DARLINGTON, S.C. – Josh Berry continues to prove his worth behind the wheel in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
A runner-up finish at Darlington Raceway Saturday, one of NASCAR’s most difficult tracks, is the latest bit of evidence that Berry has what it takes to succeed in NASCAR.
It may have been a surprise for some onlookers that Berry, making only his 15th NASCAR Xfinity Series start, ran so competitively at Darlington. However, Berry pointed out that most of his prior experience in late models is on tracks with rough, abrasive services, just like the surface Darlington is known for.
“I definitely felt more comfortable with how the tires wore and just allowing that little bit of an element into the racing,” Berry said. “It’s kind of what I’m use to racing at all these short tracks in North Carolina and South Carolina. Maybe that felt a little bit more normal.
“Really we had a really fast car and we’ve had a really fast car almost every race, we’ve been in position a lot of times and just had mistakes, really. Some on my end, some on pit road, incidents on the track. I’m not surprised we’re in the top-five, really.”
The Martinsville (Va.) Speedway winner continues to look for sponsors to further his NASCAR career. Soon he’ll be handing the reigns of the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet to rookie Sam Mayer, who will pilot the car for the second half of the season.
The plan was always for Berry to hand the car over to Mayer, but the hope was Berry would perform well enough to attract additional sponsorship to continue fielding cars for Berry. So far, according to Berry, that hasn’t happened.
“I’m available to talk to really anybody and do whatever,” Berry said. “I’ve had one conversation, maybe. This is Sam’s ride the second half of the season. I knew that going into this. I think Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) was very adamant about giving me this opportunity and just hoping something special would happen.
“We’ve already won, almost won today and ran second. I don’t really know what else I have to prove. We’ve just got to try keep working at it and try to find some sponsorship and just try to be able to put together a deal for next year really.”
Despite being so far unable to secure funding for further opportunities, Berry remains thankful to JR Motorsports for giving him this opportunity to race at a high level in NASCAR.
“I’m still very thankful and grateful to be doing this. I have a great job racing and this has been a great opportunity. It has been so fun getting to know this whole group and all of our team,” Berry said. “I’m very thankful for that opportunity. There are a lot of race car drivers that carry the frustration of knowing that they can race on Saturdays and Sundays. For me to just get this opportunity has been huge, no matter what happens after these last four races.
“I’m just racing for my life,” Berry would go on to say. “I’m just doing the best I can, trying my hardest. Just trying to get noticed.”
Regardless of what happens the remainder of the season, Berry believes his success so far this season and Saturday at Darlington has more than proven what he is capable of.
“To come here and run as good as I did at as tough a track, I think that all but proves that I can do it and I’m really proud of the job we did today,” Berry said. “It was a great day for our team.”