Berry Fends Off Chastain For Replacements Win

Berry Fends Off Chastain
Josh Berry (73) held off Ross Chastain to win Tuesday night at the virtual Phoenix Raceway, circa 2008. (Ryan Bauer photo)

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Josh Berry held off a hungry Ross Chastain to earn his second LeafFilter Gutter Protection Replacements iRacing Series win of the season on Tuesday night at iRacing’s 2008 scan of Phoenix Raceway.

Berry showed his mastery of the virtual street stock, slipping and sliding his No. 73 iRacing/All Things Automotive entry while also maintaining his pace in the top five for the majority of the race. He led the final 19 laps after passing Ty Majeski for the top spot.

Things were looking up for Berry until the closing lap or so, when he quickly caught on to second-running Ross Chastain’s intentions to try and steal the victory away.

“I knew he would try to move me in the last corner if he was there, and he was there,” Berry explained. “I kinda had that planned out in my head a little bit, and luckily we had enough of a gap on third place. I was just trying to throw him off. I think he was planning on going in there and trying to move me up the track, and I just tried to do something that he didn’t expect.”

Expect it, Chastain did not.

Berry decided the best course of action would be to lift of the throttle just a tad to throw off the turn four entry of Chastain’s Nutrien Ag Solutions No. 10 , allowing Berry to continue holding the high side, while also using the outside wall as a shield to get him to the stripe.

“He still could have sailed it off in there and got me, but he went down on the apron, while I was able to move up and hold him off,” Berry added.

With the win, Berry became not only the first two-time winner of the LeafFilter Gutter Protection Replacements iRacing Series, but also the first winner of the series in both the NASCAR Cup Series cars and the street stocks.

As for the other finishers behind Berry and Chastain, it was a solid third-place effort for the No. 59 of Coleman Pressley, who could only sum up his result of the night as “bittersweet.”

Blasting his way from 33rd to fourth, Parker Kligerman continued to showcase his consistency by taking hard charger honors once again. Josh Williams was fifth.

iRacing Associate Producer Kevin Iannarelli, Justin Haley, Majeski, Tim Dugger and Justin Allgaier filled out the remainder of the top 10.

Notable new entries, a common theme over recent weeks in the Replacements field, included 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., who due to social-distancing just made his way from Florida back to his sim-rig in North Carolina.

Truex finished in 39th.

Meanwhile, iRacing Executive Vice President and Executive Producer Steve Myers also joined in on the fun from the company HQ in Massachusetts, bringing back an old favorite with his Papyrus paint scheme. He came home 23rd.

The race featured seven yellows, including a planned competition caution on lap 40.

The finish:

1. Josh Berry [4], 2. Ross Chastain [18], 3. Coleman Pressley [3], 4. Parker Kligerman [33], 5. Josh Williams [10], 6. Kevin Iannarelli [1], 7. Justin Haley [5], 8. Ty Majeski [2], 9. Tim Dugger [40], 10. Justin Allgaier [12], 11. Anthony Alfredo [11], 12. Jordan Erickson [20], 13. Ryan Flores [15], 14. Garrett Smithley [34], 15. Regan Smith [27], 16. Mike Clay [26], 17. Todd Gilliland [28], 18. Landon Cassill [8], 19. TJ Majors [36], 20. Dave Vincent [32], 21. Brent Wentz [42], 22. Johnathon Davis [7], 23. Steve Myers [21], 24. Chad Knaus [31], 25. Ron Capps [29], 26. Chris Rice [30], 27. AJ McCarron [38], 28. Harrison Burton [16], 29. Drew Herring [23], 30. Bobby Labonte [17], 31. Kevin Harvick [24], 32. Dale Earnhardt Jr. [35], 33. Taylor Gray [14], 34. Tyler Overstreet [19], 35. Kyle Long [37], 36. Ryan Truex [6], 37. Kevin Hamlin [9], 38. Bryan ‘Boris’ Cook [39], 39. Martin Truex Jr. [13], 40. Kyle Busch [25], 41. Elliott Sadler [22], 42. Tim Clauson [41].

Lead Changes: Five among four drivers.

Lap Leader(s): Kevin Iannarelli 1-4, Josh Berry 5-23, Coleman Pressley
24, Josh Berry 25-41, Ty Majeski 42-61, Josh Berry 62-80.

Laps Led: Josh Berry 55, Ty Majeski 20, Kevin Iannarelli 4, Coleman Pressley 1.

Hard Charger: 31-Tim Dugger (+31)

Caution Flags: Seven for 32 laps.

Margin of Victory: 0.104 seconds.

Time of Race: 59 minutes, 32.739 seconds.

Average Speed: 80.610 mph.

Pole Winner: 27-Kevin Iannarelli, 32.217 seconds (111.742 mph).

Fastest Lap: 73-Josh Berry, 31.618 seconds (113.859 mph).