NASCAR Xfinity Series: Josh Berry Punches Ticket To Championship 4

Josh Berry celebrates his win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

A Brandon Jones spin brought out a controversial late caution at Las Vegas and Josh Berry came out on top of a wild sprint to the finish to earn a place in the Xfinity Series Championship 4 in Phoenix.

A great day for JR Motorsports in Las Vegas was capped by Josh Berry taking the checkered flag despite big contact with the wall following the caution restart with around 30 laps to go. JR Motorsports cars finished 1-2-3, with Noah Gragson coming in 2nd despite dominating the day, and Justin Allgaier putting his #7 car into third. 

It was actually Noah Gragson dominating most of the race during green flag running, finishing third in Stage 1 and winning the second. A round of pit stops during that late caution shuffled Gragson back a bit, and he could only fight back to second place.

Josh Berry’s win didn’t come without incident, as contact with a lapped car slowed him down in the late stages. Berry was losing time to Gragson in the final laps as the latter had moved up to second but had the cushion enough to take the win and the berth in the Championship round at Phoenix. 

A Caution Shakes Up The Playoff Picture

The late caution flag was perhaps a hasty decision by NASCAR race control. Brandon Jones got loose and started to spin but saved his #19 Toyota Supra and didn’t even lose any places on track. Regardless, NASCAR called the caution, and most teams pitted for fresh tires.

After his pit stop, playoff contender AJ Allmendinger complained of a loose wheel on the right side of his car. His Kaulig Racing crew claimed that they “checked the video” and told Allmendinger all his wheels were tight, and any problem would have been the tires.

That would not be the case. Allmendinger chose to pit a handful of laps after the restart where the team found that not one, but both wheels on the right side of the #16 Chevrolet were loose, and AJ’s suspicions were indeed correct.

“I wish I was wrong when I thought they were loose.” Said AJ Allmendinger on TV following the race. “I didn’t know which one was loose, but I knew something was.”

Allmendinger was fighting his car through the first half of the race, but his Chevy started to come to him in the latter half before the late restart. After pitting to fix his loose wheel issue, he finished 22nd, two laps down, and most importantly below the playoff cutline.

AJ dropped from second in the  Xfinity Series Playoff standings to sixth because of the bad pit stop from the caution. Yet again, a late and controversial caution dictates NASCAR playoff results. Allmendinger will likely need a victory at either Homestead or Martinsville to fight for the Xfinity Series Championship at the season finale in Phoenix.

Playoff Standings


  1. Josh Berry, JR Motorsports – 1 Win, Clinched Championship Berth
  2. Noah Gragson, JR Motorsports – 3109 points, +44 from cutoff
  3. Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing – 3090 points, +25 from cutoff
  4. Justin Allgaier, JR Motorsports – 3080 points, +15 from cutoff



  1. Austin Hill, Richard Childress Racing – 3065 points, -15 from cutoff
  2. AJ Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing – 3064 points, -16 from cutoff
  3. Brandon Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing – 3053 points, -27 from cutoff
  4. Sam Mayer, JR Motorsports – 3044 points, -36 from cutoff

A Day of Firsts

In her Xfinity Series debut, Hailie Deegan had a strong race and finished 13th. After the race, she told NBC Sports’ Parker Kligerman she was “ecstatic” with her performance and was aiming for a top 15 finish.

With the 13th place result, Deegan finished higher than any woman has in their Xfinity Series debut, topping Shawna Robinson’s 15th place debut at Orange County Speedway in 1991. Deegan also had the second-best series debut of any woman in any of NASCAR’s National Series.  

“I’m pretty excited right now. The guys gave me an amazing car,” Deegan said in her post-race interview.

I have always wanted to come out here and just be able to experience what it’s like to run the Xfinity Series. The guys gave me a car as fast as Xfinity internet and we were able to do something with it. So, I was really happy with it.”

“I’d be more than happy to do more Xfinity races,” Deegan added. “If anybody is willing to pay the bills.”

Featured Image Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images