Josh Berry Shines with Top-10 Finish at Iowa

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

As every race has seemingly become an audition for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR)’s drivers, Josh Berry shined in the Iowa Corn 350 as he led laps and scored a top-10 finish.

SHR recently announced that the team would be shutting down at the end of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. That leaves Berry and his teammates looking for 2025 seats. Since the announcement, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has run strong. At World Wide Technology Raceway a brake failure ended Berry’s day while the chaotic race at Sonoma Raceway left him out of the race with a suspension failure.

Iowa Speedway proved to be different for the Hendersonville, TN native. At the site of his NASCAR debut one decade ago in the Xfinity Series, Berry ran inside the top-10 throughout the entire 350-lap race. The No. 4 Ford Mustang Dark Horse challenged for the Stage 2 win before taking the top spot early in the final stage. Berry led 32 laps after an intense multi-lap back and forth battle with Chris Buescher until a caution waved for an accident in Turn 1.

The 33-year-old took the final restart in sixth. Coming to the restart, Berry ran into the back of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s Chevrolet. The damage was minimal as he maintained position inside the top-10 over the final 84 laps. Berry ultimately took the checkered flag in seventh.

“I thought we had a really good race and a really good car to score Stage points like we did,” Berry said. “We had some great restarts in there and just that last restart 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 4 team. They did a great job. That was a lot of fun, for sure. We’re going to keep digging to keep getting better.”

The contact with Stenhouse came after the choose procedure with one lap to green. The JTG – Daugherty Racing driver had checked up after catching the car ahead of him. Berry didn’t check up in time. Although there was visible damage to the SHR driver’s car, he didn’t believe that it was the main reason for slipping back to seventh. Berry points to losing track position instead.

“I don’t know (if I got any damage from the contact with Stenhouse),” Berry admitted. “It’s hard to say what that did. Obviously, it probably hurt it a little bit, but I think losing that much track position on the restart was more than anything. All in all, it was still a good day and I’m proud of our guys. We’ll keep digging.”

Berry scored points in both stages of the 306-mile race. After qualifying third he finished Stage 1 in fifth. Combined with the runner-up in Stage 2, Berry earned an additional 15 points in the two stages.

The seventh-place finish was Berry’s third top-10 of the season and the sixth of his Cup career. It also matches his career-high of three top-10 finishes from his time as a substitute driver last season.

The top-10 finish moved Berry up from 23rd to 21st in the points standings. Berry is 277-points behind the leader, Chase Elliott. He is also 100-points below the playoff cutline, currently held by Bubba Wallace.

Next for Berry is the USA Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Although he has no Cup starts at ‘The Magic Mile,’ the rookie does have three Xfinity starts at the Loudon, NH track. Berry has one top-10, an eighth-place finish, in 2021 at the track. He also won the pole in 2022.

The USA Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, June 23 at 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network. The race will also be broadcast on both the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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