In a surprise announcement today on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, JR Motorsports team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke the news that Josh Berry has been tabbed to drive the team’s No. 8 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in approximately 12 races in the first half of the 2021 season.
The news comes on the heels of Berry’s NASCAR Weekly Series championship and a phenomenal late model season that included a stunning 26 victories, 36 top-five and 38 top-10 finishes.
“I’m excited to tell you…that we’re committing to put you in the No. 8 Chevrolet for a dozen races in the first half of 2021,” Earnhardt Jr. told Berry. “You worked hard for this opportunity. We’ll have more details in the coming months, but I wanted to let you know we’re going to go Xfinity racing next year.”
A native of Hendersonville, Tenn., Berry is not a stranger to NXS competition. He’s made a total of seven starts, including five for JRM, and earned a pair of top-10 finishes at Richmond and Iowa.
“I'm honestly speechless," a surprised Berry said. "That's the last thing I would have expected. Gosh, that's amazing. I can't wait to prepare for that and get going. [It's] truly unbelievable. I just can't thank everybody enough for believing in me and giving me these opportunities. For a short track guy, it’s just amazing to see these opportunities come about.”
The 29-year-old is a 10-year veteran of JRM’s late model program. Berry also lays claim to the 2019 ValleyStar Credit Union race at Martinsville Speedway and a CARS LMSC driver title in 2017, the CARS owner title in 2016 and the track championships at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Motor Mile (Radford, Va.) Speedway.
The latter half of the No. 8’s 2021 season will see 17-year-old, Wisconsin native Sam Mayer taking the reins.