Short Track Scene

JR Motorsports suffers mixed CARS points day at Hickory

Matt Weaver | STS

The CARS Tour Late Model Stock championship battle received a major shake-up on Lap 94 when both contenders Layne Riggs and Josh Berry were wiped out in a multi-car crash.

The ordeal began at the front of the field when a slow restart forced fourth-place Jared Fryer into Berry. When Fryar and Berry collided, Riggs and Ronald Hill had nowhere to go and piled in as a result. The damage was pretty substantial on each car with Fryar actually having to push sheet metal down just to escape his car.

Both Berry and Riggs were able to drive to pit road and had their cars worked on under the red-yellow.

In a show of respect, several Super Late Model team crew members joined JR Motorsports in working on the Berry machine — modeled after Kelly Earnhardt Miller’s 1990’s Late Model Stock. At the same time, the Riggs crew were performing their own maintenance.

Both returned to the track but were non-factors.

Alfredo finished second and picked up a considerable amount of championship points in the process. He and Berry both trailed Riggs by five points entering the weekend, but that’s suddenly changed.

Riggs was credited with a 10th and Berry with a 16th.

Alfredo jumped from third and is now tied with Riggs for the championship lead. Berry falls from second to third and is now 14 points out of the top spot.

“We’re racing for wins this year, for sure,” Alfredo said. “That’s important, but winning races will take care of the championship. I feel bad that it was at the expense of my teammate but hopefully we’re set up for the next couple of races.”

Berry was disappointed, not only by the crash that ended his run, but at his overall pace all weekend.

Usually the favorite to win, the two-time Hickory Motor Speedway track champion just didn’t have his usual pace on Saturday night. Berry qualified sixth and spent all of the race outside of the top-5. That’s a rough night by his usual standards.

“It’s just part of racing but not what we wanted, obviously,” Berry said. “We weren’t great but were putting ourselves in position to probably race for it at the end.

“I don’t even really know what happened on that restart. I guess someone didn’t get going and then (Fryar) came down to me. Layne Riggs had been pushing me all the way out of Turn 3 until he pushed me on top of the guy. It just wasn’t our race. It’s not what we wanted.”

Berry didn’t want or need the championship deficit either.

Usually his best track, Berry has now suffered an engine failure (May 6) and a crash (Saturday) at Hickory to derail his title hopes.

“At the end of the day, we’ve been coming from behind all season,” Berry said. “We’re a blown motor away from leading this championship by a lot. Tonight obviously hurt that. We’re going to do our best to make sure one of these JR Motorsports cars win this championship.”

There are two races remaining this season: the Race to Remember 250 at Concord on August 26 and the SoBo 250 at South Boston on October 14.

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