Sunday afternoon during the All-Star Open, fill-in driver defied the odds as he won the race, this ensuring that Alex Bowman’s No. 48 Ally Chevrolet will race in Sunday night’s All-Star Race. The race was a wild one with many tempers flaring and on-track incidents occurring to break up the 100 lapper at North Wilkesboro.
You Need To Know:
- The victory, albeit a non-points one, is Berry’s first amongst Cup Series competition. He has been filling in part-time for the injured Alex Bowman the last several weeks after subbing for an injured Chase Elliott for five races earlier in the season. Berry’s win in the All-Star Open marks the first time in recent memory that a competitor who was not competing full-time in Cup Series points (as he is competing for the Xfinity title for JR Motorsports) has made the All-Star Race. Berry was not eligible for the fan vote so his only ticket to get into the big show was to either win the Open or finish second.
- Berry has the reputation of being something of a short track ace. For most of his career (and life) he has duked it out in the Late Model scene, racing at tracks like his local Hickory Motor Speedway as well as Martinsville. He won the national title in the NASCAR Advance Autoparts Weekly Racing Series, their late model division, in 2020 for JRM. He would make several starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series team as a part-time driver off and on from 2014-2021. He would score his first victory at Martinsville in 2021 running part-time in the No. 8 car before graduating to full-time in 2022. Due to injury, Berry would sub for Chase Elliott in the No. 9 for five races in 2023. His best showing would be at Richmond, a short track similar to North Wilkesboro, where he would finish 2nd.
- Berry is a favorite amongst fans. I’m sure many of them are thrilled that this ultimate underdog driver who had to work his way up the ranks by dominating the local short track scene is now locked into to the legendary All-Star race at the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway. Who knows, maybe a strong showing tonight will be the push he needs for a team to put ink to paper and sign him for a Cup ride in 2024.
Ty Gibbs, the polesitter due to the No. 54 crew’s blistering fast pitstop during the Pit Crew Challenge held on Friday night, would cross the line in second, taking the second transfer spot. The third and final transfer spot would go to fan vote winner, Noah Gragson, who was involved in one of those on-track incidents as he clipped the problematically placed pit wall in turn 1. The incident would damage a rear toe link on the No. 42 Black Riffle Coffee Chevy. NASCAR officials would allow him to fix the issue so that he could race in the night’s main event.
The Main Character
Josh Berry is a big dog on campus tonight at North Wilkesboro! As reported by Peter Stratta, Berry feels like he has a strong car to compete with tonight, in spite of the little track data the team has acquired for night racing conditions.
Around The Garage
JRM teammate down in the Xfinity Series, Brandon Jones, tweeted Berry his congratulations.
Hendrick Motorsports says that Josh Berry is the 23rd different driver to win in Cup competition for the organization.
In The Stands
Boomhauer7691 calls for NASCAR to gift Dale Earnhardt Jr. a charter so that he can field a No. 88 Chevy for Josh Berry next year. With no openings at Hendrick Motorsports, he wants to keep Berry in the Chevy/HMS family.
Tackleberry claims that Berry is actually better than Bowman and should replace him for the 2024 season.
This Chase Ellott fan is just elated that all 4 HMS Chevys are locked into the main event.
Every party has its pooper and Josh Berry fans just found theirs. Uncle Ruckus doesn’t think Berry should even be allowed to compete in the All-Star race.
Murph applauds the short track ace for putting on a clinic at the historic short track.
BlueFox98 says that Berry is the “real deal” and begs for someone, anyone, to give him a Cup ride for 2024.
Justin Robertson wishes Berry luck in his attempt to win the big check.
Bubba Elofskey tweets this humorous GIF of Josh Berry fist pumping in a Tire Pros ad.
On Your Screen
Darian Gilliam, aka Black Flags Matter, reports that Josh Berry and Ty Gibbs advance to the All-Star Race. That they did!
From The Pressbox
Our very own Daily Downforce Twitter mod, Evan, reports that Berry won the All-Star Open, beating out Ty Gibbs.
PRN Radio reports that Josh Berry’s win comes with a sigh of relief.
Congratulations to Josh Berry for making it into the All-Star Race in 2023! Now, on to the Big Show!