Notes of Interest

● Josh Berry and the NASCAR Cup Series field heads to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, for the first road-course race on the 2024 schedule. It will be Berry’s first Cup Series start on a serpentine-style track, but he has made two starts at COTA in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Most recently, the 33-year-old Cup Series rookie notched a top-10 result in his JR Motorsports entry in the Xfinity Series race there last March, crossing the finish line eighth in just his second start there. Berry has 15 starts on road courses in the Xfinity Series, nabbing four top-five results, nine top-10s, an average starting position of 14.4 and an average finish of 12.3.

● Berry showed his short-track speed at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last Sunday, earning the outside pole starting position in qualifying, his best starting position in 17 Cup Series outings. Berry led 25 of the race’s 500 laps and managed to secure a 12th-place finish, his best finish of the season.

● After five Cup Series points-paying races in 2024, Berry is ranked second in the rookie points standings with 74 markers. He trails leader Carson Hocevar, who currently has 80 points, and leads fellow rookies Kaz Grala (55 points) and Zane Smith (41 points).

● Crew chief Rodney Childers will be atop the pitbox for his fourth COTA event. He and retired Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick collaborated on finishes of 11th and 13th in 2022 and 2021, respectively. Childers has one road-course win – Harvick’s June 2017 victory at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway – among eight top-five finishes and 17 top-10s during his career on tracks that turn left and right.

● has joined Stewart-Haas and Berry’s No. 4 team this weekend at COTA. The partnership coincides with the March 28 relaunch of, home of crazy good deals that offer quality and style for less. is for the savvy shopper who loves the thrill of the hunt, and it includes product categories customers know and love, like patio furniture, home furniture and area rugs, while reintroducing jewelry, watches and health-and-beauty products. For those who can’t wait until March 28, they can shop now at

Josh Berry, Driver of the No. 4 Ford Mustang Dark Horse

What do you work on to become a better road-course racer? Obviously, there’s simulation, but does your relationship with Ford Performance Racing School also allow you to hone your road-racing techniques?

“Obviously, this is my first road course (in the Cup Series), so I am still figuring all that out as far as what is available and what we can use. The biggest thing I can do is try to get as comfortable as I can in the braking zones and maximize that to my potential, and then learning the racetrack. To me, those are the two biggest things, especially learning the track and finding the little details that I need to know in the race.”

What is the most challenging part of COTA? Where can you make the biggest gains?

“Like I said before, learning the braking zones there is important – there are some high-speed portions that you can lose a lot of time in if you aren’t good in that section. It’s cool, though, because a lot of the course flows together, right? Like, how the corners lead into one another. It’s going to be important for me to learn how to exit one corner and then enter the next, and how they flow from one to the next so I can make the best laps I can.”

Turn one has a heavy braking zone and a tight, left-hand turn. How do you manage your level of aggression on restarts throughout the race?

“You have to be aggressive pretty much the whole race, otherwise you can give up a lot of spots, but a lot of it is just circumstance. You have to take the space as the field fans out and try to make it through the first corner as clean as you can and really that’s all you can do.”

How do you rate yourself on road courses?

“I feel like I have improved a lot. Growing up, I didn’t race any road courses, so it’s been a steep learning curve for sure, but it is something I have worked really hard at to be better and I feel like I did get a lot better at it in the Xfinity Series. I am excited to get to field a Cup car and see how it’s different but, at the same time, it’s just more learning and I am sure it will be a challenge.”

The current Cup cars seem exceptionally suited to road-course racing, to where the cars are forgiving and drivers aren’t penalized for mistakes. Because of that, it seems like there’s more rooting and gouging out on the racetrack than ever before. What’s your take?

“The car can handle a lot of bumping and beating. Pretty much everything is indestructible except for the tow link, so it will be bumper cars in the corners, but we have already seen that at COTA. This car doesn’t wheel hop, so that makes it to where you can challenge the braking zones a little more and be more aggressive.”

Do you watch other racing series that visit COTA during the year to prepare and take notes about the track ahead of the Cup Series race?

“Stock cars are so unique that you can’t really watch other series to learn much, and there is so much data from the previous races that we have enough to learn where people are making up time and try to prepare yourself with the numbers we have. I feel like that’s all we can really do until we get there and get going.”