Berry: SHR Will ‘Keep Fighting ‘Til The Last Lap In Phoenix’


Josh Berry in action at Iowa Speedway. (HHP/Chris Owens photo)

NEWTON, Iowa - Josh Berry put the NASCAR Cup Series on notice Sunday night during the inaugural Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway that Stewart-Haas Racing isn’t done just yet.

After qualifying third, the 33-year-old driver from Hendersonville, Tenn., was a mainstay inside the top 10 during the race, ultimately coming home seventh at the seven-eighths-mile oval.

Scoring points in both stages, Berry inherited the lead early in stage three, passing fellow Ford driver Chris Buescher on lap 232 in a thrilling back-and-forth battle.

Berry checked out on the field for 31 laps, but after a caution and subsequent pit cycle scrambled the running order, the No. 4 Overstock Ford Mustang never regained control.

Still, the overall performance left Berry smiling after the race, knowing he can contend for wins against the best of the best in the Cup Series.

“[We were able to] maintain our track position most of the night [and] score a lot of stage points … a lot of positives,” Berry said.

“I thought we had a really good race and a really good car,” he added. “To score stage points like we did, we had some great restarts in there and that last restart [after taking four tires] just didn’t really go our way. We lost a little bit of track position and just could never get it back, but all in all, just really proud of everybody on the [No.] 4 team.

“They did a great job … and we’re going to keep digging to keep getting better.”

With SHR, the team co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart and businessman Gene Haas, shutting down at the end of the season, some could say it would be easy to “mail it in” and not keep fighting for the remainder of the year.

Runs like Berry’s Sunday night show that won’t be the case in this situation.

“It was fun, thinking about that moment [of winning a Cup Series race] and if that could come,” noted Berry. “I feel like I deserve to be racing these cars week-in and week out, and I’ve done all I can do besides winning a race to prove that.

“These [SHR] guys are professionals, through and through. They are absolutely top-notch on this [No.] 4 team and we’re going to fight to the very last lap at Phoenix [Raceway],” he continued. “We’re just getting better and better and showing more and more potential. … Sometimes people forget, I think, that I’m a rookie and I’m still making mistakes and learning from them … but it’s been a privilege to get to this point, and hopefully there’s more to come.”

Berry scored a total of 15 stage points, which could prove crucial in the run to the playoffs. He gained two spots, moving him up to 21st in the standings, and sits 100 points behind the cutline with nine races left in the regular season.

The NASCAR Cup Series rolls on next to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., for the USA Today 301.

Coverage begins Sunday, June 23 at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA, the Performance Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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