Josh Berry led 65 laps to win the Alsco 302 Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and with the victory became the first NASCAR Xfinity Series driver to punch his ticket to the championship four in Phoenix.

It was a 1-2-3 finish for the JR Motorsports team as local favorite Noah Gragson finished second in his No. 9 Chevy and Justin Allgaier claimed the third spot in his No. 7 Chevy.

Berry, who also won this race one year ago, earned his third win of the season and fifth of his career in his 59th career start. With 32 laps to go in the final stage, Berry’s No. 8 machine got pinched into the wall while racing for the lead with A.J. Allmendinger, but the Hendersonville, Tennessee driver wasn’t going to let a little contact slow his pursuit of a series crown.

“I was willing to hit the wall and have a flat tire or whatever, that was for a trip to Phoenix,” Berry said after the race. “I wasn’t letting off. Fortunately, we had a caution with 30 to go and I was able to wrestle the lead away from those guys and hold ‘em off.  This win is really special.”

Berry has come a long way since he was heading up Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Late Model Stock Car racing program just a little over one year ago.

“It’s been incredible,” Berry said. “I can’t put it into words really. When we sat down and talked about the opportunity, my goal was to make the championship four and in my opinion it’s a win if you can accomplish something like that. We knew there would be bumps along the road, but we believe we could do that. I can’t believe that we came here and locked ourselves into the championship four at Phoenix and now we have some breathing room. It’s a good feeling to be in that position for sure.”

Meanwhile, Berry’s JRM teammates were happy with the 1-2-3 finish, but not so thrilled with their personal finishes.

Las Vegas native Gragson led a race-best 87 laps and won Stage 2 but the checkered flag for his hometown race proved to be just out of reach.

“We’re not doing burnouts, so it’s definitely frustrating,” a disappointed Gragson said. “We didn’t execute it out. I got caught there and it’s definitely unfortunate. I drove my butt off to get back up front but just ran out of time there. Congrats to the 8 team and it’s also a 1-2-3 finish for JR Motorsports.”

Allgaier never led a lap but was in the mix for the win despite fighting an ill-handling race car for most of the afternoon. He finished in the top five in the first two stages and also ran out of laps at the end.

“We battled a tight condition all day,” Allgaier said. “It’s a shame really. This is a great track for us. It’s a good day to go 1-2-3 for JR Motorsports, but it’s hard to find a silver lining cause we were fighting for a win. I hate it for everyone on the team.”

Pole winner Allmendinger, who led twice for seven laps of the race, had an issue with a pair of loose wheels on the right side of his car, which forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop late in the race and put him out of contention. After entering the race riding high after scoring back-to-back wins at Talladega and the Roval at Charlotte, N.C., Allmendinger finished in 22nd place finish and now finds himself below the cutline to make the final four in Phoenix.

“Everybody is trying hard," a disappointed Allmendinger said after the race. "We win and lose as a team. It's frustrating. We’ve just got to move on. We've got to move on with the mindset to just go out there and win.”

Truck Series star Hailie Deegan had an impressive Xfinity Series debut and finished 13th after starting 20th in the No. 07 Ford Mustang. Her run also made some history, as it was the best finish for a female driver in their Xfinity Series debut.

“I’m pretty excited right now,” Deegan said. “The guys gave me an amazing car. I always wanted to come out here and experience what it’s like to run an Xfinity Series race. The guys gave me a good car and we were able to do something with it. Having to constantly drive it off that edge was a fun challenge and everyone seems to race clean in the Xfinity Series, so it was a lot of fun.”

The final two races of the Xfinity Round of 8 will be held at Homestead-Miami, Florida and Martinsville, Virginia to determine the final three drivers who will join Berry for the opportunity to run for the championship title in Phoenix next month.

The other Xfinity Playoff finishers today included Ty Gibbs, who won stage one and finished fourth, Austin Hill, who was the highest finishing rookie at sixth, Sam Mayer in seventh and Brandon Jones in ninth. Gragson, Allgaier and Gibbs head to the next race above the cutline, while Hill, Allmendinger, Mayer and Jones anchor the bottom four.

Alsco Uniforms 302
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Oct. 15, 2022

  1. Josh Berry
  2. Noah Gragson
  3. Justin Allgaier
  4. Ty Gibbs
  5. Trevor Bayne
  6. Austin Hill
  7. Sam Mayer
  8. Daniel Hemric
  9. Brandon Jones
  10. Anthony Alfredo
  11. Landon Cassill
  12. Nick Sanchez
  13. Hailie Deegan
  14. Kyle Weatherman
  15. Jeremy Clements
  16. John Hunter Nemechek
  17. Jeb Burton
  18. Riley Herbst
  19. Myatt Snider
  20. Rajah Caruth
  21. Parker Retzlaff
  22. A.J. Allmendinger
  23. Stefan Parsons
  24. Kris Wright
  25. Garrett Smithley
  26. Kyle Sieg
  27. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  28. Ryan Vargas
  29. Mason Massey
  30. C.J. McLaughlin
  31. David Starr
  32. Matt Jaskol
  33. Bayley Currey
  34. Josh Williams
  35. Matt Mills
  36. J.J. Yeley
  37. Sheldon Creed
  38. Ryan Sieg