Berry Battles Back to a 13th Place Finish

Posted on September 29, 2016 Ron Lemasters

After making contact with the wall late in the race, Josh Berry and the No. 88 SunEnergy1 team battled back to bring home a 13th place finish in his first start at Kentucky Speedway. The No. 88 JR Motorsports entry sits seventh in the NASCAR Xfinity Series owner standings, 33 markers behind first.

Making it through three rounds of qualifying Saturday afternoon to line up 12th for the 300, Berry knew that he would have a good car once the green flag dropped. Early into the first green-flag run, Berry reported that his Chevrolet was loose. The No. 88 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet had dropped back to 16th by lap 2. On lap 15, Berry reported that his machine felt really good.

When the competition caution was shown, Berry radioed to the team that his car was a little free on entry. The No. 88 team hit pit road for four tires, fuel and no adjustments under caution and restarted 17th. The caution flag was shown just two laps later after the restart and the No. 88 team chose to stay out on track.

The Tennessee native was three-wide for the 12th position on lap 40 and after making the pass, Berry was three-wide again and secured the 10th position on lap 41. On lap 71, the caution flag was shown and Berry reported that his car was tight center off. The team elected to pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment under caution.

On lap 103, Berry came over the radio and reported that his car was loose on entry during the first few laps of each run. The caution flag waved for the seventh time on lap 118. After radio confusion about whether the team would pit, Berry pitted for right side tires and fuel only. The No. 88 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet restarted 13th and when the caution came out just three laps later the team told Berry to begin saving fuel.

Under caution on lap 131, crew chief Dave Elenz called Berry to pit road for fuel only. Berry restarted sixth and by lap 135 was scored in the second position. With 40 laps to go, the No. 88 machine was scored in sixth and Berry reported that his car free in and tight to the throttle in Turn 4. The team chose to stay out on track to maintain their position under this caution. The caution flag was shown once again with less than 25 laps remaining. Berry reported that his car was loose into Turn 3 and tight into the gas in Turn 4. Elenz called the SunEnergy1 Chevy to pit road for right side tires, fuel and one round up on the track bar. Berry would wind up restarting fourth on the outside behind teammate Elliott Sadler who was leading the field to green.

Berry made contact with the outside wall in Turn 4 on lap 184 after his right front tire went down. The team came to pit road for right side tires and to fix right side damage. While repairing damage, Elenz made the call for left side tires as well. Berry was scored in the 17thposition when the final caution of the day was shown, which eventually turned into a red flag

The green flag waved with four laps remaining in the 200-lap race and Berry restarted 16th. The No. 88 Chevrolet would gain three positions to bring home a 13th-place finish.

Sadler brought home the win and was followed by Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, Sam Hornish Jr., and fifth-place Matt Tifft.

Josh Berry, driver No. 88 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet team

“This was not the dream ending we were hoping for, but it will come. Everyone knew we were there tonight. Everyone on this SunEnergy1 team gave me a shot to pull off what would have been a miracle win. Last year I proved that I can short-track race, tonight proved I'm ready to do this every week. I can’t thank JR Motorsports enough for believing in me.”

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