Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Josh Berry joining Stewart-Haas for 2024

It had long been rumoured but is now a reality: Josh Berry will be Kevin Harvick‘s successor in the #4 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing starting with the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. The team announced his signing on Wednesday.

Berry’s rise to the Cup Series has been regarded as an old-school approach, having spent much of his career in grassroots racing with modest but insufficient funding to climb the stock car ladder before getting his break in the Xfinity Series. Driving for JR Motorsports, he made the Championship Round in 2022 after a three-win season and is currently fifth in the 2023 standings.

Since 2021, he has made ten Cup starts all in substitute duty. His top-level début came at that year’s Dover race while Justin Haley was out for COVID-19 protocol, then replaced Haley’s team-mate Corey LaJoie at Michigan later in the season for the same reason. Two years later, he filled in for the injured Chase Elliott at JRM parent team Hendrick Motorsports and impressed at Richmond where he finished second, followed by a three-race stretch in Hendrick driver Alex Bowman’s car with another top ten at Dover. His “super sub” role has also applied in the Xfinity and Truck Series.

He is represented by Harvick’s talent agency KHI Management, which coupled with his results in both series made him a natural candidate to replace the retiring Harvick. Rodney Childers will remain on the #4 team as his crew chief.”

“I’ll be perfectly honest, this was not a big group of people that we had to make the choice from,” said team co-owner Tony Stewart. “We literally put all of our eggs in one basket and we put them on this kid. He’s somebody that we all feel like is the right fit to step into the #4 car in the future and we’re all super excited to have him at Stewart-Haas Racing.”

Berry will arrive at SHR hoping to turn the team’s fortunes around. Although Harvick is fifth in points sixteen races into the season, his team-mates have struggled mightily with the next best being Ryan Preece in twenty-fifth and Aric Almirola a spot behind. Chase Briscoe is thirty-first due to a 120-point penalty, but would still be twentieth without the deduction.