LUCAMA, NC – Josh Berry swept Sunday’s doubleheader at Southern National Motorsports Park, extending his insurmountable lead in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series (NAAPWS) national championship and laying claim to the title.
Berry led wire-to-wire in the first of the two 40-lap races at the 4/10-mile track in Lucama, North Carolina. After an invert, he followed that up by charging from eighth to first in the second twin race in just 23 laps to take the lead and the win – completing a weekend sweep after scoring a victory in the Fall Brawl at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night. After the race, the team celebrated their triumph in the NAAPWS National Championship – which will be confirmed by NASCAR later this week.
“It’s just an awesome weekend,” Berry said in victory lane. “We’ve had a great year and a great last couple months. Man, we’ve been really fast everywhere we’ve went. Today was no exception. We had a great car. We just tried to bide our time in the second race and stay out of trouble. It’s a little unusual for us to celebrate this but we feel pretty confident that, Tuesday, we’re going to be the national champion so we wanted to use this opportunity to get some pictures and things.”
Berry has amassed an impressive 24 wins in NASCAR Weekly Series competition and has won at several tracks, including Dominion Raceway, Hickory Motor Speedway, Langley Speedway and Southern National Motorsports Park throughout the condensed 2020 season.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” Berry continued. “Really, I feel like Martinsville two years ago was a big step for me. We ran really well and almost won. It just set us up to have a lot of confidence going into last year and continued into this year. It’s just been truly unbelievable. I’m thankful to have this opportunity and have great partners behind us. We’re really enjoying it at this point.”
Another tool Berry credits for his success is the iRacing computer simulation software which sponsors his Jr. Motorsports ride. Berry often races on iRacing and uses it to prepare for races.
“iRacing’s a great tool, especially for the higher series and NASCAR,” Berry said. “Testing and practice are all gone so anything you can do to get some track time will help for sure.”
Berry will now set his sights on the $30,000-to-win CARS Tour race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway next Saturday night in what will likely be his final race of the 2020 season.
While Berry was victorious on the national level and swept the weekend, the Southern National Motorsports Park track championship went to Mason Diaz for the second time in four years as a result of his two top-five finishes on Sunday.
“It feels amazing,” Diaz said. “Just got the pressure off of us. Today, we had it to a point that we didn’t have to win races to go out there and drive to get the championship so we just settled in to do what we needed to do. My goal was to go out for the second race overall to see if we could win it. It just wasn’t in our cards today. We came home with a fifth and third place. Great season for my [Mike Darne Racing] team. They’ve been busting their butts all year long, May through now. It’s been phenomenal, especially to win at my home track is very special to me.”
Ronnie “Buckshot” Jones picked up the Mini-Stock division championship in style, by winning the 20-lap feature race on Sunday after his main championship rival, Robert Strmiska, was involved in a late race incident.
“It was a hard fought championship,” Jones said. “We missed the car all year and finally found what we were looking for here towards the end of the year. Robert was hard to beat. He ran good all year. Lee [Kozikowski] was strong. It just worked out in our favor this year.”
The championship is the Kenly native’s fourth championship at Southern National Motorsports Park.
Dylan Newsome clinched the Charger division championship while Michael O’Brien and Clay Jones scored wins in twin races. Tommy Jackson scored the victory in the $3,000-to-win Legends race while the championship went to Justin Mitchell. The Any Car title was clinched by Brad Blizzard.