If Josh Berry and his JR Motorsports team would have raced the whole CARS Tour season there’s a good chance they’d be contending for the championship along with Brayton Haws and Myatt Snider. Berry and his team dominated the Late Model Stock portion of the Summertime Showdown 250 at Orange County Speedway (NC) to score a second straight win.
Berry is two for two in CARS Tour starts in 2015. Now even he is now wondering what could have been had he and his team raced the full year.
“In hindsight I do wish we would have raced for points,” Berry told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after his win. “But you never know what could have happened. We’ve been very fortunate to not get caught up in things or have any problems in these two races. It’s been fun and that’s all you can ask for.”
Berry scored the win the last time the series raced, a couple of weeks ago, at Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia. He backed that up by being fastest in final practice, winning the pole, and completely dominating the 125-lap race.
But Berry’s win wasn’t as easy as the box score will make it seem. He lost the lead early to Jamey Caudill and had to fight to get it back.
He went to the extreme outside of the track right next to the wall on both ends of the speedway to try to get alongside Caudill, and eventually he was able to make it work.
“It just seemed to work,” Berry said. “We could just carry so much momentum out there after the restarts. I came out here last week to race and learn. I figured out the top side last week and I said tonight I’d be the first one out there and I was going to stick to it.”
After getting the lead back, Berry had to deal with a fast Deac McCaskill all night long, as well as a bunch of late race restarts. But Berry was able to hold McCaskill off, even in the final 10-lap shootout at the end that saw McCaskill charge to the bottom of the corner, slide up, and rub with Berry as they exited the corners.
“It was wild, man,” said Berry. “Especially with all those restarts. It was a long race. A tiring race. I’m glad we were able to hold on to it, because it was getting kind of sketchy at the end.”
While Berry and McCaskill fought it out for the win, Brayton Haws and Myatt Snider went toe-to-toe at the end of the race as their championship battle starts to wind down.
Haws and Snider came into Orange County sitting one and two atop the standings, separated by just one point, and both drivers would have issues at some point throughout the night.
Lap 100 was when things started to go south for both young championship hopefuls. The caution came out for a crash on the backstretch. While the field was circulating behind the pace car, Haws headed to pit road with a flat right front tire. At just about the exact same time, Snider’s hood came unfastened and flew up in front of the windshield.
Snider was forced to accelerate hard down the backstretch and then slam on the brakes to get the hood to close. While that did work, he still had to go down pit road to have the hood fastened down once again.
Just as the race was about to go green, CARS Tour officials announced that Haws was being penalized two laps for an unapproved tire change. Haws’ team changed the right rear tire in addition to the right front, but according to the rules a team can only change a flat tire.
Thanks to the late-race cautions, Haws was able to work his way back onto the lead lap with just ten laps to go.
Haws, with help from his new right side tires, motored his way back through the field, getting as high as fourth with three laps to go.
He worked his way by Snider in turn one, but took a hard bump from Snider’s no. 2 machine in turn two which allowed Snider to go back by. Two laps later Haws got back to Snider and returned the favor in turn one. The end result was a lot of damage to both cars for Haws and Snider, but also still top-10 finishes for each as they continue their championship battle.
Haws ended up being scored in the sixth-position, with Snider finishing in tenth.
“We worked our way back through the field cleanly and we got past the two-car and I guess he decided to take me out for a fifth-place finish,” Haws said. “We had a great car and I can’t thank everyone enough. I think we’ll still come out with the points lead after that too. But if he wants to race like that, then we can. There was no reason for it.”
Snider said there was nothing intentional on his part, but he just got into the corner too deep.
“I just got too much getting into the corner,” said Snider. “I was trying to race as hard as I could and not give an inch and it just didn’t work out for me. Overall we had a strong run and I was able to keep the points close.”
The next CARS Tour event is August 29 at the Concord Speedway in North Carolina. You can follow that race as well as more on the CARS Tour on Speed51.com
To see an on-demand replay of Saturday night’s Trackside Now coverage presented by JET Tools and PFC Brakes, click here: http://speed51.com/trackside-now-cars-racing-tour-at-orange-county-speedway/
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Summertime Showdown LMSC Unofficial Results: