By: Ashley McCubbin
When a driver experiences frustration on-track, they may show their emotions – and Josh Berry did just that on Saturday when the NASCAR Xfinity Series was at Phoenix Raceway following contact with Santino Ferrucci.
Now a couple days later looking back, he admits having some regrets.
“I know that’s not something I should do,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “I just let my emotions get the best of me. Like I said, I went over my thought process and how I got to where I did, and like I said, I wouldn’t do it again. I think some people liked it, some people didn’t, but with where I’m at, it’s probably best that I don’t do things like that.”
While driving his way back through the field following a penalty on pit road, Ferrucci would make contact with Berry, which ultimately cut the tire on the No. 8 Chevrolet and sent him spinning backwards into the wall.
“There’s a time and place for that in the move he made,” Berry commented. “Racing for 20th with 80 to go, 60 to go, whatever it was is not a place to do that. We saw the same thing basically happen for the win with (Justin) Allgaier and (Austin) Cindric.”
The double finger salute that followed was not just due to the incident, but rather a combination of all his emotions combined. Berry has been working hard to get this opportunity in the NASCAR Xfinity Series over the past couple years with JR Motorsports by winning multiple Late Model races, ultimately securing the 2020 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Championship.
“If you look at someone like myself – and I’m literally coming out of running Late Models at Hickory, Florence, and South Boston to run an Xfinity car,” he explained. “I think if you look with the ladder of driver development and the people I’m racing with, they have years of ARCA, years of Truck, and sometimes years of Xfinity ahead of me, and I’m coming from Hickory to run an Xfinity car at Phoenix with no practice, never seen the place. To run as good as we did with no practice is really incredible. To run third and legitimately have a shot to win that race at Phoenix and I know that, and I believe that.
“Even after we had a loose wheel and had to pit – that’s why we pitted, we had a loose wheel and felt like we needed to secure it. We still need with our tire strategy that we still stood a chance to win that race. With the accident that happened and putting it all together, I think that’s where you saw the emotion of me in knowing how good of an opportunity that was, how good our car was, how comfortable our car was at Phoenix, combined with the incident itself brought the emotion out of me.”
Fortunately, Berry will get more opportunities to prove himself behind the wheel, including this coming weekend at Phoenix Raceway. As he tries to inch closer to scoring a victory, he notes it will be critical to improve on a number of different levels.
“Aside from the actual driving the car and the speed of the car, restarts have been a focus of ours,” he shared. “The restarts are obviously different than what I’m used to, figuring out what lane I need to be in, the moves that need to make to gain track position rather than lose it, and then pit road. That’s been a huge improvement of me just over these first four races. Just getting better at running pit road speed, getting in the box, and putting in the right spot for the crew.
“It’s all stuff that I just haven’t done and we’re working to get all that stuff right so when we have a car as good as we did on Saturday, we can capitalize.”