The CARS Tour has suspended Josh Berry for Saturday’s event at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) following an incident at Ace Speedway (NC) last weekend in which Berry intentionally spun Bobby McCarty in the closing laps of the race.
According to Race22.com, the penalty was revealed in an email distributed to teams ahead of Saturday’s race at Hickory which reads as follows.
“Following his on track actions, Josh Berry driver of the #88 JR Motorsports entry, has been suspended for one (1) CARS Tour sanctioned event and disqualified from the Ace Speedway event on June 6, 2020, thus losing all earned driver/owner championship points, as well as his earnings.
“Berry is suspended under the CARS Tour rulebook which states any driver deemed by CARS Tour officials that his/her actions are detrimental to stock car racing via a flagrant rough driving will receive a minimum penalty of $500, disqualification, suspension, and loss of championship points.
“Berry’s suspension will take effect at the upcoming CARS Tour Hickory Motor Speedway event on June 13, 2020.”
While attempts to reach the CARS Tour were unsuccessful, Berry confirmed the suspension while speaking to Speed51 on Monday evening.
The incident in question unfolded with five laps to go in Saturday’s Race at Ace 125, with McCarty leading Ryan Millington. Berry, who had spun into the outside wall earlier in the race after contact with McCarty, waited on McCarty to pass by before spinning him on the backstretch.
McCarty finished 18th in the final running order, while Berry was disqualified from the event by CARS Tour officials for his actions.
During an interview Monday on Speed51’s “The Bullring,” Berry said he would accept any penalties or sanctions he receives from the CARS Tour he receives for his actions.
“Whatever they decide to do, I’m going to understand,” Berry told Speed51. “It’s their series we are racing in, and we choose to race in that series. If they feel like they have to suspend me or anything like that to prove a point, I’ll accept it and move on.”
In the past, the CARS Tour has taken a hard stance when it comes to disciplining competitors for conduct. Jake Crum (South Boston, 2017), Brandon Setzer (Hickory, 2018), and Bubba Pollard (Hickory, 2019) all initially received five-race suspensions from the CARS Tour for involvements in post-race physical altercations with competitors.
Crum eventually missed just the first three races of the 2018 season after his altercation took place during the 2017 season finale and Setzer’s suspension reduced to one race. Pollard has appeared at both CARS Tour events in 2020, competing in a Super Late Model at Southern National Motorsports Park in March and in a Late Model Stock Car at Ace last weekend.
Berry and McCarty have combined for the last three CARS Late Model Stock Tour championships, with Berry winning the title in 2017 and McCarty winning back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. Over the past two seasons, they have amassed six wins apiece in 2018 and 2019, combining for 12 wins over the course of 23 races.
In 2019, the CARS Late Model Stock Tour championship was decided by just one point, with McCarty beating Corey Heim to the line in a photo finish for second place at South Boston Speedway to take the title over Berry, who had led every lap from the pole to win the race.
Over the course of the 2019 season, Berry and McCarty had battled fiercely several times. The most notable of these came at Motor Mile Speedway (VA), which saw McCarty take the win after contact with Berry on a green-white-checkered finish.
Both the CARS Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models will be in action Saturday, June 13 at Hickory Motor Speedway.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo