Interview

Josh Berry Ready to Make Most of Opportunity in Xfinity Series

By: Ashley McCubbin

While a lot of drivers know what their road is going to look like moving forward, the same can’t be said for Josh Berry. Instead, the partial schedule in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year could see the Late Model veteran continue there, or possibly earn himself a bigger opportunity at NASCAR’s premiere level.

“This whole opportunity is just about to proving myself to get another opportunity,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “Fortunately, I have time working against me a little bit being 30-years-old already, but I still think I have a lot of good opportunity and years left in me. I don’t know – winning a race, or coming close to winning a race would be a great step moving forward, but I’m not even sure what will happen if we do that.

“For me, I’m just trying to do the best that I can, trying to work hard and be respectful of this opportunity. I know how big this is for me so I’m just trying to do the best that I can.”

Through five races, Berry has shown speed with a pair of top-10 finishes matched alongside three crashes. It’s why he admits possibly trying too hard the last few weeks.

“Going forward, we’re going to try and do better,” he added. “We still have seven races ahead of us and Martinsville on Friday night should be a good one for us, so looking forward to getting going.”

Unlike the other tracks he has gone to this season, he has a lot of laps at Martinsville Speedway – behind the wheel of a Late Model, though.

“I’m really excited for this weekend,” he said. “It’s by far out of all the tracks on my schedule here that’s I’ve been to the most, and am most familiar with. I’ve ran quite a few laps there and won – just a great race track. I love short tracks and it’s one of the best ones. Really excited to get there and see what we can do.”

He has shown to know what it takes to get around there, winning the Valleystar Credit Union 300 a couple years ago, which the most prestigious Late Model stock event in the United States.

“It’s hard to put into words what that race means,” he said. “I think my peers in the Late Model stocks will understand just how much that race means. It’s kind of – in the short track world, it’s a level playing field for us. When you go race all these different tracks, everybody has their home track that they’re familiar with. When you go to Martinsville, you get one test day and you come back and race; there are no favorites and everybody puts their best effort into that race. They put a lot of focus on that event itself.

“It’s just prestigious to win, and it’s very hard to win. Most times we get anywhere from between 70 to 90 entries, somewhere in that range attempting, and it just a huge race for the Late Model stock world. It’s not maybe the most prestigious race in the country, but it’s high up there.”

With a short track background, combined with 12 Xfinity starts under his belt over the past five years, this weekend could easily be his best opportunity to prove himself.

Another track he would have preferred to see on his schedule is Richmond Raceway, after scoring a seventh-place finish in 2015 with JR Motorsports.

“We had a great race,” he reflected. “Ran in the top-three, a lot of time in the top-five, and ran really good there. That is another track that fit my style really well – we were able to have some practice, which is good. We ran really well there so wish that was on my schedule, but like I said, there are lots of good tracks left so we’ll see what we can do.”

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