CONCORD, N.C. – Josh Berry will drive the No. 4 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2024, he and the team announced Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The ride becomes Berry’s first full-time opportunity at NASCAR’s top level, replacing 2014 Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick as he retires from his 23-year career before a transition into the television booth. Crew chief Rodney Childers will remain atop the pit box for the No. 4 team as Berry officially joins the Cup Series.
“I can’t imagine a better opportunity for me – to get in a car that’s been as successful and iconic as the No. 4,” Berry said in a team press release. “Kevin is a future NASCAR Hall of Famer, and it’s going to be a challenge trying to come after someone so successful. But I know I’m going to have an amazing group of people around me, led by Rodney Childers, to where we can hit the ground running.”
Berry, 32, is in his second full-time Xfinity Series season with JR Motorsports. The native of Hendersonville, Tennessee, has won five races in the second-tiered series, including a three-win performance in 2022. He moves to Stewart-Haas Racing, which won the 2014 Cup Series championship with Harvick and has earned 69 victories since team co-owner Tony Stewart partnered with Gene Haas in 2009.
“We’re incredibly proud to have Josh Berry begin the next chapter of his racing career in our No. 4 Ford Mustang,” Stewart said in a release. “Kevin Harvick has obviously set a very high bar, but Josh brings maturity, experience and, above all, a winning record to Stewart-Haas Racing. He is the right driver, at the right time, for the No. 4 team and our organization.”
The long-time late-model racer has also filled in for two Hendrick Motorsports teams during the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, piloting the No. 9 Chevrolet for five races while Chase Elliott recovered from a broken left leg before getting into the No. 48 Chevrolet for three points races while Alex Bowman recovered from a fractured vertebra. Berry also competed at North Wilkesboro Speedway in the exhibition All-Star events, winning the All-Star Open to advance to his first NASCAR All-Star Race.
While subbing for Elliott, Berry scored his career-best Cup finish by placing second at Richmond Raceway on April 2. His stint in the No. 48 Chevrolet included starts at Dover Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Darlington Raceway, earning a best finish of 10th at Dover.
“Josh Berry has proven himself in the Xfinity Series and this year showed how quickly he can adapt to the cars and the level of competition in the NASCAR Cup Series,” Greg Zipadelli, the team’s chief competition officer, said. “He’ll be a rookie in our race car next year, but he drives like a veteran. He puts in the work to ensure that he’s always ready for the opportunities that come his way, and we’re very happy that his next opportunity is with Stewart-Haas Racing.”
Berry is a renowned late-model stock car racer who joined JRM’s late-model program in 2010. Per the team’s website, Berry collected his 100th overall victory with JRM in the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park on Nov. 27, 2022. The most significant of those triumphs came at Martinsville Speedway in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, the most prestigious race in late-model racing.
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“Late-model racing is where I came from, and I think it’s the best place to learn and prepare to eventually race in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Harvick, who co-owns the CARS Late Model Stock Tour. “Josh is a really good example, and probably the best and most recent example, of applying all that he’s learned in late models to what he’s doing in the Xfinity Series.
“Winning the CARS Late Model Stock Tour championship and the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship (in 2020) requires a lot of skill and an equal amount of determination. Josh did both and won a lot of races along the way. That experience allowed him to be fast and successful right off the bat when he got to the Xfinity Series, and when he had his opportunities to race in the Cup Series earlier this year, he again showed speed and an ability to race at the front.
“I’m very happy for Josh and proud to see him get this opportunity. He’s going to be a really good fit with Rodney and the No. 4 team.”
His NASCAR trajectory took a bit longer to develop. After two Xfinity races with JRM in 2014, he scored a breakout opportunity in September 2015 at Richmond Raceway, where he was placed behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet in a last-minute deal because sponsorship hadn’t been sold otherwise.
A seventh-place run garnered heaps of attention after competing inside the top five all night, but it took another six years until he was afforded a significant, multi-race opportunity in the Xfinity Series. Berry joined JRM to drive the No.8 Chevrolet for 12 races in 2021, scoring his first NASCAR national series victory at Martinsville.
In addition to driving the No. 31 Chevrolet for Jordan Anderson Racing five times that season, he also replaced an injured Michael Annett in JRM’s No. 1 entry, earning his second win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
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“The Xfinity Series win at Martinsville changed my career and allowed us to point toward a full-time season for 2022 where we competed for the championship,” said Berry, who qualified for the Championship 4 in the Xfinity Series last year.
Berry has driven the No. 8 Chevrolet on a full-time basis since the beginning of the 2022 season and currently sits fifth in points, 112 markers behind series leader John Hunter Nemechek with six top-five finishes and 10 top 10s in 14 races.