What’s Happening?

Josh Berry is finally getting his shot at the Big Time. After years of toiling in late models and an impressive Xfinity Series career, Berry is racing full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series with Stewart-Haas Racing. He is replacing future NASCAR Hall of Famer, Kevin Harvick, so, he has big shoes to fill. What does Josh Berry have to prove in 2024?

  • Josh Berry most recently raced in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with JR Motorsports. In 88 starts over 3 seasons, he won 5 races, and he made the Championship 4 in 2022. However, he failed to win a race in 2023.
  • Berry also made 10 Cup Series starts substituting for Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, and Noah Gragson. His best finish was 2nd in the spring race at Richmond.
  • Fans are excited to see what Josh Berry can do in 2024. However, others are skeptical about how he can do given SHR’s recent struggles.

Can He Compete on the Big Tracks?

Josh Berry has 12 career Cup Series starts under his belt, including 10 in 2023, and he was particularly great on short tracks. He had 3 top-10s on tracks 1.0 miles or fewer and a win in the All-Star Open.

On tracks over 1.0 miles in length, he had only 1 top-20 finish, which came at Atlanta where he finished 18th. His average finish on tracks that size was 26.3, and 5 of those starts came in Hendrick Motorsports equipment.

North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail

We know he can compete on short tracks, but, can he compete on the big tracks? Granted, a win on a short track does give him a spot in the Playoffs, but, those account for only 11 of the 36 races. If he wants to put together an overall solid season, he has to race better on bigger race tracks.

If he can figure out the intermediates and superspeedways, he will have a great season. He knows he can compete in the Cup Series on short tracks, so, complementing that could be huge.

Can He Be a Part of the Solution at SHR?

The reality of racing is that equipment is just as important as a driver’s skill. Stewart-Haas Racing as a whole struggled in 2023. It was the first time since Tony Stewart bought the team that SHR failed to win a race.

Josh Berry is not jumping into the SHR of the 2010s that was consistently competing for Championships. It’s a different era, and, expectations need to be adjusted accordingly. Still, can he be a part of the solution at SHR?

He is joining the only SHR team that made the Playoffs in 2024, and he has a good crew chief in Rodney Childers. He is arguably the best-positioned driver at SHR for 2024, and he has a lot of maturity for a Cup Series rookie.

It’s unfair to ask Berry to immediately win multiple races and compete for a Championship. However, it is fair to ask him to get the most out of his equipment. He may not be the entire solution, but, he can be a part of the solution.

Josh Berry is set for an interesting 2024 season. It’s an opportunity he has been yearning for, and it’s finally here. Can he improve where he needs to improve, and can he get the most out of his equipment?

North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail