For Josh Berry Family, Heritage, History Make Wood Brothers a Great Fit

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

CONCORD, N.C. – Some of the drivers and fans that are often most knowledgeable about NASCAR’s history are those with short track racing roots. For a short track racer like Josh Berry, the family, heritage, and history of the Wood Brothers Racing team makes it a great fit.

The NASCAR Cup Series rookie may have only recently moved up the racing ladder, however he’s competed at some of the sport’s historic grassroots tracks in Late Model competition. The 33-year-old is amongst the oldest Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders in recent years.

Between his experience, which goes well beyond one season in Cup, and a callback to the age of short track and grassroots racers reaching the Cup Series, Berry believes that he is a perfect fit for the sport’s oldest continuously operating team, Wood Brothers Racing, driving the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Mustang Dark Horse. The team, which has competed for over 70 years, has 99 Cup wins and was founded by NASCAR Hall of Famers Glenn and Leonard Wood.

“First and foremost, just the history, the heritage, the family atmosphere that the Wood Brothers provide,” Berry explained. “It just really feels like a great fit for me. I feel like I fit their brand and who they are and how I’ve gotten here and how they’ve gotten here. I feel like this is a great fit. 

“I’ve really enjoyed my relationship with Ford and to continue that on was something that’s important to me and I appreciate and I’m thankful to have that opportunity. It just really means a lot to drive an iconic car like the 21. I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me. I feel ready to provide results and I think that all in all, it’s going to be a great relationship.”

The wood brothers racing team proves to be a great fit for josh berry in the nascar cup series.
Wood Brothers driver announcement of Josh Berry to drive the #21 Wood Brothers Ford in 2025. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Berry first grabbed the attention of the Wood Brothers during his time competing for JR Motorsports in Late Models. Wins at Hickory Motor Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, and elsewhere stood out. Then, after reaching the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Berry’s stints as a substitute driver for Chase Elliott definitively grabbed Len Wood’s attention.

“We started hearing Josh’s name like, who won Hickory? Josh Berry. Who won Tri-County? Josh Berry. That kind of stuck in the back of our head from years ago,” Len Wood, Wood Brothers Racing’s Chief Operating Officer said. 

“I think when he came in and drove for Chase Elliott when he (broke his leg), he did really well. He adapted quickly. [Richmond] where he didn’t have a good qualifying lap and started in the back, but he finished [second]. That kind of catches your eye. And then the last few weeks he’s been pretty much up front at the end of each race, so that’s what we’re looking for.”

The five-race stint filling in for Elliott and another three races in Alex Bowman’s car while both were injured caught the garage’s attention. Berry scored three top-10 finishes, including a runner-up at Richmond, during his brief time in the NextGen Cup car. That was with zero prior experience in the Gen 7 car, though he did drive two Cup races in the final year of the Gen 6 car.

“When he substituted for Hendrick that was pretty eye-opening,” Jon Wood, Wood Brothers Racing’s President said. “I mean, (Josh) can tell you, but I can’t. These cars are monsters and to have no experience in a NextGen car or a Cup car and to hop in that thing and go like he did at different types of tracks, I mean, it gave every one of us pause and you don’t really know it at the time. It’s not something that you’re aware of. You’re not like, ‘Well, this might be our next driver,’ but you still remember it and it stood out.”

Combined with his stints as a substitute driver in two Hendrick Motorsports cars, and the Legacy Motor Club entry as well, Berry has had five different NASCAR Hall of Famers as team owners. When the 2025 season begins, the Hendersonville, TN native will add another team founded by Hall of Famers to his growing portfolio.

Berry believes that having driven for so many Hall of Famers in his relatively short NASCAR career in Cup and Xfinity is a testament to who he is as a person and the people that he has behind him.

“It speaks to who I am,” Berry said. “I think it just speaks to who I am and the people that I have behind me. I think that they know me and have opened me up and know the inside of me and who I am. It speaks to that to have this many people behind me it really is meaningful, and it’s been a great couple of years for sure going through all this.”

Next for Berry is the Grant Park 165 at the Chicago Street Course. Entering the only street course race weekend on NASCAR’s National Touring Series schedule, he is 19th in points, 296 behind leader Kyle Larson and 131-points below the playoff cut line, currently held by Bowman.

The Grant Park 165 is scheduled for Sunday, July 8, at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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