Josh Berry’s IceBreaker run before Xfinity Series schedule a newfound source of short-track racing fulfillment – Yahoo Sports

February 3, 2022 by No Comments

Josh Berry’s attitude toward competing in the IceBreaker at Florence Motor Speedway is different in 2022 than it was just a couple years ago.

This is what happens when a short-track racing virtuoso experiences a rapid ascent that leads to a full-time ride in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

“Obviously things have changed for me,” Berry told with a laugh, well aware of his understatement.

RELATED: Watch the IceBreaker live on FloRacing

Josh Berry, driver of the #88 All Things Automotive Chevrolet, during Championship Weekend for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, North Carolina on October18, 2020. (Jacob Kupferman/NASCAR)

Berry in the past saw the annual event at the 0.4-mile paved oval in Timmonsville, South Carolina, as a premature beginning to his race season. He and his team preferred to extend their offseason and allow themselves at least one more weekend to prepare their equipment for the year.

But now the 31-year-old’s primary focus is his first full-time season driving for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, an opportunity he received in part because of his success running part-time in 2021. Suddenly, the IceBreaker is a unique chance to race a late-model stock — a ride comparable in horsepower and downforce to an Xfinity Series car — just a couple weeks prior to the NASCAR season opener.

“I feel like my time in late-model stocks really prepared me for the Xfinity Series,” said Berry, who won two races last season in his fifth year of part-time Xfinity Series competition. “I felt a lot of similarities between the cars.”

Practice for NASCAR racing, though, is only a piece of Berry’s motivation behind running in the IceBreaker, which features late-model stocks in addition to super trucks, limited late models and mini stocks as the kickoff to Florence’s race season. The answer now to question of why Berry would compete in the IceBreaker is simple: Why not?

“It’s about having fun,” said the Hendersonville, Tennessee, native when asked whether the sudden scarcity of short-track racing on his schedule makes success at an event like the IceBreaker more important. “Obviously we want to win; we put in all the work to try to accomplish that. But I don’t feel like I have to win or anything like that. Just enjoy being with each other and see what we can do.”

The group is the JR Motorsports crew of which Berry has been a part since 2010. In addition to success in the Xfinity Series, Berry and the team took the 2020 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national championship. That, on top of multiple track titles over the years.

“It boils down to them loving short-track racing and wanting to be part of that series, because that’s where they started,” Berry said at the time of team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and others who supported the program. “Dale used it as a stepping stone through the ranks. They just like it.”

Advance Auto Parts delivers the weekly series championship trophy to Josh Berry, driver of the #88 All Things Automotive Chevrolet, (driver) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (car owner) at the JR Motorsports facility in Mooresville, NC. November 17, 2020. (Reagen Lunn/NASCAR)

That phrase — they just like it — is the bottom line when …….



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