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Does Josh Berry to the Wood Brothers Make Sense?

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What’s Happening?

Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal reports that Josh Berry and The Wood Brothers are “Moving towards finalizing an agreement” for Berry to drive for the team in 2025. The move means Harrison Burton is looking for a new ride for 2025, as expected. The Wood Brothers has also scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, July 3 at 11 AM ET, presumably to introduce Berry.

  • Josh Berry to the Wood Brothers has been in the rumor mill for a while. Stern reported in late June that Berry and the team had met about teaming up for 2025. Berry also did not bring a lot of sponsorship with him to the Cup Series, and The Wood Brothers can help alleviate some of that with their longtime partner, Motorcraft.
  • Harrison Burton has also long been expected to leave The Wood Brothers after 2024. He has not won a race and has only one top-five finish in his first 91 races for the team. His plans are not yet known.
  • Fans are happy to see Berry land on his feet. He went through a lot to get to the Cup Series, and many would be upset to see it end after just one full-time season with a shutting-down team. However, some are concerned that there is a better opportunity out there.

Was This the Right Move?

This is an interesting move for all parties involved, but there are many upsides.

For The Wood Brothers, this move is similar to when they signed then-28-year-old Matt DiBenedetto in 2020. Instead of signing a young prospect to develop in the Team Penske pipeline, they opted for a veteran driver with a potentially high ceiling.

Berry fits that bill, except he’s a bit older and more accomplished. He will be 34 years old when the 2025 season starts, but his potential is very high. When given opportunities in top equipment, he’s shown what he is capable of.

In the Xfinity Series, he won two races in a part-time schedule for JR Motorsports in 2021 before moving to full-time and making the Championship 4 in 2022. At the Cup level, he recorded three top-10s in fill-in duty for Hendrick Motorsports in 2023, including a second place at Richmond and a win in the All-Star Open. This year at SHR, he currently leads the Rookie of the Year race with four top-10 finishes.

The team could have benefitted from signing a young driver like Noah Gragson. However, Berry is far from a bad choice.

For Berry, this may not have been his only option. Just last week, Bob Pockrass named him a candidate to race for Front Row Motorsports, a “Tier One” organization, unlike The Wood Brothers. Front Row likely has a higher ceiling than The Wood Brothers does, but that doesn’t mean The Wood Brothers don’t have potential.

Before Burton joined in 2022, the Wood Brothers were on a solid run as a race team. They had finished top-20 in the standings every year since becoming a full-time team again in 2016 including two Playoff appearances in 2017 (Ryan Blaney) and 2020 (DiBenedetto). The Wood Brothers were a genuine Playoff contender at their best, and they were always at least in the mix.

It will also be interesting to see whether or not crew chief Rodney Childers will follow Berry to The Wood Brothers. The two want to stick together, if possible, but Bob Pockrass is not sure Childers will follow Berry here.

Berry moving to The Wood Brothers is not surprising, but is it the best move? If Front Row was still on the table, one could argue that was a better opportunity. Still, that doesn’t mean Berry can’t succeed with The Wood Brothers.

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