Josh Berry Wins at Las Vegas for his Place in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Final Four

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 15: Josh Berry, driver of the #8 Harrison’s USA Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 302 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 15, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Josh Berry wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his place in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Final Four in the Alsco Uniforms 302 on Saturday afternoon.

Las Vegas, Nev. –  Josh Berry’s resume would indicate he’s a top-shelf short-track racer, but the JR Motorsports driver may need to expand that profile. Berry’s No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet led a commanding 65 laps en route to the win in the Alsco Uniforms 302 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday – his second victory in the last three races on the high-banked 1.5-miler.

Josh Berry Wins at Las Vegas for his Place in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Final Four

Berry took the lead from A.J. Allmendinger with 34 laps remaining – the pair racing hard side-by-side at the front of the field on a late-race restart. Berry even got shoved into the outside wall before recovering and moving into the lead for his fifth career win.

The Las Vegas native Noah Gragson – who led a race-best 87 laps and earned his season-leading 14th stage win – finished second, 1.125-seconds behind Berry. Justin Allgaier was third, solidifying a JR Motorsports one-two-three podium-sweeping effort.

The win is hugely significant, earning Berry the automatic position in the Championship 4 for the season finale at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 5 – his first opportunity to race for the season title.

“I think I hit the wall like 12 times,’’ Berry told his team on the radio during the cool-down lap.

When the 31-year-old Tennessee native ultimately climbed out of his Chevy at the finish line, he took time to remove his helmet – standing alongside his Chevy and soaking in the importance of the day and the championship implications – far removed from his job as a bank teller years ago.

“I was a little bit tight off (turn) four the whole time, and [Allmendinger] left me a lane but nothing extra, but I wasn’t letting off,’’ said Berry, who hadn’t led a lap in the last six races. “That was for a trip to Phoenix and I was willing to hit the wall or whatever. We’ve had a tough couple weeks or months, but we knew we could do this if we were at our best.

“Had a caution with 30 to go and was able to wrestle the lead away from those guys and build enough of a [points] gap to keep it,’’ Berry said. “I tell you, I’m just speechless.’’

Berry’s Xfinity Series Win is a Big Day for Chevrolet at Las Vegas

Berry’s NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway also capped a memorable afternoon for Chevrolet. It marked Chevy’s 500th all-time win in the series and it clinched Chevrolet’s sixth consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series Manufacturer’s Championship.

Allmendinger’s Kaulig Team Loses his Chance at Victory

Allmendinger – the regular-season champion had to pit under green flag conditions shortly after racing Berry up front for the lead – a pair of loose tires ultimately derailing his day. Allmendinger’s 22nd-place finish in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet was the lowest among the eight current Playoff drivers.

The Best of the Rest

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Gibbs and former DAYTONA 500 winner Trevor Bayne completed the top-five Saturday. Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill, JRM’s Sam Mayer, Kaulig Racing’s Daniel Hemric, JGR’s Brandon Jones, and Our Motorsports’ Anthony Alfredo rounded out the top ten.

Allmendinger was the only Playoff driver with a finish outside the top ten.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Point Standings

With Berry’s win, he has an automatic berth into the Championship 4, Gragson now leads the standings by 19 points over Gibbs and 29-points ahead of Allgaier.

Hill (-15), Allmendinger (-16), Jones (-29), and Mayer (-36) head into the next round needing to make up points with two races remaining – at Homestead-Miami and Martinsville, Va. – to set the four-car championship lineup for Phoenix.

Hailie Deegan Places Top-15 in her Xfinity Series Debut

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standout Hailie Deegan made her NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Las Vegas – earning a very respectable 13th-place finish in her first race.

“I’m pretty excited right now, the guys gave me an amazing car,’’ Deegan said, noting that she would love the opportunity to race more in the Xfinity Series should a sponsor step up for funding.

Next Up

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to Playoff action in next week’s NASCAR triple-header weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Saturday’s Contender Boats 300 (4:30 p.m. ET, USA Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Myatt Snider is the defending race winner.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 5th Annual Alsco Uniforms 302

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Saturday, October 15, 2022

                    1. (12)  Josh Berry (P), Chevrolet, 201.

                    2. (4)  Noah Gragson (P), Chevrolet, 201.

                    3. (10)  Justin Allgaier (P), Chevrolet, 201.

                    4. (3)  Ty Gibbs (P), Toyota, 201.

                    5. (2)  Trevor Bayne (P), Toyota, 201.

                    6. (8)  Austin Hill # (P), Chevrolet, 201.

                    7. (5)  Sam Mayer (P), Chevrolet, 201.

                    8. (6)  Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 201.

                    9. (7)  Brandon Jones (P), Toyota, 201.

                    10. (21)  Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 201.

                    11. (15)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 201.

                    12. (22)  Nicholas Sanchez, Chevrolet, 201.

                    13. (20)  Hailie Deegan(i), Ford, 201.

                    14. (26)  Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 201.

                    15. (14)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 201.

                    16. (11)  John Hunter Nemechek(i), Toyota, 200.

                    17. (16)  Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 200.

                    18. (36)  Riley Herbst, Ford, 200.

                    19. (23)  Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, 200.

                    20. (18)  Rajah Caruth(i), Chevrolet, 200.

                    21. (27)  Parker Retzlaff, Chevrolet, 199.

                    22. (1)  AJ Allmendinger (P), Chevrolet, 199.

                    23. (17)  Stefan Parsons(i), Chevrolet, 198.

                    24. (31)  Kris Wright(i), Chevrolet, 197.

                    25. (25)  Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 197.

                    26. (38)  Kyle Sieg #, Ford, 197.

                    27. (32)  Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 197.

                    28. (35)  Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, 197.

                    29. (29)  Mason Massey, Chevrolet, 196.

                    30. (34)  CJ McLaughlin, Ford, 196.

                    31. (37)  David Starr, Ford, 196.

                    32. (30)  Matt Jaskol(i), Toyota, 195.

                    33. (24)  Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 195.

                    34. (28)  Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 195.

                    35. (33)  Matt Mills(i), Chevrolet, 195.

                    36. (19)  JJ Yeley, Toyota, Engine, 82.

                    37. (9)  Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, Engine, 52.

                    38. (13)  Ryan Sieg, Ford, Steering, 32.

The Alsco Uniforms 302 Stats

Average Speed of Race Winner:  145.613 mph.

Time of Race:  Two Hrs, Four Mins, 14 Secs. The Margin of Victory:  1.125 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  Three for 15 laps.

Lead Changes:  14 among nine drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Allmendinger (P) 1-6; N. Gragson (P) 7-23; T. Gibbs (P) 24-51; N. Gragson (P) 52-93; A. Hill # (P) 94-95; B. Jones (P) 96-100; J. Berry (P) 101-131; N. Gragson (P) 132-143; T. Gibbs (P) 144-145; N. Sanchez 146; K. Weatherman 147; N. Gragson (P) 148-163; L. Cassill 164-166; A. Allmendinger (P) 167; J. Berry (P) 168-201.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Noah Gragson (P) four times for 87 laps; Josh Berry (P) two times for 65 laps; Ty Gibbs (P) two times for 30 laps; AJ Allmendinger (P) two times for seven laps; Brandon Jones (P) one time for five laps; Landon Cassill one time for three laps; Austin Hill # (P) one time for two laps; Kyle Weatherman one time for one lap; Nicholas Sanchez one time for one lap.

Stage 1 Top Ten: 54,21,9,7,19,1,16,26,8,11

Stage 2 Top Ten: 9,54,19,21,7,8,1,11,18,16