Josh Berry Fails to Enthrall in Kevin Harvick Inc. Debut as 17-Yo Short Track Sensation Steals Hickory Spotlight

Published 11/11/2023, 9:57 PM EST

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2023 certainly has been a major turning point in super-sub Josh Berry‘s NASCAR career. The Xfinity Series sensation not only managed to catch the attention of the racing community with an impressive finish at Richmond in the spring, crossing the finish line second to Kyle Larson but also got himself a full-time seat at Stewart-Haas Racing for the upcoming season.

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Though the proud Ford camp has been on shaky legs with all of its 4 drivers including the veteran, Kevin Harvick failing to rack up a win, Berry’s entry into the team as the outgoing veteran’s replacement has caused a sigh of relief for ardent SHR fans.

The 33-year-old, even after his NASCAR season, didn’t take any time off, making his Kevin Harvick Inc. debut, teaming up with Rodney Childers at the “World’s Most Famous Short Track” for the Fall Brawl. Despite the high expectations riding on the Berry-Childers duo, their #62 Ford failed to deliver, losing out to teenage champion, Kade Brown.

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Josh Berry loses out at Hickory Motor Speedway as #62 Kevin Harvick Inc. Ford loses its way in the 200-lap battle

JR Motorsports Xfinity Series sensation and HMS part-timer, Josh Berry is slated to team up with crew chief Rodney Childers in 2024, looking to bring the team out of the rut. And for that, he has to be in sync and have an understanding with the veteran. That’s exactly what he had in mind when he went in as KHI’s #62 driver for the late model extravaganza on Saturday, taking a shot at the 200-lap short track action that unraveled at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Unfortunately, despite being the fastest driver in the qualifying session, Berry just couldn’t translate that speed into a win as 17-year-old sensation, Kade Brown took over the throne. Brown took the early lead from the Xfinity Series driver and kept it until the end of the race, outclassing the SHR driver to add another ‘W’ to his resume.

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The NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Hickory Motor Speedway winner also trumped Connor Zilisch, outgunning the Chevy to the win.

Kade Brown expresses delight in getting the better of Berry

Saturday’s late-model bonanza had multiple storylines to it. While Berry made his KHI debut at Hickory, the race also featured the return of defending champion, Coleman Pressley. With the NASCAR national series concluding, all eyes were on the 200-lap short-track race that took place on Saturday.

After 80 laps into the race, Kade Brown was leading Connor Zilisch as Josh Berry in his #62 Ford was battling to get to the front in P7. Even at the halfway break, Brown was at the front, maintaining the top position while Berry was in the 5th spot. The youngster sealed the deal in the end and was pleased with his performance, considering the stiff competition on hand.

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“Last year we came to this race and I think we qualified like third to last and then we ended up sixth, just staying alive,” Brown said according to a NASCAR.com report. “To qualify on the front row and especially beat some of these guys like Berry, it means so much. I feel like we had a really good car all day and we were able to finish it off,” he continued.

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Brown will now look to make it back-to-back Late Model Stock Car wins when he goes to the South Carolina 400 at Florence Motor Speedway. But can Josh Berry have a stronger say there? All eyes will be on the November 18 race.

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Written by:

Kishore R

998Articles

One take at a time

Picture this: a fast & well set-up car roaring its V8 glory, zipping through the country roads. I’m the sort of person who’ll be instantly drawn to something like that. While major racing promotions have stepped closer to the EV revolution, NASCAR still has their V8s singing its tune, which got me into the world of Stock Car Racing.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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