Track Specs: .526-mile oval / 200 laps
Berry’s start/finish: 18th/23rd
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Josh Berry drove his The Decal Source Chevrolet to the top 10 midway through the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 for Late Model stock cars at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday before being caught up in a wreck on a restart with about 40 laps remaining. The damage to the front end of Berry’s No. 88 JR Motorsports machine was severe enough to end his night, and he was scored 23rd in the final rundown.
Berry qualified 15th in the preliminaries and finished sixth in the third heat race, which put him 18th for the start of the race, which was the first under the track’s new LED lighting system. Berry had dealt with a very loose car in the heat, and since it was an impound race he could not make adjustments before the start of the 200-lap race.
After JRM General Manager Kelley Earnhardt commenced with her duties as Honorary Pace Car Driver and the race got started, Berry rode out the initial segment with the car still loose, running between 15th and 20th until the caution waved around lap 70. At that point, Berry hit pit road for the adjustments he needed to move forward. Once the race returned to green, Berry moved forward to the top 15 at the 100-lap break. More adjustments were made in addition to more fuel added, and Berry had what he needed to move even further forward, reaching the top 10 in short order. Between laps 120 and 160, a spate of caution flags slowed the running, necessitating a spate of restarts. On one of those, Berry was on the inside line and one of the cars ahead was slow to the throttle. The inside line stacked up and Berry made contact with the car in front of him. The impact knocked the front end of Berry’s machine askew, and the damage was too great to continue.
Josh Berry, driver No. 88 The Decal Source Chevrolet team
“Obviously, this weekend was a bit disappointing for us. We felt like we had a decent practice, but basically from qualifying on we fought the car being really loose. We weren't able to make any adjustments after the heat race, and that really hurt us in the beginning of the main. We made a good call to come in early to pit and work on it, and after several changes I feel like we actually had a pretty good car heading towards the end of the race. Once we got into the top 10, it just seemed like we stalled out a bit because of the continuous yellows, and finally one of them took us out. Martinsville has been tough for me over the years, and this weekend was the same. I feel like we were a top-five contender if we could've survived, but we weren't able to make it. I want to thank all of our guys for the hard work this weekend, and JR Motorsports and The Decal Source for giving me the opportunity. We are going to keep working hard and get ready for the next one.”