Happy birthday, Josh Berry.
After closing out on the NASCAR Division I Weekly Series championship last weekend, team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. surprised Berry on his 30th birthday (Thursday) that he would compete in 12 Xfinity Series races in the first half of 2021.
Berry closed out the week by capturing $30,000 in the Old North State Nationals on Sunday at Greenville Pickens Speedway.
The race was the finale for the CARS Late Model Stock season where Jared Fryar clinched the series championship by one point over Layne Riggs.
It took a lot to reach both outcomes as the race was twice delayed by lengthy rain delays, the final one coming with 52 laps remaining. That’s ultimately where the race was won, as Berry pitted to take his final right-side tires, taking the lead from Layne Riggs with 39 laps to go. The remaindin contenders took their right side tires during the Lap 100 break.
Riggs needed to maintain the lead as that would have been enough to take the championship lead back from Fryar, but his older tires just couldn’t hold off the JR Motorsports No. 8, who won the richest Late Model Stock race for the second season in a row.
“This is unbelievable,” Berry said. “I knew taking tires with 100 laps to go was too early, and we were in a prime position with new tires by restarting eighth after the second rain delay.”
Last year, it was a wire-to-wire victory in the Martinsville 300, a race that didn’t take place in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus, making the Old North State Nationals the richest race of the season even though it was moved to Greenville from its usual home at Orange County Speedway in Roguemont, North Carolina.
“We were concerned about how many cars would stay out during the break, but only seven did,” Berry said. “We lined up eighth with fresh tires, but you’re always worried about getting caught up in a wreck and you have to control what you can control. I felt like we put ourselves in the best position to win.”
The only major incident occurred on the restart after the rain delay with 52 laps to go when JR Motorsports youngster Connor Mosack failed to get rolling and was hit from behind by Mike Looney. That triggered an incident that also included Riley Gentry.
Fryar entered the race with a 15-point advantage over Riggs. However, Riggs held the tiebreaker, two wins to one, important because Fryar was running 14th when Riggs was second — a virtual tie. Fryar picked up the decisive spot when Timothy Peters fell off the pace from inside the top-10 inside 10 laps to go.
Corey Heim had just taken second from Riggs and that combination of events gave Fryar a one-point championship lead.
Jared Fryar WINS the 2020 Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour Late Model Stock Champion!! pic.twitter.com/ZRwB54msrq
— CARS Tour (@CARSTour) October 26, 2020
“I just have to hold my head up, because I’m honestly a little down on our performance tonight,” Fryar said. “It’s not about just one race, good or bad, but we did put together the full season. This was our worst run of the season, and unfortunately it had to be this night, this biggest race of the year, but it happens.
“Glad we were able to bank some of those finishes over the whole season. I just really appreciate the work that everyone puts in. I’m just so thankful and happy to be celebrating having my name on this trophy. My name is here, but these guys are the ones that make it happen for me.”
To his point, Fryar opened the season with a 13th and ended it with a 13th. Between that, he posted a 4.4 average finish in the other eight races, with a win at Franklin County on August 22.
“Super fortunate that this one didn’t hurt us more and I’m anxious to pull it apart and figure out what happened,” Fryar said. “I’m just as disappointed right now as I am excited, but we closed it out though and that’s all that matters.”
It’s the second year in a row that the CARS Tour championship was decided by one point. Bobby McCarty defeated berry by one marker in 2019.
Fryar is also the first driver to have won a championship in both CARS Tour divisions, having captured the sanctioning body’s Super Late Model crown in 2018.
Update: Josh Berry’s engine was pulled by CARS Tour officials for further inspection.
— CARS Tour (@CARSTour) October 26, 2020
- Josh Berry
- Corey Heim
- Layne Riggs
- Deac McCaskill
- Jonathan Findley
- Bobby McCarty
- Nolan Pope
- Chad McCumbee
- Austin Somero
- Connor Mosack
- Mike Looney
- Justin Johnson
- Jared Fryar -1
- Cameron Bolin -1
- Taylor Satterfield -1
- Tyler Matthews -1
- Brandon Pierce -1
- Ralph Carnes -1
- Timothy Peters OUT
- Jessica Cann -7
- Trey Gibson OUT
- Matt Cox OUT
- Mike Darne OUT
- Peyton Sellers OUT
- Riley Gentry OUT
- Janson Marchbanks OUT
- Boo Boo Dalton OUT
- Ronald Hill OUT
- Mini Tyrrell OUT
- Jackie Manley OUT
- Jeremy Burns DNS
- Anthony Anders DNS