Josh Berry Finds Redemption With Myrtle Beach 400 Win At Myrtle Beach Speedwayby Hunter Thomas November 19, 2017
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – After coming up short in last year’s Myrtle Beach 400, JR Motorsports’ Josh Berry found redemption as he won the 25th running of the event at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday night.
In 2016, Berry had a strong performance, but he and his teammate, Christian Eckes traded paint and roughed each other up as they crossed the finish line in an epic photo finish. Eckes just barely edged Berry for the victory.
“Last year was a difficult way to lose,” Berry said. “You know, as frustrating as it was that we lost, I was happy for Christian, and in the end, I just tried to handle it the best that I knew how and just kind of put a chip on my shoulder and hoped that we could come back and win, and tonight we were able to do that.”
On Saturday at Myrtle Beach Speedway, Berry sat on the pole after running a scorching fast lap of 20.400 seconds. Once the green flag dropped, Berry quickly lost the lead to Jake Crum. Throughout the night, Berry ran solidly inside the top-10 and most of the time within the top-five. With the stout competition, both, the inside and outside grooves were gridlocked during much of the race.
“We obviously started from the pole, and the first half, you know of this race, is just kind of a trial run I guess so to speak,” Berry said. “The first half of the race we just tried to manage it and see what we had. Our goal was to run the first half and make the car better for the second half. You know, hopefully if things fell our way, we thought that we’d be up front. We were a little bit too loose the first half, and we made some good adjustments at halfway, and I think I was able to conserve my tires a little bit better than I was in the first half of the race. There at the end, it just ended up coming down to me and Timothy (Peters), and I was better than him”
With just 10 laps to go, Berry was able to get around NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, Timothy Peters for the race lead. In the closing laps, Berry stretched the lead and never looked back as he captured the victory in the Myrtle Beach 400.
“We took off, and he (Timothy Peters) was able to clear Chad (McCumbee),” Berry said about the final restart of the night on lap 202. “I could tell a couple of runs before that that he looked like he was starting to, you know, get kind of loose up off the corner. I could see that happening, and I felt like that we had made our car better, and I felt pretty good about our chances at that point.”
Timothy Peters held on for a second-place finish on Saturday night after starting on the outside of the pole beside Berry. Peters made his way to Myrtle Beach Speedway after posting an impressive 10th-place finish during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday night. At Myrtle Beach Speedway, Peters ran up front all race long, but ultimately, the 2017 Martinsville Speedway ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner didn’t have the grip or speed to hold off Berry in the final 10 laps of the race.
“Late model stock car racing is what helped me get into a great career,” Peters said. “I still think that I can handle it in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but before I go any further, it was just great racing tonight. Congrats to Josh Berry and his whole team. He had the car tonight. We just went a little too soon, that was my fault, but at the end of the day, I’m having fun.”
Finishing third was Chad McCumbee who is a weekly competitor at Myrtle Beach Speedway. McCumbee ran about mid pack for the first half of the race, but following halfway, he was up front contending for the victory. McCumbee just didn’t have enough speed to keep up with Berry or Peters in the closing laps, but a solid third-place finish is certainly a performance to be proud of. McCumbee dominated to win the Super Truck feature during the Myrtle Beach 250 portion of Myrtle Beach Speedway’s season finale.
“We had a fast car, and we had some speed,” McCumbee said. “We haven’t had all we needed all weekend long, but it was just enough, and I think the way the strategy turned out, it worked out really good for us because that was what really got that track position to be able to control the pace, you know. We almost won a couple of CARS (Tour) races last year by just getting out front and controlling the pace the way I wanted to control it. Those guys out front, they were running just quick enough that they weren’t holding me up, and when they were, I could kind of stick a nose up there and then make them pick up the pace a little bit.”
Unofficially, Brenden Queen and Sam Mayer rounded out the top-five, while Tommy Lemons Jr., Myatt Snider, Justin Milliken, Shane Lee and Ty Gibbs completed the top-10.
During the race, there were five cautions for accidents; however, none were as notable as the rivalry between Lee Pulliam and Jake Crum that reached its boiling point on Saturday night.
The caution came out on lap 201, when Crum and Pulliam made contact in Turn 1 while they were battling for the race lead. Pulliam was on the outside, and when contact was made with Crum on the inside, Pulliam began to spin through Turn 2, but he was able to hold on to his car. NASCAR officials threw the caution and penalized both drivers. On the restart, the two drivers made contact again, and Crum spun Pulliam out on the frontstretch. The two drivers and their crews were heated, but the situation didn’t get out of hand.
The 25th Annual Myrtle Beach 400 concluded the 2017 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model season at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com