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Josh Berry to replace Harvick at Stewart-Haas NASCAR Cup team in 2024

Josh Berry’s long, winding and sometimes frustrating path to a fulltime NASCAR Cup ride now officially has a destination – Stewart-Haas Racing.

SHR officials on Wednesday introduced Berry at Charlotte Motor Speedway as the new driver of its No. 4 Ford beginning in 2024, replacing future NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Kevin Harvick, who is retiring at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

Berry will not only move into a successful organization and team but also will retain Harvick’s talented crew chief, Rodney Childers, as the team’s leader.

Harvick and Childers have combined for 37 series wins since their pairing in 2014, including a Cup Series championship in their first season and a career-best nine victories for Harvick in the 2020 season.

“I can’t imagine a better opportunity for me – to get in a car that’s been as successful and iconic as the No. 4,” Berry said. “Kevin is a future NASCAR Hall of Famer, and it’s going to be a challenge trying to come after someone so successful.

“But I know I’m going to have an amazing group of people around me, led by Rodney Childers, to where we can hit the ground running.”

SHR did not address sponsorship for the No. 4 car in 2024 but a team spokesman said “constructive conversations” were ongoing with current SHR partners associated with the No. 4 and well as with prospective new partners.

Berry currently competes in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports and has five wins since beginning with a part-time schedule in 2021. He advanced to the Championship 4 in his first fulltime season in 2022.

The 32-year-old native of Hendersonville, Tenn., has already made 10 Cup series starts – highlighted twice this season with his being called on to substitute for injured Hendrick Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott and most recently Alex Bowman.

He earned a career-best runner-up finish in April at Richmond, Va., while filling in for Elliott in the No. 9 Chevrolet.

“Josh Berry has proven himself in the Xfinity Series and this year showed how quickly he can adapt to the cars and the level of competition in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Greg Zipadelli, SHR’s chief competition officer.

“He’ll be a rookie in our race car next year, but he drives like a veteran. He puts in the work to ensure that he’s always ready for the opportunities that come his way, and we’re very happy that his next opportunity is with Stewart-Haas Racing.”

A long road to the top

Berry’s journey to NASCAR’s premier series has not been an easy one.

While winning six Legend Cars championships as a teenager, Berry also competed in iRacing, and it was during online racing sessions where Berry caught the attention of his future owner and Hall of Famer, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Berry joined JRM’s Late Model program in 2010 and soon delivered wins and championships, including the 2017 CARS Late Model Stock Tour title and the 2020 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship.

That success convinced Earnhardt to give Berry a chance in the Xfinity Series and he took full advantage of that as well – winning in his 13th series start in April 2021 at Martinsville, Va., the same track on which he secured one of his premier Late Model victories.

“I wouldn’t change anything about how I got here. It made me who I am,” Berry said. “Throughout my teenage years, it was a fight just to keep racing, to get to the next race.

“The timing of Dale and I getting together, that was crucial. If that doesn’t happen, I don’t know that I would’ve ever raced a stock car, or how much more I would’ve raced at all, just because racing overextended us financially.

“When you race that way, it’s hard to set any kind of a long-term goal. But your goals just change as you grow.”

It’s Berry’s success and experience in Late Models which Harvick believes has provided him with a solid foundation from which to launch a lasting Cup career.

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Busch Light Ford Mustang

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Busch Light Ford Mustang

Photo by: Rusty Jones / NKP / Motorsport Images

“Winning the CARS Late Model Stock Tour championship and the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship requires a lot of skill and an equal amount of determination. Josh did both and won a lot of races along the way,” said Harvick, who is now part-owner of the CARS Tour.

“That experience allowed him to be fast and successful right off the bat when he got to the Xfinity Series, and when he had his opportunities to race in the Cup Series earlier this year, he again showed speed and an ability to race at the front.

“I’m very happy for Josh and proud to see him get this opportunity. He’s going to be a really good fit with Rodney and the No. 4 team.”

Josh Berry, JR Motorsports, Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Chevrolet Camaro

Josh Berry, JR Motorsports, Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

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