Josh Berry’s move to Stewart-Haas Racing has been generally met with positive reaction from fans, but some fans have not reacted positively to this. Why is that? What is the case for or against Josh Berry in the 4 car for Stewart-Haas Racing.
The Case for Josh Berry
Josh Berry, a 32-year-old worked his way up the NASCAR ladder the hard way, or, some may consider the “Old School” way. Most modern-day drivers who get into the sport in their late teens or early 20s. Berry, on the other hand, did not run a full-time NASCAR National Touring Series season until running the full 2022 Xfinity Series, the year he turned 31 years old.
For some perspective, Berry is older than current Cup Series Champions Kyle Larson (30) and Chase Elliott (27). Berry was also born in the same year as 2-time Cup Series Champion Joey Logano.
What has Berry done while these other guys were running in the Cup Series winning championships? Berry was busy tearing up the short tracks of the Southeast in the CARS Tour for Dale Earnhardt Jr. From 2015-2022, Berry won 22 CARS Late Model Stock Tour races in 56 starts, including the 2017 series championship.
This year, Berry got his big break with an opportunity to drive in the Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports in relief for Chase Elliot and Alex Bowman. In eight points races, Berry has amassed three top-10s including a second place finish at Richmond Raceway. He also raced his way into the All-Star Race thanks to winning the All-Star Open.
He has definitely earned the opportunity to run Cup in some capacity it seems to some. However, not everyone believes that Berry should have gotten this ride for many reasons.
The Case Against Josh Berry
Some fans have concerns about Josh Berry in Stewart-Haas because of uncertainty over how Berry’s performance will be. SHR has had a difficult season thus far.
Kevin Harvick is by far the best driver for Stewart-Haas this year sitting in third in the points standings, but with no wins. Outside of Harvick, Chase Briscoe is barely in the playoffs currently in 16th, while Aric Almirola and Ryan Preece are outside of the top-20 with only one top-10 between the two.
Will Berry be put in a position to succeed with Stewart-Haas Racing? That remains to be seen. Harvick’s performance certainly makes it more likely if Berry gets SHR’s best cars, but there is some legitimate concern there.
There are also concerns about the consistency of Berry’s performance. While he has raced well on the shorter tracks in the Cup Series, he has struggled on tracks over 1.0 miles in length.
His finishes on intermediate tracks are 29th at Las Vegas, 25th at Kansas, and 30th at Darlington. That is not great especially considering he is driving arguably the best car in the sport. In the Xfinity Series this year, Berry has yet to find victory lane despite five wins the past two seasons.
Will Berry be able to race consistently well on these types of tracks when running a full-time schedule? That is a cloudy answer.
On top of that, Berry will only have two seasons of full-time NASCAR National Touring Series experience under his belt at the end of this season. Some wonder whether or not that is enough NASCAR experience for Berry.
Some drivers have made that minimum experience work as guys like Chase Elliot only ran two Xfinity Series seasons. However, other guys like Daniel Suarez had only two full-time Xfinity Series seasons and was thrust into Cup with mixed results. Stewart-Haas will likely hope that Berry’s short track experience will carry over in this regard.
Berry to Cup feels like a long time coming. However, that does not guarantee success.