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Berry, No. 9 Team Score Top-10 Result at Phoenix Raceway


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  • In his second week filling in for the injured Chase Elliott, Josh Berry qualified 17th for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway. 
  • The NASCAR Xfinity Series regular finished stage one in the 18th position and improved to 15th for stage two. After a late-race caution sent the race into overtime, the 32-year-old driver restarted in 13th and powered his way to 10th to end the day.
  • It was Berry’s first career top-10 finish in the NASCAR Cup Series in just his fourth start.

Josh Berry, who was tabbed to fill in for the injured Chase Elliott on ovals as the Hendrick Motorsports driver continues to recover from a fractured tibia, qualified 17th for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway. The NASCAR Xfinity Series regular made his second start for the No. 9 team on Sunday in the 312-lap event. He used the opening laps to settle in and find his groove as he continued adapting to the Next Gen car. Running in the 25th position on lap 19, he started to build his confidence and climbed to 22nd by lap 32. Berry’s forward progression didn’t stop there. He maneuvered his way to 20th on lap 46 and picked up two more positions to end the first stage in the 18th position on lap 60. During the stage-ending caution, Berry relayed that the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 needed more security on entry and exit of the corner. Crew chief Alan Gustafson made the call for four fresh tires and fuel during the pit stop.

#9: Josh Berry, Hendrick Motorsports, Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro

Scored in the 17th position after leaving pit road, Berry chose the bottom lane for the start of stage two on lap 68. He navigated the chaotic start to the stage and fought hard to stay inside the top 20. Berry swapped back and forth among the 19th and 21st positions throughout the opening 24 laps before dropping to 22nd on lap 93. The Hendersonville, Tennessee, native then reported that the Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet was freer this run. Not long after, green-flag pit stops ensued. Gustafson called Berry to pit road on lap 119 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to tighten up the No. 9. Once pit stops cycled through, Berry was scored in 19th. He was in that same position when the caution flag waved on lap 137 and the team took the opportunity to make a pit stop for four tires and fuel. A fast stop by the team propelled Berry to 15th for the lap-145 restart. The 32-year-old driver held his own in the closing laps of the second stage to take the green-and-white checkered flag in 15th.

#9: Josh Berry, Hendrick Motorsports, Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro

After reporting that he needed a little more right-rear grip, Berry brought the No. 9 to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He lined up 14th for the start of the final stage on lap 194 and continued to race inside the top 20. As scheduled green-flag pit stops were drawing near, Gustafson asked for an update on the Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet’s handling. Berry reported that the No. 9 was tight in the center of the turns, so the team opted to reverse the previous chassis adjustment during its pit stop for four tires and fuel on lap 240. Once the field cycled through stops, he was in the 17th position and improved to 16th with just 29 circuits left in the race. When the caution flag waved with 10 laps to go, the team called Berry in for four tires and fuel. Leaving pit road in the 15th position, he took the green flag with just three laps to go and powered his way to 13th before another caution came out, sending the race into overtime. Once the race was back underway, Berry charged to 10th place before the checkered flag waved to score his first ever top-10 in the Cup Series in just his fourth career start.

#9: Josh Berry, Hendrick Motorsports, Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro

All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished inside the top 10, with William Byron scoring the victory.

#9: Josh Berry, Hendrick Motorsports, Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro

“It was a really solid day for the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevy team,” Berry said. “We were able to improve a lot from what we had last week. We were able to stay on the lead lap basically the whole race. We had a couple of runs in there that were really good. A couple runs where we fell back a little bit, but it’s just all part of a learning experience for me. These races are so long and I need to be able to learn this car a little bit better where I can give Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) a little bit better direction on how to help me. Towards the end, we found that we were a little bit on the free side on our better runs. At the end there, we were probably going to finish 15th or 16th, which I was still pretty happy with. Obviously had the cautions there and we executed a couple of really good restarts there and was able to get a top-10.”

Start / Finish: 17 / 10

Next Race: Sunday, March 19, Atlanta Motor Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: FOX, PRN and SiriusXM

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