Before the Alsco Uniforms 302 got underway on Saturday, Josh Berry told Dale Earnhardt Jr. that he couldn’t wait to go racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The part-time driver for Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports team believed he’d improved as a driver since his first trip to Las Vegas – and he proved it in convincing fashion. Berry passed teammate Justin Allgaier with 16 laps to go and sped to his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in his 27th start.

A dominant second-half performance in the 201-lap race saw Berry, who finished seventh at LVMS in May, pace the field for 38 of the race’s final 51 laps. He led Allgaier and Las Vegas native Noah Gragson, another JRM driver, home for a 1-2-3 result.

Berry’s win came in the Xfinity Series’ Playoff opener, as a substitute for injured JRM teammate Michael Annett, who sat out as he recovers from a leg injury. The 30-year-old driver piloted a less-familiar No. 1 Chevrolet as opposed to the No. 8 he’s driven in most of his starts this year, but Berry felt confident all day.

“I just wanted to have a good race,” Berry said. “I talked to Dale and I said that I was really excited for this one. I had an idea of what to expect and what I needed to do better (compared to March). This was the first time I’ve gotten to do that and I was excited to see how I’ve grown as a driver.

 “Obviously, that worked out. We came here expecting to win. We knew we could win. This group builds fast race cars and we were able to capitalize.”

 Berry’s victory was the 57th Xfinity Series win in JR Motorsports history and the team’s second at Las Vegas. Mark Martin opened JR Motorsports’ LVMS win account in March of 2008.

 “Josh did a great job. He had a really fast car,” said Allgaier, who moved to third in points behind Austin Cindric and A.J. Allmendinger with his runner-up finish. “To see JR Motorsports finish 1-2-3 just solidifies our team is building great race cars. You never want to go to the first Playoff race and fall flat on your face, and we definitely didn’t do that.”

Points leader Cindric finished fourth ahead of Daniel Hemric. Brandon Jones was sixth with Allmendinger seventh. Ty Dillon, Justin Haley and Harrison Burton completed the top 10.

Las Vegas native Riley Herbst joined fellow Playoff drivers Jeb Burton and Jeremy Clements in the garage early on Saturday. The trio were involved in a multi-car crash on Lap 31 that nearly swept up Berry as well.

Allmendinger won Stage 1, while Allgaier claimed Stage 2 and led a race-high 90 laps.


The spectacular action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway builds to a crescendo on Sunday, with the NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 getting underway at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at Kids 12 and under get in free with a ticketed adult.