Josh Berry Looks To Build On Hendrick Motorsports’ Success At Atlantaby Hunter Thomas March 17, 2023 0 comments
HAMPTON, Ga. – Josh Berry enters the Ambetter Health 400 coming off an impressive 10th-place finish at Phoenix Raceway in only his second NASCAR Cup Series start. Now, he’ll look to extend Hendrick Motorsports’ winning streak at the newly configured Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Berry, who is substituting for the injured Chase Elliott is essentially being thrown into the fire as he has finally made it to NASCAR’s top series. The Hendersonville, Tenn. native quickly found success in the NASCAR Xfinity Series following years of wins on the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series level, and now he’s piloting not only a NASCAR Cup Series car, but a championship-winning Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet.
At Las Vegas Motor Speedway during his Hendrick debut, Berry kept the car clean and finished 29th, and a week later, he earned his first-ever top-10 finish in only his second-career start. In the three weeks that he has spent at Hendrick Motorsports, Berry believes that his performance is only going to improve the more time that he’s able to spend with his team.
“It was amazing what a week of preparation did for us at Phoenix (Raceway,” Berry said. “Just being around each other and spending some time in the sim and just getting a little bit more comfortable with each other has definitely helped a lot. This week, I’ve also spent some time with Eddie (D’Hondt, spotter) and getting our communication better as well, which is going to be really important in Atlanta. I think we just keep pushing in that same direction. We’re trending better and better each time we go on the racetrack, so Atlanta should be fun.”
Berry has never competed in a superspeedway race in the NASCAR Cup Series, but he has eight starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series between Daytona and Talladega. His best finish on a superspeedway came just last year when he finished fifth at Talladega. Berry has for the most part avoided the superspeedway chaos, too, finishing seven of the eight races.
Now, Berry looks to take on Atlanta’s superspeedway hybrid configuration. Last season, he crashed out of the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the new configuration, but he finished runner-up in the summer. As for Hendrick Motorsports, the organization has won every NASCAR Cup Series race (2) at the new Atlanta Motor Speedway. William Byron won the race in March, and Elliott won in July. If Berry is able to avoid the “big one”, don’t be shocked if you see him battling up front for the win on Sunday.
“The top-10 finish at Phoenix (Raceway) was really cool for us to accomplish,” Berry said. “And for Atlanta (Motor Speedway), we just want to keep building on what we’ve been doing and just continue to improve. Atlanta is going to be a tough race without a doubt, but Hendrick Motorsports has been really strong there. I think if we can just stay out of trouble and hopefully stay up front, we’ll have a chance of getting a good finish.”
The Ambetter Health 400 will broadcast live on FOX at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images