A lot of fans might be a little more casual to the happenings of what goes on in the lower series of NASCAR. Even those fans probably were bombarded with the name Josh Berry this weekend after he got his first NASCAR win at Martinsville.
It was an emotional affair that had everyone from the driver to the owner tearing up. There was this overwhelming media presence that we’re not used to seeing from Xfinity, not even with Noah Gragson’s antics. The reason for this is not really a surprise, it’s because of Dale Earnhardt Jr., the forever favorite. I wanted to take a minute to fully explain why Josh Berry is important to NASCAR’s future.
Josh Berry is what you’d call a project and he’s a project for JR Motorsports. Dale Jr. is no stranger to trying to discover and foster new talent into the sport, but Berry is by far the driver he has put the most time, money, and effort into. Berry’s name will now become synonymous with Jr.’s for the rest of his career.
He has been racing for JR Motorsports for many years after a lucky encounter on iRacing caught the eye of Jr. who then took him under his wings. Berry has won multiple races and championships in the late model program that JR Motorsports runs. This season he was given a 12 race opportunity to prove that he has what it takes for NASCAR.
It has been a struggle for many weeks, but with no practice time and visiting tracks he’s never driven, there is only so much you can expect. It was an unfair hand from the beginning, but he played it and it’s finally paying off after this win.
Another nugget to come out of this is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirmed that he has seriously considered moving JR Motorsports to the Cup Series. This is something he has been adamant may never happen and if it did it would be far down the road. The financial and competitive stress of racing in Cup never seemed to entice him.
I don’t think it’s much coincidence that he’s starting to consider it now that his project is coming along. I obviously don’t think Josh Berry is going to be racing in Cup next year for Jr., but I think that he’s part of the plan.
Dale Jr. implied that he is now considering it, but it is still a few years away. This is not a deal that will happen next year, and that’s what give Berry time. JR Motorsports is currently attempting to find a way to give Josh an attempt to complete the remainder of the Xfinity schedule and go after a championship. So, this is not just a short opportunity and then it’s over, I think Jr. always had plans for Josh and this was just the start.
If JR Motorsports can find a way to keep Josh in their cars for the next couple years and continue his development, he might be the motivation Jr. needs to move into the Cup series.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say the sport needs Jr. and while he’s still actively involved in NASCAR in almost every facet, he’s still not out there on the track. There is no precence of an Earnhardt in the Cup series on track.
Teresa destroyed Dale Earnhardt Inc., Jeffrey Earnhardt doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be a Cup regular, and Jr. has made it clear he doesn’t want any of his children to race if he can help it.
Getting JR Motorsports into Cup might be the last chance we have to get the Earnhardt name back into Cup, and Josh Berry being the man that Jr. has put so much effort into and taken under his wing, might be the closest thing to a successor to the Earnhardt legacy we ever get.