After the first two wins of the season went to Winston-Salem, North Carolina’s Dillon Bassett, the third race of the Paramount Kia Big-10 Racing Challenge went to Hendersonville, Tennessee’s Josh Berry at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Berry, who started mid-pack in the 21-car NASCAR Whelen All American Series Bojangles' Late Model field, made his move early on en route to his first 100-lap victory of the season at “The Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.” Berry made the pass on his JR Motorsports teammate and pole-sitter William Byron after the first caution of the night.
“We started 12th,” said Berry. “And we got up to second by lap 20. We had a caution at lap 21 and then I passed by teammate William Byron on the restart and took the lead and led the rest of the race.”
Berry’s win ended Dillon Bassett’s win streak at two after the teenager dominated the first two events of the 10-race season.
“He’s been really good,” said Berry. “They run really well everywhere they race so to beat him was definitely pretty cool because he’s been running so well. We won a 50-lapper earlier in the year there and in the first two 100-lappers really we just haven’t had good racing luck. I felt like the last week I could have ran with him but we had a mechanical failure that hurt us. So it’s nice that we’ve finally been able to go up against them and get a good win – he’s a good racer.”
The 23-year-old Berry had previously spent much of his Late Model Stock Car racing career at tracks like Motor Mile Speedway (VA) and Southern National Motorsports Park (NC), but will focus on Hickory Motor Speedway in 2014 which is a little closer to the JR Motorsports team home base in Mooresville, North Carolina.
“Hickory is just a fun track to race at,” said Berry. “We like running Hickory because it’s a little bit closer and there’s good competition there and good racing. It’s got a lot of history and we just enjoy doing that and being involved in that part of it.”
Berry hopes to continue the season by bringing home a few more trophies from Hickory and perhaps a few from elsewhere throughout the region as well.
“I’ve been racing Late Model Stocks for four or five years and really, no matter what track you go to, it’s hard to win. Each track has local people that have been there a long time or just people that bounce around and run everywhere like Dillon Bassett. He’s really good and he’s good competition. William (Byron), my teammate, he’s doing really well too just starting out. So it’s definitely good competition and we enjoy it.
“We’re going to run Hickory and probably a couple races at Motor Mile and a couple races at Southern National here and there. But we’re going to stay primarily focused on Hickory because like I said, we like it – we’re probably going to end up racing for the track championship there.”
The next race for the NASCAR Whelen All-America Series Bojangles’ Late Models at Hickory Motor Speedway will be Saturday, May 3.