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via Imago

via Imago

It’s not easy to race at Stewart-Haas Racing these days and new driver Josh Berry has not had it easy at all in the first season in the NASCAR Cup Series. Tony Stewart, in all probability, signed the former Xfinity Series star based on his experience in stock car racing. However, Berry has not been an interesting part of any of the Cup Series races so far. The 33-year-old has replaced Kevin Harvick in the #4 car, which adds its own pressure onto a driver. Pair that up with a team that has been underperforming for years and it is a trial by fire for the former JR Motorsports man.

At the Pennzoil 400, Berry, much like his other 3 Cup Series starts, was pretty bland. He finished the race in P20, which is his best finishing position so far in the competition. He finished P25 at Daytona and suffered a DNF in Atlanta. Now, that should provide everyone with a glimpse of how dire things are at Tony Stewart’s race team.

Stewart-Haas Racing star thinks Ford needs to be improved

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After the race came to an end, Josh Berry did not cut the figure of a man who was proud of his performances with the team so far. Sure, this was his strongest performance of the season, being a top-20 finish. One may yet question if such an outcome reflects his caliber. The former JRM man was a beast in the Xfinity Series, winning multiple races during his time there. He almost won the championship in 2022 as well, with 3 wins that year.

So maybe the issue is with the car. At least that’s what can be inferred from the 33-year-old’s post-race interaction with the media. He said all the right things and nothing to implicate that SHR wasn’t doing its job properly. The driver of the #4 Ford Dark Horse Mustang expressed optimism for the car as the season rolls on.

“I think we saw a lot of potential with the new body style. Definitely each run it seemed like a company, one of our cars was stronger than the other. But we learned a lot and our car definitely had some speed. We’ve just got to work on fine-tuning it and I need to work on starting just a little bit closer to the front, and all of those things start to compound and we have a little bit better of a day. But overall I thought we were solid,” Berry said as per Speedway Digest.

But which cars was he talking about when he said that one of their cars was stronger than the others? That would probably be Noah Gragson, the man who was suspended by NASCAR last year, but gave a stellar show in the Sin City this Sunday.

Noah Gragson was the shining star for Tony Stewart in the Sin City

Noah Gragson’s P6 finish at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a relief for Tony Stewart as his team earned its highest finish on a 1.5-mile track race since the spring Vegas race of 2022. What made it even more impressive was that the 25-year-old driver started from P30 on the grid to finish as high as he did. After the tumultuous events of last season, this is something Gragson needed and he was filled with joy after he got the job done.

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“I knew I needed to be better. There’s a lot of pressure on a driver. There’s a lot of challenges that come that way—not even away from the racetrack. You get caught up in work, and I had never found balance in my life. I had never probably never truly found who I was,” Gragson said“I really fit in over here. I feel a lot more comfortable. I feel a lot more happy and confident in myself. That starts with a good team and a good foundation.”

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The result came at the perfect time for the driver of the #10 car who recently had 35 points deducted by NASCAR due to an infraction involving his car’s roof rail deflections. He will be looking forward to carrying this momentum into the Phoenix weekend, hopefully finishing in the top five and proving that Las Vegas was not a fluke.

Read More – Kevin Harvick’s Former Crew Chief Trusts the Process as Josh Berry Endures a Tough Start to Life in Cup Series