“Not the Way I Wanna Send Josh [Berry] Off”: Dale Earnhardt Jr Turns Apologetic as Miscommunication Jeopardizes Star Pupil

Published 10/22/2023, 8:03 AM EDT

Follow Us

via Imago

Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Xfinity prodigy is about to graduate to the Cup Series next year. Unable to qualify for the round of 8 playoffs, Josh Berry hoped to cap off his Xfinity career through a memorable win. But a runner-up position is the highest finish Berry managed this season.

America’s Favorite Video Today

The playoff race in Homestead turned out to be another disappointing run for JR Motorsports’ #8 driver. Shockingly, team owner Dale Jr personally ran his outgoing driver into the wall.

JR Motorsports’ #8 driver wants Dale Earnhardt Jr’s #88 car that ended his race prematurely

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Josh Berry stayed in the Top 10 in the initial laps of Stage 1. Toward the end of the race, Berry crawled his way back into the Top 10 and aimed for a Top 5 finish. Unfortunately for the #8 Chevrolet driver, team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr had the exact same plans. With 30 laps to go, Dale Jr’s #88 Chevrolet got loose and the veteran racer faced trouble staying in control. Due to a slight miscommunication with his spotter, Dale Jr was not aware of his #8 driver coming up on his right. 

Dale Jr then collided with Josh Berry and the impact sent Berry into the wall, resulting in a DNF. On the other hand, Junior regained control and went off to finish in the 5th place in his 7th one-off race after his retirement. Thankfully, Berry retained his sense of humor after the crash. When the picture of his owner’s #88 race car was shared on social media, the wheel mark of the #8 car was clearly visible. Berry humorously requested Dale Jr to let him have the imprinted car for memorabilia. His team owner, however, was extremely remorseful.

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest NASCAR stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

Watch this story: Carson Hocevar Joins Spire Motorsports, Shares Special Bond with Dale Earnhardt Jr

In the post-race interview, Dale Jr expressed his chagrin for derailing Josh Berry’s Homestead finish. He said, “The Josh Berry deal man. I didn’t know he was out there. My spotter was saying all the right things, but what I was hearing was something different. So I put that on me. I got a little loose, but I corrected it up the track like there was nobody there like I didn’t know. I thought the eight was coming through the middle.”

“So when I got loose I was like just giving myself you know I had a lot of room to chase to the fence the car out there and I hit that eight. So sorry about that, but not the way I wanna send Josh off. I want to send him off with a win, but luckily it didn’t hurt our car, and we were able to finish really good. So I’m happy about it.”

Dale Jr reiterated his sentiments when he came across his vandalized car.

Dale Earnhardt Jr apologizes for creating a wheel donut on his Xfinity car in Homestead

Dale Earnhardt Jr noticed Josh Berry’s potential just when the 33-year-old racer was giving up hopes of a NASCAR future. In his first full season in the Xfinity Series last year, the #8 driver won three races and qualified for the championship 4 position. This year, however, Berry was more focused on his Cup Series races and could not recreate last season’s flair.

His loyal mentor, Dale Jr, defended his driver’s talent and held JR Motorsports responsible for their inability to support him justifiably. In these circumstances, Junior’s sorrow over further degrading his driver’s season was palpable. Even in response to Josh Berry’s jocular tweet earlier, the regretful owner responded, 

“I had a million tire donuts but that’s a legit damn wheel donut. My apologies for my lack of awareness off turn 2 today.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Hopefully, Sam Mayer’s win would compensate for Josh Berry’s loss, and Dale Earnhardt Jr and his drivers will be back next weekend to conquer the penultimate playoff race at the Martinsville Speedway. 

Unprecedented Feat Headlines Sam Mayer’s Career as He Steals Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Championship Torch From Teammate

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Parika Singh

246Articles

One take at a time

Parika Singh is a NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports. Her combined love for writing and motorsports drew her to the world of sports journalism, where she fell in love with the thrill, unpredictability, and charisma of covering racers and race tracks. Her stories have the right blend of research and storytelling that really make her stand out as a Motorsports Journalist.
Show More>

Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today