Last week, Jordan Anderson Racing announced it had signed on Josh Berry to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. That gamble paid off on Saturday (June 5).
Typically, putting Berry in the No. 31 Chevrolet wouldn’t be a captivating decision — but road course racing is foreign to the Martinsville winner.
So, yes, it was a tad surprising for everyone involved that Berry finished eighth in his road course debut at Mid-Ohio.
“I‘m tickled to death to finish inside the top 10 — I really am,” Berry told Jayski.com after the race. “I have never ran a road course in anything other than iRacing or a go kart. I‘m tickled to death and happy for this group. They‘re working hard, trying to build something and this should get them enough points where they can keep on keeping on. It‘ a good day for all of us.”
Putting Berry in the car is what Jordan Anderson, team owner of Jordan Anderson Racing did, ensuring the No. 31 team to have a spot into the race. For the first 10 races of the season, Anderson’s new Xfinity team had to sit on the sidelines with no points after qualifying was rained out for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Two weeks ago, Tyler Reddick qualified into the show at Circuit of the Americas and drove the No. 31 car to an eighth-place finish. He backed up that performance by rounding out the top five last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Now, the No. 31 team ranks 40th in the owner standings and has enough points to be guaranteed to race next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Mission accomplished for all involved.
Berry said, “We accomplished our goal of getting them enough points to where they can race next week.”
As for the 170-mile race, Berry admitted he learned a lot throughout the event. That included going off-roading, spinning once during the second stage.
But with a handful of laps to go in the second stage, crew chief Artie Haire brought the No. 31 car down pit road to get track position for the final stage, and not racing for stage points.
From there, it was up to Berry to keep the fenders on the car and make the most out of it.
“These guys adjusted, had a good strategy and got us some track position,” Berry stated. We got a couple of good restarts. I learned a lot.”
When it comes to road course racing, Berry wasn’t sure where his aggression level should be at. Stopping a 3,400 lbs. stock car and turning it left and right is something he’d never experienced previously.
“It‘s just difficult,” he said of road course racing. “I didn‘t know the limit of the brakes and the car. I didn‘t want to make a mistake early on and lose a lot of time. I wanted to make it to the end, that was the number one goal.”
Next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and the following week at Nashville Superspeedway are Berry’s last two races with JR Motorsports this season. Because Chevrolet was partially involved in setting him up with the No. 31 team, it’s possible Berry returns to Jordan Anderson Racing in the not too distant future.
“I think that was our plan to maybe put some stuff together,” Berry said. “Obviously there‘s a lot to figure out, but today was a great step in that. I wanted to come here and do a good job for this group, which we did. We‘re going to home and talk about it and figure out what we can do coming up.”
In 11 Xfinity starts this season, Berry now has six top-10 finishes and an average finish of 17.6.