JR Motorsports Late Model driver Josh Berry posted six victories in 2019, but none was bigger than his triumph in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race, the biggest for Late Models in the Southeast, was one that had eluded the 29-year-old Tennessee driver and JRM for several years, but in 2019, all that changed.
Berry set a track record in qualifying to start from the pole and led every one of the 200 laps on the way to a $44,000 payday in the All Things Automotive Chevrolet from the JRM stable. Of course, he added a treasured grandfather clock to his trophy room as well for the dominating performance.
Berry, among the career leaders in most all of the CARS Late Model Stock Car Series categories, added four CARS Tour victories to his total in 2019, including a sweep of the season finale at South Boston (Va.) Speedway in November. Berry won the pole and led all 125 laps to secure various postseason point awards, but still fell a single point short of his second CARS LMSC driver’s crown. Berry also won events at Ace Speedway and Carteret County Speedway in North Carolina and Dominion Raceway in Virginia in the CARS Tour.
In CARS LMSC action, Berry’s career-best win total stands at 18, more than twice as many as the next driver on the list. He also added a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway to his total, bringing his career victories for JRM to 52. He ended the season as the all-time leading money winner in CARS LMSC history ($149,352), leads in career poles (13), top-five finishes (34), laps led (1,583) and average start (3.5).
Berry claimed the first traveling series championship of his career in 2017, winning the CARS Late Model Stock Car Series crown in his No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. After claiming track titles at Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia in 2012 and at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in 2014, Berry logged six victories in his 22 starts, four of them in the CARS series. Berry swept the series races at Concord (March and August), and added victories at Anderson (S.C.) Motor Speedway and Tri-County (N.C.) Speedway. Berry won his second Bobby Isaac Memorial trophy at Hickory and capped the 2017 season with a victory in the Myrtle Beach 400, giving him another crown jewel in the sport.
Following up a 10-victory season in 2015, the Tennessee native rolled to Victory Lane 14 times in 2016, including five victories in CARS Late Model Stock Car series. The victories added to his total as the all-time leader in CARS LMSC victories, and his triumph in the final race of the season, at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C., earned Berry and his No. 88 team the car owner title for the series. He finished third in the driver championship after missing a race to drive one of JRM’s NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at Iowa Speedway in July. In five career starts for JRM in the NXS, Berry has a pair of top-10 finishes (seventh at Richmond Raceway in 2015 and ninth at Iowa Speedway in 2016) and has an average finish of 13.2 over his JRM career.
In 2016’s 24 starts, Berry earned the 14 victories and added seven more top-five finishes. Berry won five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events as well, including the annual Fall Brawl at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Over the past two seasons, Berry has won 24 races in 48 starts, with 30 top-five and 42 top-10 finishes.
Berry remains the only JRM driver to win multiple championships for the organization, having won the CARS LMSC driver title in 2017, the CARS owner title in 2016 and the track championships at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Motor Mile (Radford, Va.) Speedway.
Berry began his racing career at age eight, competing in the Tennessee Karting Association before progressing to the highly-acclaimed World Karting Association in 2001. Following several seasons racing go-karts, Berry and his father made the decision to progress his career to U.S. Legend cars in 2006. Over the course of three years, Berry collected 21 feature victories and track championships at the famed Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn.
Berry was tabbed by team-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2010 and joined the JRM Late Model program that spring. In only a year, he was named Late Model Most Popular Driver by Speed51.com. Berry leveraged the popularity into on-track success in 2012, taking home track-champion honors in the NWAAS at Motor Mile Speedway. His dominating season included one win, 15 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 18 races.
From its inception in 2002, JR Motorsports has competed locally each year with drivers like TJ Majors (former spotter for Earnhardt Jr.), Richard Boswell (former engineer for JRM’s No. 88 entry in the Xfinity Series) and Jeremy McGrath (seven-time Supercross champion). Recent drivers include 2017 NXS champion William Byron, Christian Eckes, Anthony Alfredo, Sam Mayer and Adam Lemke. North Carolina native Connor Mosack joins the team for 2020.