JR Motorsports entered the Myrtle Beach 400 as the favorites but a series of events didn’t bode well for either Josh Berry or top prospect Sam Mayer.
Berry and Christian Eckes had won the past two 400s for JRM.
Berry was eliminated just past the halfway point in a multi-car crash and Mayer was caught behind a competitor who lost his brakes and crashed, sweeping the 15-year-old driver up in the aftermath.
Berry qualified 14th and largely cited that effort as the reason for his demise at the Late Model Stock major. He believes he should have been leading instead of fourth and ahead of some of the more chaotic racing.
“We definitely should’ve qualified better than we did, but I just overdrove it and cost us some time,” Berry said. “The first half of the race went pretty well as we worked our way up to fourth. We made some adjustments at halfway, and we were in a good position to contend for the win.
“I was running fourth or so on the outside, and the car behind me decided to try to make it three-wide on the top at the last second, and we ended up hooked into the wall on the frontstretch, ending our night. It was definitely a frustrating end, but we had a great season and another great car Saturday night.”
Mayer, driving his Menards-backed No. 9 Chevrolet for JRM, started 27th and spent the opening segment of the race trying to maintain position while saving tires for the end. As the laps clicked off, Mayer was just behind a car that cooked its brakes into a corner, which led to contact with the car ahead. That car slid down the banking and destroyed Mayer’s right front fender. The damage cost Mayer five laps to the leaders, and he soldiered home in 25th spot.
“It’s really sad that we couldn’t end on top to finish off the year and also get JR Motorsports its third Myrtle Beach 400 in a row,” Mayer said. “But you can’t do anything about people having technical problems. It was a great year of learning and I’m glad I could do it with the JRM team. It was a roller-coaster of a year but the whole team stuck in there to win some races and contend to win a bunch.”
The Myrtle Beach 400 was the final event for the JRM Late Model Stock team in 2018. Berry won two CARS Tour races and the Fall Brawl 200 at Hickory Motor Speedway. Mayer won the CARS Tour race at Wake County.