Tony Stewart’s Cup Prospect Seizes Vegas Grid Despite Falling Off the Playoff Bandwagon

Published 10/14/2023, 9:14 AM EDT

Follow Us

via Getty

Tony Stewart had champion-sized shoes to fill. With the impending retirement of veteran Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick, it seemed impossible to find a suitable replacement for next season. Enter Josh Berry. The diamond in the rough discovered by Dale Earnhardt Jr and JR Motorsports stunned the racing community with his Cup Series performances this year. 

America’s Favorite Video Today

The future Stewart driver might have faltered in his Xfinity title hopes, but the qualifying results for Las Vegas Motor Speedway proved Josh Berry would not go out without a fight.

Dale Earnhardt Jr’s prodigy won the Vegas jackpot for JR Motorsports

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Josh Berry could not win races this year. What he won instead was pole positions. The #8 Chevrolet driver for Dale Eanrhardt Jr’s team aced the starting grid for the Xfinity race in Pocono this season through a 167.9 mph qualifying lap. He topped that performance two weeks later in Michigan. With an astonishing speed of 189.5 mph, Berry won the second pole of this season and the third of his career.

Nine top 5 and sixteen Top 10 finishes enabled Josh Berry to qualify 11th in the playoff standing this year. Unfortunately, a DNF in the very first playoff race in Bristol derailed his chances for the next Round of 8, and despite a Top 5 position in Charlotte, the #8 driver was eliminated from the championship race. But Berry did not let that deter him from showcasing his skills in the remaining races.

Trending

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

Follow Us

The defending Las Vegas conqueror utilized his qualifying prowess to win the third pole position of this season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Registering a remarkable speed of 181.9 mph in 29.6 seconds, Josh Berry placed himself at the starting grid of the next playoff race this weekend.

Watch this story: Stewart-Haas Racing: A Season of Uncertainty

This impressive pace and racing skills would come in handy for Tony Stewart’s 2024 Cup season.

“We’re disappointed to be out…”: Josh Berry pours his heart out after his supreme qualifying run

Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman’s tragic accidents turned out to be an opportunity for Josh Berry and the Stewart-Haas Racing team. On the lookout for a rare talent to bear Kevin Harvick’s mantle, Tony Stewart noticed Hendrick Motorsports’ temporary substitute. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Berry made it exceedingly difficult to overlook him with three Top 10 finishes in his first six Cup races. Richmond was particularly admirable with a runner-up performance amid veteran Cup racers. The experienced eyes of Hall of Famer Stewart promptly gauged his boundless potential and signed him on for a Cup ride next season.

The Las Vegas pole and potential win would certainly make his forthcoming team owner proud. Speaking in an interview after qualifying, Josh Berry said, “We’re disappointed to be out of the playoffs, but we’ve had a lot of speed lately and we’re knocking on the door to win, so there’d be no place better than tomorrow.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Seems like there is no better place than Vegas to alter the fortunes of a winless season. Tony Stewart would definitely agree.

Tony Stewart’s Mentee Becomes the Mentor as He Prepares to Take Kevin Harvick’s Mantle

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:

Ranvijay Singh

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today