrison Burton, Toyota, 250.

               8. (5)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 250.

               9. (2)  Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 250.

               10. (10)  Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 250.

               11. (13)  Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 250.

               12. (27)  Brett Moffitt(i), Chevrolet, 250.

               13. (3)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 250.

               14. (11)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 250.

               15. (9)  Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, 250.

               16. (15)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 250.

               17. (25)  Brandon Gdovic, Toyota, 250.

               18. (37)  George Gorham Jr., Chevrolet, 250.

               19. (30)  Jade Buford, Chevrolet, 250.

               20. (38)  Stefan Parsons, Toyota, 249.

               21. (39)  Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 249.

               22. (34)  David Starr, Toyota, 249.

               23. (12)  Ryan Sieg, Ford, 249.

               24. (33)  JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 249.

               25. (31)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 249.

               26. (26)  Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 249.

               27. (19)  Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 248.

               28. (40)  Matt Jaskol, Toyota, 248.

               29. (7)  Riley Herbst, Ford, 248.

               30. (20)  Timmy Hill, Toyota, 248.

               31. (22)  Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 248.

               32. (21)  Jesse Little, Chevrolet, 245.

               33. (36)  Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 241.

               34. (17)  Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 231.

               35. (32)  Blaine Perkins, Chevrolet, 226.

               36. (18)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, Suspension, 213.

               37. (14)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Engine, 197.

               38. (28)  Joe Graf Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 179.

               39. (23)  Colby Howard, Chevrolet, Suspension, 153.

               40. (35)  Ryan Vargas #, Chevrolet, Accident, 97.

The Cook Out 250 Stats

Average Speed of Race Winner:  59.758 mph.

Time of Race:  Two Hrs, 12 Mins, Two Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.590 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  12 for 75 laps.

Lead Changes:  13 among nine drivers.

Lap Leaders:   H. Burton 1-52;N. Gragson 53-63;B. Moffitt(i) 64-70;B. Jones 71-77;J. Berry # 78-87;B. Jones 88-96;D. Hemric 97-124;N. Gragson 125;T. Joe Martins 126-130;J. Berry # 131-179;B. Currey 180-186;J. Berry # 187-193;T. Gibbs # 194-221;J. Berry # 222-250.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Josh Berry # four times for 95 laps; Harrison Burton one time for 52 laps; Daniel Hemric one time for 28 laps; Ty Gibbs # one time for 28 laps; Brandon Jones two times for 16 laps; Noah Gragson two times for 12 laps; Bayley Currey one time for seven laps; Brett Moffitt(i) one time for seven laps; Tommy Joe Martins one time for five laps.

Stage 1 Top-Ten: 9,22,11,54,68,2,51,17,0,74

Stage 2 Top-Ten: 18,9,10,1,51,44,99,17,90,8