SWANSBORO, NC (July 15, 2019) - Josh Berry made the most of his second career trip to Carteret County Speedway by winning Saturday night's Solid Rock Carriers Crystal Coast 125. The victory was his third of the season and gave him a double-digit margin in the CARS Tour championship standings with three races remaining.
Mother Nature did not play nice most of the day on Saturday at Carteret County. Persistent, pop-up rain showers kept the track wet most of the afternoon until a single 15-minute practice for the CARS Tour could hit the track at 4pm, followed by time trials where Chad McCumbee claimed the Hedgecock Pole Award.
McCumbee was the rabbit everyone chased for the first part of the race, leading a bumper to bumper train of competitors around the .410-mile layout for laps on end. A handful of relatively minor caution flags peppered the opening portion of the race before the aggression level picked up.
Once the race crossed its halfway point on lap 63, eight addditional caution periods came over the speedway. Following one of the many restarts on lap 70, Josh Berry took advantage of a slip by Chad McCumbee to steal the race lead off of turn two on lap 73 and slowly began to pull away until the next caution on lap 82 for a Stacy Puryear spin.
A caution for Ronald Hill's accident on lap 108 led to the most consequential accident of the night. With 16 laps to go, Deac McCaskill appeared to slip off of turn two and moved to the inside to attempt to block the oncoming advances of Bobby McCarty. The pair made contact, sending McCarty sliding sideways into the outside wall and triggered a seven-car pileup. Among those involved were contenders Layne Riggs, McCarty, Justin T. Carroll, Brandon Pierce, Josh Yeoman, and Circle Track Warehouse Hometown Hero Brandon Clements.
With most of his competition eliminated, Berry jumped to the lead on the ensuing restart and pulled away to his third victory of the season over Deac McCaskill by nearly a full second at the checkered flag. Sammy Smith came from 24th starting spot to finish third and claim the MPI Hard Charger Award, while Layne Riggs and Justin S. Carroll completed out the top five.
"It was tough, we just tried to manage it early on. The outside is tough on these restarts and we wanted to try and keep ourselves on the bottom," Berry said in Edelbrock Victory Lane. "We got to second and was hoping to pressure for the lead and then the caution came out so we got stuck on the outside for a bit. We had a great car at the end, and I know Deac was pretty good, he made a good run there before we caught all that traffic. Just an awesome night, I'm so thankful to be doing this still, I've been doing this for a long time. Dale Jr., Kelley, L.W, everyone's stuck behind me, and Mark Thomas at All Things Automotive.
"I try not to look at the points, but you've got to be smart at the same time," Berry continued when asked about being in position for his second tour championship in three years. "We had a good lead go away very quickly a few weeks ago. We just have to keep pushing. If we keep bringing good cars and can stay up front - you obviously hate to see an accident like that, I don't know what happened, but you hate to see that. You know, I work on these things and I know how hard they are to fix and how hard they are to put together. You never want to see people wreck like that. At the end of the night, I feel like we had the best car and we got the job done."
The CARS Late Model Stock Tour is rejoined by the Super Late Model Tour on August 2-3 at Hickory Motor Speedway for the 3rd annual Throwback 276. A number of NASCAR and short track legends will be appearing to sign autographs and dozens of throwback paint schemes will be racing around the .363-mile layout steeped with history and known as "The Birthplace of NASCAR Stars."
For more information on the CARS Tour, visit their website at CARSRacingTour.com, or follow them on Facebook (@CARSTour), Twitter (@CARSTour), Instagram (@cars_tour), and Snapchat (@carstour). The series also has its own YouTube channel, Roku channel (available through its TV website), and a publicly available Amazon FireTV app.
CARS Late Model Stock Tour
Solid Rock Carriers Crystal Coast 125
Carteret County Speedway - July 13, 2019
POS NUM DRIVER LAPS REASON OUT
1. 88 Josh Berry 125
2. 08 Deac McCaskill 125
3. 12 Sammy Smith 125
4. 99 Layne Riggs 125
5. 91 Justin S. Carroll 125
6. 77 Trevor Ward 125
7. 63 Tyler Matthews 125
8. 81 Mini Tyrrell 125
9. 07 Camden Gullie 125
10. 16 Chad McCumbee 125
11. 7 Brandon Clements 114 Mechanical
12. 22 Bobby McCarty 109 Accident
13. 2 Brandon Pierce 109 Accident
14. 57 Justin Carroll 109 Accident
15. 2Y Josh Yeoman 109 Accident
16. 74 Ronald Hill 108 Accident
17. 51 Matt Cox 103 Mechanical
18. 17P Stacy Puryear 82 Mechanical
19. 4 Jonathan Findley66 Accident
20. 90 Terry Carroll 66 Accident
21. 54 Drew Dollar 66 Accident
22. 19 Cameron Bowen 66 Accident
23. 1 Craig Moore 59 Radiator
24. 19C Jessica Cann 45 Accident