By: Ashley McCubbin
Josh Berry enters his home track of Nashville Superspeedway this weekend riding a wave of momentum with three consecutive top-10’s, including a trip to victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The JR Motorsports spoke recently with NEWS FROM THE PITS about his thoughts entering the weekend.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts going into Nashville?
JOSH BERRY: I am defiantly excited to get back there. I am from Hendersonville, Tennessee which is about an hour from the race track there. So it’s a home race for me, and we had a really strong run there last year in the 8 car. That was my last race in the 8 last year. I’m excited to get back and hopefully we can have a strong run.
ASHLEY: What’s the toughest challenge when it comes to Nashville?
JOSH: I don’t know. Last year was a challenge in itself because the Xfinity Series, or really any of the top-three series hadn’t been there in nine or 10 years. So just trying to figure out how the surface changed in that time and our challenge was figuring out what we needed to do. They sprayed some traction compound on the track and ran it in, and really, I thought the racing was really good for really all three series. It was really fun. It’s like an intermediate, but smaller than intermediate as there’s more braking and stuff like a short track. It’s definitely an interesting place.
ASHLEY: What are your thoughts on your season?
JOSH: I’m really happy with how it’s been. We’ve had some hiccups here and there with just some execution issues, some on my part, some on pit road, different things like that. But really, the majority of the races we’ve had good speed and there was more potential for us as we work with each other and learn. My team, I spent maybe four or five races last year with whenever I would sub for Michael Annett. So we’re continuing to build a notebook together and I only feel we’re only getting better each and every week.
ASHLEY: I remember for awhile everybody heard you just needed the opportunity, and then you could prove yourself. What does it mean to be able to back that up with the success this year?
JOSH: It’s been nice. Obviously, we went into this year with high expectations for ourselves. It has helped that as a whole, our company has had a lot of speed. My teammates have been really strong every week, too, and really we’re just in a great position there to just continue to push each other to get better and our whole company is strong. That makes it a lot easier and we’re able to race with each other. So I still feel good where we’re at. I think we’re coming to a lot of exciting tracks for us and hopefully we can get a couple more wins and be prepared for when the playoffs start.
ASHLEY: You mentioned it in having all four cars running up front weekly, and I wanted to touch upon that. How is it having that good dynamic with everyone?
JOSH: It’s obviously a good thing to have the speed that we’ve had and all our teams are working together well, and all of drivers and teams are pushing each other to get better reach week. It’s a healthy competition. I’m not going to lie – it’s tough at times when you’re really racing hard like a race at Charlotte with me and Justin racing really aggressively and hard for the win. Those days are tough, but we have a good respect amongst each other and try to take care of each other when we can, and right now we haven’t had too many major issues.
ASHLEY: What do you feel you guys need to work on to be even stronger?
JOSH: I think we just really need to keep pushing each other and really continue to find a little bit more. I think for my side of things, my team specifically, we’re trying to continue to get better at road racing. That is something that I have no experience at. We had a good weekend at Portland a couple weeks ago. We’re just continuing that and getting better there. We feel good about our program at the short tracks and intermediates so we just need to continue to come together to make our cars better and bring good racecars to the track and not get lazy because right now, everybody is shooting for us.
ASHLEY: I know your background is late models. What’s the biggest thing that you learned from that time that you feel has been beneficial to your Xfinity success?
JOSH: I just think I raced against good competition at that level. I think it’s most definitely a little different, but at the same time, it’s a full body racecar. That’s what I’ve been racing for years and I honestly feel really good comfortable at the short tracks. I think the cars are similar to what I’m used to, and the competition that’s at the local level at all these short tracks – really all across country especially in the southeast – is just really high. There’s a lot of great drivers and teams at that level and it just pushed me and prepared me for when the opportunity finally came.
ASHLEY: Moving beyond Nashville this weekend, what track are you most excited to get to?
JOSH: There’s a lot. Obviously, Michigan and Pocono were two good tracks for me last year; I’m excited to go there. I’m excited for the road racing. It’s going to be a challenge, I know for sure, but something that I’ve been working hard on trying to get better on. There’s Bristol thrown in there – another great short track and like I said, we’re looking forward to this next run of a couple months and really pushing ourselves to get in a good spot for when the playoffs start.
ASHLEY: What track do you wish was on the Xfinity schedule that currently is not?
JOSH: I would say probably the Nashville Fairgrounds. We do to get to go to the superspeedway, but I’d love to see them go back to the Fairgrounds and race. It’s a great track and it’s obviously where I’ve grown up watching racing as a kid. I think I would have to pick that one.