Josh Berry, driver of the No. 4 Overstock Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Stewart-Haas Racing, has had his share of success at Dover Motor Speedway with one NASCAR Xfinity Series win and a pair of runner-up finishes. In addition, he ran 10th in the Cup Series race last year at the Monster Mile.

JOSH BERRY, No. 4 Overstock Ford Mustang – YOU’VE HAD GOOD LUCK AT DOVER WITH SOME DIFFERENT TEAMS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING THERE THIS WEEKEND? “I’m excited to get to Dover. It’s been a really good track for us on the Xfinity side of things the last couple of years. Obviously, with Junior Motorsports they have really strong cars there, too, so that’s definitely helped. We’ve had some great results on the Xfinity side with a win in ‘22. I had a really solid race there last year in the 48 finishing 10th, so I think that’s a little bit more of a confidence boost for us going there. I felt like that was a good race for me and that opportunity. I really kind of started to feel more comfortable throughout that opportunity with the 48 and just getting more adjusted to the car, so we feel good about where we’re at. We’ve been running better than we’ve been finishing. The data showed that for us, so we just have to keep plugging along and the results will come.”

DO YOU THINK FORD NOT WINNING YET IS A PRODUCT OF PLAYING CATCH-UP WITH THE DESIGN OR IS IT JUST BAD RACING LUCK? “It’s hard to say. I don’t really necessarily want to blame luck. A lot of times in this stuff you make your own luck. I think, at least for me on the 4 team side of things, I can’t speak for those other guys, I feel like when we’ve had our car driving like we want, we’ve had speed. We saw that at the short tracks, even at Texas. We had an accident, but we were knocking on the door of getting up into the top 10, so, for us, it’s just a combination of everything, I think. We had some races where we didn’t run quite like we wanted and we’ve had some races where we’ve been really fast and had a miserable day on pit road, so it’s a combination of everything. The reality of it is it’s just hard to win at this level. I don’t think, for me, I’m not necessarily panicked. I think that we’re gonna continue to get better on the 4 team. I’m gonna continue to get more comfortable with Rodney and this group and I feel like if we keep doing the right things we’ll keep running better. Everyone at Ford is working really hard too on the aero side of things and on the engine side of things. There are a lot of things that go into it that we know are areas we can improve on and you keep doing that. They just won the championship in all three divisions and everyone is waving the white flag and panicking, so I think we’ll be fine. It’s just gonna take a little time.”

THREE DIFFERENT TEAMS IN THE CUP SERIES AT DOVER IN THREE DIFFERENT SITUATIONS GOING INTO IT. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE DIFFERENT MINDSETS FOR YOU GOING INTO THOSE RACES? “Each one is different. I think obviously my first Cup start being with Spire. They were pretty much like, ‘Don’t wreck the car. We’re not really here to race. We’re just gonna ride around and do the best we can.’ But it was still fun to get to run a Cup Series race. I was part-time in the Xfinity Series like that and it was a great experience for me to come and get to do. Last year in the 48, that was a lot of fun. I think we’d come off a really strong Xfinity race. We ran second the day before, so to get a top 10 in the Cup race was a lot of fun. I think it was a great opportunity for me to work with those guys and learn and run a race and be competitive and get a solid finish. I think with all that now I feel more excited to go back and work with Rodney and these guys. They’ve had some strong cars and good cars at Dover, even in the Next Gen era. I think sometimes we forget that we’re in a totally different car than what those guys have had over the years. They had good cars there last year and had an issue with a tire that put them behind, so we’ve seen at these tracks that we kind of have circled that we know I’m a little more comfortable at and they have good cars at, we’ve been able to circle those and we’ve had strong runs at nearly every one of them, so hopefully we can do the same thing this weekend.”

YOU’VE BEEN ALL CUP THIS YEAR. NO XFINITY. HOW HAS THAT BEEN FOCUSING JUST ON ONE SERIES? “I think it’s helped with the Cup car for sure. I felt like last year even though usually there were several races that we had good results, there was still adaptation from the Xfinity car to the Next Gen car and how it drove differently and how it felt, especially coming off a race like that in the Xfinity race where you’re running 200 laps in a car that’s much different. I think just being able to focus on the Cup car has been a little bit of a weight off my shoulders and just making sure that I understand how to continue to evolve and learn and how to adapt to that. I don’t know if the results will be any different, but it’s a little bit easier from bouncing back and forth between the cars. You just visually look at the cars and they’re so incredibly different that it makes it continually hard to jump back and forth like that, especially when you’re trying to learn on the fly.”

KANSAS IS NEXT WEEK AND ONE OF THE FAVORITE SPOTS FOR DRIVERS AND FANS. WHAT MAKES KANSAS SO FUN TO DRIVE? “I think the biggest thing, from my side of things especially, that was another race that I had experienced last year in the 48. I think Kansas just races really well with the Next Gen. I think just having the different lane options – top, middle, bottom, against the fence, the restarts are crazy – I think it just puts on a really good race there and Kansas is unique. It’s kind of to the point where it’s starting to age and wear the tires a little bit, so there’s that side of things. You’ve got to be conscious of how you’re pushing the tires and sliding the tires, which is more fun as a driver just to know you have to pay a little bit more attention to that, so I just think all of those things together it just puts on a good show as a mile-and-a-half. It’s one I’ve been looking forward to going back to. Like I said before, I think this is a race I ran much better than I finished last year, so I’m excited to go back and experience that again with my new team and build off of our intermediates earlier this year.”

THE FOLLOWING WEEK IS DARLINGTON AND YOU’RE THROWING BACK TO ONE OF RODNEY’S CARS. WHO HAD THAT IDEA AND WHAT WILL THAT MEAN TO YOU? “Honestly, it was a culmination of a lot of people at Stewart-Haas Racing and also our partner, Harrison’s, that jumped on board and helped make all that happen. Being that grassroots is the theme for that week, I think it created some opportunity for us to feel a little bit more at home with the whole throwback idea and what we do with those. I definitely was not interested in throwing back to myself. I definitely wanted to do somebody else and just opened the opportunity with Rodney and Rodney’s career racing late models before becoming a crew chief and then everybody buying into that, Harrison’s buying into that, helping make the car and the branding – changing up their branding to help adapt to that. It just made it all make sense and it’s a cool deal. Rodney was really exciting. We surprised him a couple weeks ago with the unveil and he was super excited for that. It’s just a cool thing. It gives us an opportunity to give back just a little bit to a lot of the people that do a lot for us and it’s more than just throwing decals on a car to sell diecasts or something like that. For us, this one really has a lot of meaning, especially for Rodney and thinking back to his career and growing up and learning racing. It’ll be fun. I know it’ll be cool for him to have his family there I’m sure and watch the car go around the track.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT THEY’RE DOING GRASSROOTS RACING AS THE THEME AT DARLINGTON? “I think it’s really cool. More than anything, I hope as many people participate as they can. It’s hard sometimes with that idea. We all have so many sponsors that are so incredibly important to our programs and they’re gonna have to buy in and change up their branding and everything to make this all happen, so sometimes it’s not as easy as it looks from the outside to make all this happen, but, overall, it’s always cool to me to people paying attention to that grassroots level. There are so many great tracks around Darlington and the South Carolina area, the North Carolina area that put on a lot of great racing, so anything we can do to shine a little light on that and help that side of things is a plus in my eyes.”

LOOKING TO THE ALL-STAR RACE. DO YOU HAVE ANY VIEWS ON WHAT TIRES SHOULD BE USED AND WHAT DO YOU THINK COULD WORK THERE TIRE-WISE? “Hopefully, they take a stab at it and literally swing for the fences a little bit with the All-Star Race. I think that would be a great opportunity to learn something. I’ve heard some rumors flying around a little bit about trying some different compounds. I think those are all great ideas. I think they need to swing for it. They need to get on the other side of it and see if they can learn anything and see if it makes a difference or not. I think those are all things that we definitely need to do. We need to do it sooner rather than later. I think they need to get aggressive with it. I think the All-Star Race is gonna be a good opportunity to do that. On the same thing, it’s gonna be tricky with it being a repave. I go back to my years of short track racing and when they repaved a short track around here it always took a while to run in and there be multiple grooves and we always struggled with tires blistering and things like that, so it’s gonna be a challenge for sure. It’s gonna definitely be a unique situation, but I think it’s something they’re gonna have to do to try to help the product for the race. I think they have some ideas and we’ve tried to give them more ideas and we’ll just have to see where they take it and what they come up with.”

EVEN IF THERE’S A CHANGE IN TIRES WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SEE AND HOW DOES IT CARRY OVER TO SOME OTHER TRACK? HOW MUCH CAN YOU LEARN ON A REPAVE LIKE THAT? “I think the reality is this. It’s gonna be single lane. I would really be surprised if we had more than one groove, and it seems like, and that’s just because that’s the nature of a repave. The more you run on the asphalt the better it gets and how it seems to widen out. It usually takes time with those to get run in, and it seems like the short tracks that are single lane is the biggest problem, so I think that this is gonna be a way to learn because we pretty much know before we get there that there’s not gonna be two or three lanes at North Wilkesboro. It’s gonna be a short track. Whatever the groove ends up being, whether it’s right around the bottom, middle, whatever, it’s kind of gonna be the preferred groove, so I think going there and knowing that, whether it’s softening the tires or giving us different compounds or whatever they decide to do to help make that look better is gonna be an opportunity to learn. I fear that even if they go soft on the tires that you’re gonna find more of an issue with heat versus wear. That’s where I think you would be concerned about would be the tires blistering or something like that and not really wearing. It has to be better than what we’ve had at Martinsville and some of those places where we really struggled with the passing. They just have to get aggressive with it and see what happens.”

THE FACT YOU’VE GOT THE CARS TOUR RUNNING THAT WEEK AT NORTH WILKESBORO WILL THAT HELP WIDEN THE GROOVE FASTER ONCE YOU GUYS GET THERE? “I think that will definitely help. I think the more racing they have on it the better that will be and the more the track will be run in and hopefully take rubber and grip up a little bit. The biggest thing we see a lot, even thinking back to the short track stuff, is when they repave these places they’re just slick. They’re really slick outside the groove and the pavement is so grippy that all of the dust and dirt and everything just sticks to the asphalt in a way, so it just makes it hard to get outside the groove, to lay down rubber, to clean the track up to get it fast enough that we can race side-by-side, but to answer your question, the more cars that are out there running, I think the better it will be and the more it will help. Hopefully, we can get it going pretty good by the All-Star Race itself, but at the same time it wouldn’t surprise me if it takes a year or two for it to really come into its own.”

Ford Performance PR