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Why Josh Berry intentionally crashed Bobby McCarty at Ace

The JR Motorsports No. 88 team simply had enough.

Josh Berry simply had enough.

There was no denying what had transpired with five laps to go in the CARS Tour Race at Ace 125 in Altamahaw, North Carolina on Saturday night. Berry used his damaged JR Motorsports No. 88 and retaliated against Bobby McCarty for a series of prior incidents between them.

Most recently, Berry had crashed out from second place while racing to the outside of the two-time and reigning CARS Tour champion. McCarty slid up the track in Turns 3 and 4 on the first lap off a restart and it sent Berry backwards into the wall.

Berry had raced from 15th to second in 80 laps.

The 2017 CARS Tour champion limped his car around the track at three quarters throttle and waited until McCarty had lapped him out of Turn 3 with five laps to go. He made his move. Berry drove into the corner as hard as he could and pushed McCarty up the track in Turn 4 and corner exit.

Firmly attached to the rear end of the Nelson Motorsports No. 22, Berry turned right and sent McCarty hard into the inside retaining wall and out of the lead.

It eliminated McCarty from the race, with CARS Tour disqualifying Berry from the results, scoring him dead last in 28th.

Enough was enough, Berry said.

“We didn’t qualify great, but we worked our way up to second,” Berry said. “The first restart, he played games and jammed on the brakes and I thought, ‘here we go again.’ And he went into (Turn 3) and turned. That’s what I saw. I’ve got a lot of people congratulating me. Sometimes, enough is enough man. I’m tired of getting run into.”

Berry tried to play coy a little bit, and then realized it appeared extremely blatant.

“It looked like he was having a lot of trouble lapping me, I don’t know,” Berry said. “He could have just gone high, but it took a little time to do that. I’ve heard them make every excuse in the book. Overall, I hate to race like that and be like that. I represent good people who are well respected in this sport, but sometimes enough is enough.”

As soon as the incident happened, Berry told his crew guys over their radio channel to “get ready to fight.”

When reminded of that exchange, Berry dropped any pretense of a façade.

“I don’t know,” Berry said. “Look, they have to see it coming with how he races. They’re a good team and there’s a lot of good people on that team that I have a lot of respect for. It just comes down that I am really tired of getting ran into.”

Berry would point to the incident on Saturday night or the restart that preceded it in which CARS Tour called him for jumping the green flag on McCarty. Berry felt it was McCarty trying to snooker Berry coming to the line.

Berry even foreshadowed what was to come after having the lap 80 restart called back, telling his crew members that “someone is going to get fucked here” during a restart with McCarty.

The very next restart ended with Berry backed-up into the Turn 4 wall with his decklid pushed up.

It’s not the first incident between them either.

At Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia during a May 2019 CARS Tour race, Berry was spun out by McCarty in Turn 1 of the final lap. Berry was on the outside and left a half lane between them and the 22 occupied it in corner entry.

Even with their increasing tension, McCarty didn’t think Berry would actually send him on the frontstretch. He was warned over the radio that Berry might try something to force him to relinquish the lead. But upon clearing the JR Motorsports No. 88, McCarty assumed it was over.

“I had a feeling something was going to happen, but I didn’t think it was going to be that,” McCarty said. “But, you know, you get frustrated, you do stuff like that. It’s just part of it. I felt like getting into (Turn 3), my spotter was telling me, ‘rear bumper almost clear, you’ll have him clear by center,’ and he just sailed it off in there and caught me in the right rear. It’s frustrating. I felt like we had a good car up until that point. Stuff happens. I don’t hide behind race cars. He can do whatever he wants.”

The incident drew the ire of the JR Motorsports brain trust in LW Miller and Kelley Earnhardt-Miller as well.

For what it’s worth, McCarty isn’t interested in getting into a verbal back and forth with the entirety of JR Motorsports.

“I go to win races. I don’t hide behind race cars,” McCarty said.

To Berry’s point, several crew member from rival teams did walk over to the embattled driver to thank him.

“That needed to be done,” one crew member said.

Race winner Ryan Millington suggested that McCarty likely had it coming during his victory lane interview.

“Next time, maybe Bobby will slide around a little different so he doesn’t put himself in that situation,” Millington said.

When asked to expound, he offered the following:

“Look, Bobby McCarty is a great race car driver and he wins a lot of races, but it seems like every three to four races, guys are racing him for the win and they wreck off him.

“He needs to do something different, because he has a lot of people pissed off at him.”

Berry may face punitive action from CARS Tour officials as he wrecked the leader of a race with five laps to go in a blatant show of retaliation. The series is set to race again on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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