MOORESVILLE, N.C. – After a busy start to his season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Josh Berry is set for a two-week return to his late model roots.
With NASCAR taking a two-week break for the Tokyo Olympics, Berry will compete in Saturday’s Hampton Heat race at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., followed by the CARS Tour Throwback 276 at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway on July 31. He’ll race in both events for JR Motorsports.
“I’m excited. I missed that group (his late model team) and I’m looking forward to going and racing with them the next couple of weeks,” Berry said. “The off-week for the NASCAR schedule came at a really good time, and these are a couple of good races for us to go and run.”
Berry has competed in four late model races this season, earning a $30,000 victory during the Old North State Nationals at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C. He also earned weekly late model victories at Orange County and South Carolina’s Florence Motor Speedway.
“For me, it’s just getting back in the flow of practicing, working on the car throughout practice and maximizing what you have there,” he said. “It’s just show up and race on the NASCAR side of things, for the most part. It will be different adjusting to that, and I’m pretty hands-on in the late model cars. I’m looking forward to getting back in the swing of things.”
Berry has enjoyed a successful NASCAR season thus far, earning a NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway as well as four top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 16 starts. He also has a top-10 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway and made his NASCAR Cup Series debut driving for Spire Motorsports at Dover (Del.) Int’l Speedway.
The 30-year-old Berry has never competed in the Hampton Heat race before, but has raced at and won at Langley Speedway before.
“It’s been a pretty good place for me, but things have never lined up to run their big race, the Hampton Heat,” Berry said. “With everything going on, this is a good opportunity for us to go up there and do that.”
At Hickory, Berry previously claimed the late model stock car track championship 2014 and won the Throwback 276 race in 2018. He’ll attempt to win it a second time on July 31.
“We’ve raced there a lot, so I always feel like I have a good shot at it,” Berry said. “I’m optimistic about that, but we have to keep working to make our car a little better there. That’s a 138-lap race, and last year we raced twin 40-lappers almost every week. We’re going to have to approach it a little different to make sure we have a car that will be good over the course of the race. It will be hot and slick. It’s always a fun weekend.”