Race 33 of 33: Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 200 laps
Weather: Clear, 68 degrees
Race Winner: Matt Kenseth
Berry's Finish: 25th
The final results will show that Josh Berry and the No. 5 Ragu team finished 25th in Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That is a bit misleading as the rookie driver raced inside the top 15 in only his second start before a late spin relegated him to the lower finish.
From the drop of the green flag, the 23-year-old worked to find the groove that suited his car and driving style best. With team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. chiming in on the team’s radio during caution periods to offer advice, Berry continued to improve throughout the night, even working his way inside the top 10 late in the race. Berry, who had never turned a lap on a track larger than one mile found himself battling with the likes of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott.
Late in the race, after lining up 11th on a lap-199 restart, Berry lost control of his Ragu Chevrolet in the middle of turns three and four while racing side by side with Ryan Reed’s No. 16 car. He was able to prevent the car from making contact with the outside wall, but dropped to the tail end of the lead lap. Berry rallied on a green-white-checkered finish to gain three positions and end the night 25th.
Matt Kenseth won the race followed by Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney and Chris Buescher.
Josh Berry, No. 5 Ragu team
“I’m disappointed with the finish. These guys gave me a great car and I just lost it there late. All-in-all, I learned so much tonight and can’t think the team, Dale Jr. and Tim Fedewa (spotter) enough for everything they did for me this weekend. I felt like we ran pretty well and we improved as the race went. That’s all you can ask for is to just keep getting better and put forth your best effort.”