One would think that Late Model Stock Car driver Josh Berry must be under enormous amounts of pressure. The 24-year-old from Hendersonville, Tennessee races Late Model Stock Cars for JR Motorsports. The most popular man in racing in North America, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is his boss. Must be tough, right?
"Not really," Berry told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. "It's never really been like that. The Late Model team has always been about having fun and bringing people up and molding them for better things. There's never been a hardcore ‘you've got to win’ mentality. This year we were able to win a lot and do a lot of great things. But there's never really a lot of pressure on us. It's just a fun thing to be a part of."
Berry certainly did do some great things with the team in 2014. He scored nine wins and a track championship at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) in 2014, his fourth season driving a Late Model Stock Car for JR Motorsports. He also made two starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series where he finished just outside the top 10 in his series debut at Iowa Speedway.
Although Earnhardt did join him in victory lane at one point this season at Hickory Motor Speedway, Berry said that it's rare that he and Earnhardt get to speak. He said that Twitter helps a lot for Earnhardt as he tries to keep up with the team from a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track somewhere around the country.
"He's not necessarily involved in the day-to-day operations of the team, but he pays attention to it," said Berry. "He's there when we need him. I try not to bother him too much."
The 24-year-old Tennessee driver credits almost all of his success in racing to his time spent with JR Motorsports and their driver development program.
"It's been everything for me," he said. "I wouldn't be racing without these guys. For me it is my life. I work on the cars every day. I work on trying to build the team and make it better. When we have success and do great things it makes it very meaningful. Not just driving, but from the team standpoint. I've been here five years and it's been a lot of fun."
Berry is hoping to continue to move up the ladder and progress his racing career. He knows that he'll be back with JRM in 2015, but he doesn't know exactly what's in store for him just yet.
"I was able to run some NNS races last year and they went pretty well," said Berry. "I'd like to do more of those races next year and hopefully work my way into a part-time or full-time ride in that series but sponsorship is hard to come by. We all know that.
"Every team out there is struggling. (Sponsorship) is hard to find. Unless your parents are rich, it's a struggle. Luckily the people here work really hard. I'm hoping that we can find a way to make (a Nationwide Series start) happen again."
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Regional Editor (Long Island, CT and NJ) -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com