NASCAR teams and drivers are set to honor the sport’s origins at Darlington Raceway

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Kyle Busch and Austin Cindric in a NASCAR event

Josh Berry’s journey to the NASCAR Cup Series was full of challenges and uncertainties about whether he would ever reach the sport’s top level.

Berry, who now drives the Stewart-Haas No. 4 car previously piloted by NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick, spent about ten years racing at smaller local tracks like Florence and Dillon speedways. There, he absorbed knowledge from anyone willing to share insights on how to succeed in stock car racing at the highest level.

“There were many days when I doubted if I would ever get to NASCAR’s top series,” said the 33-year-old Berry. “But I was fortunate to get an opportunity and I made the most of it. And now, here I am, racing in the Cup series.”

Berry and NASCAR’s elite are currently at Darlington Raceway for the sport’s 10th throwback weekend, paying homage to its rich history.

The Goodyear 400, which marks the midway point of NASCAR’s 26-race regular season, is scheduled for Sunday. Darlington, the oldest superspeedway on the circuit with its first race held in 1950, has turned its spring weekend into a tribute to its heritage.

This year’s theme celebrates NASCAR’s grassroots, honoring the smaller tracks and venues where drivers, crew members, and pit teams learned the ropes of racing.

Kyle Busch signs autographs for fans

“That’s what motivates our sport,” remarked Kyle Busch on Friday. “There’s clearly a dream that these younger guys and gals have to reach the top. They aspire to get there one day, and they start from the grassroots level.”

Berry’s car will showcase a paint design inspired by crew chief Rodney Childers’ achievements as a late model driver in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Berry and Childers revealed the car last month during a visit to South Carolina’s Governor’s Mansion. Childers felt emotional when he saw his own throwback design, reflecting on the significance of the 1998 season in his driving career.

Veteran racer Ron Barfield, now the owner of Dillon Motor Speedway in South Carolina, situated about 40 miles from Darlington, believes that on-track experience is crucial for success at any level.

He acknowledges the value of young racers utilizing simulators and other modern tools, but he emphasizes that there’s no substitute for real racing experience, especially at small tracks. “Nothing can replace the experience of racing,” he said.

Busch, a two-time NASCAR champion, shares this sentiment. His son, Brexton, who will soon turn 9, is learning the ropes of racing by competing in junior sprint cars, outlaw karts, and Bandoleros.

The older Busch has enjoyed watching his son compete at the earliest levels of the sport, where it’s more about fun and learning. “It’s been enjoyable to witness,” he remarked.

Josh Berry addressing media in a NASCAR interview

Chase Briscoe, Berry’s teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, will pay tribute to his father Kevin with a No. 14 car design. Kevin Briscoe had a successful 20-year career, accumulating over 200 feature wins. He clinched the 1993 track title at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana, and secured five championships at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway.

“As a kid, I didn’t fully grasp how talented he was,” Briscoe said. “I just assumed that whenever we went racing, my dad would win.”

Cole Custer, the Xfinity Series champion from last year, reminisced about his early days behind the wheel at the age of 5, where the joy of racing mattered more than the result. It wasn’t until he reached his teenage years that his focus shifted, leading him to pursue a championship.

“As a child, becoming a NASCAR champion never crossed my mind,” said Custer, now 26. “Winning that title is a significant achievement, and I hope we can maintain that momentum.”

Berry, who has stepped into Harvick’s No. 4 spot, is gradually adapting to life as a full-time Cup Series driver. His 11th-place finish at Richmond on March 31 marked his best performance for Stewart-Haas Racing thus far.

“I knew it would be challenging,” he acknowledged. “This is the pinnacle of NASCAR racing. But we’ve made a lot of progress. Our cars have been fast, we’ve been qualifying better, racing better — now we just need to bring everything together.”


By James Brown

A passionate and driven individual currently pursuing a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). Born on 06 February, hails from Raipur, where their journey into the world of technology and creativity began.

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