After winning his first PRA Super Late Model race in November, Late Model Stock Car star Josh Berry began searching for the right plans to compete in the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby. The search was short-lived before the pieces came together for Berry to enter the race in the No. 57 DLP Motorsports car. Fast forward to Friday night, and the Jr. Motorsports driver locked himself into the field with a strong sixth-place qualifying effort.
It came as a surprise even to Berry himself, who hovered around the middle of the top 30 during practice over the last two days. It leaves him excited for further things to come for the remainder of the weekend.
“We had decent practices but it never seemed like we could really put it together. The car was really good right there, I think we were able to finally put everything together and get a good lap,” Berry told Speed51.com. “I really wanted to be in the top five, that sounds a lot better than sixth but I’m tickled to death. Just ecstatic, way better than I expected. I think if we had a little more speed we could’ve definitely squeezed a little more out of it. Going to work on race trim tomorrow and try to race 300 laps Sunday, be there at the end and see how we shake out.”
Berry entered the biggest Super Late Model race in the country after winning the Martinsville 300 in early October, leading every lap in the process. He had heard of the intensity of Snowball Derby qualifying and felt a similar rush at Martinsville in past years, but he experienced it for himself on Friday night.
“With Derby qualifying, everybody seems to make it a big deal so to qualify sixth, I’m excited,” he said. “I’m glad it’s over with, excited to work on race trim tomorrow, I’m excited to get to do some longer runs for the race. It’s been a fun experience, a little nerve-racking to see how we would shake out but when it came down to it, we put it in the front. Now we get to work on it a little more and then the race.”
Now that a starting spot in the Snowball Derby is out of the way, Berry and DLP Motorsports will be able to focus on 300 laps come Sunday. With what he’s learned of the half-mile speed plant over the last two days, he feels he is facing a good direction going into the race.
“It gets slick a lot during the day, that’s what makes it hard to gauge where your speed is at. The track changes a lot with the rubber, it changes with the temperature, the clouds. It’s going to get slick tomorrow,” he stated. “We need to work on that and we’re good on exit, getting off the corner and working on some longer runs. That’s my goal, hopefully make two longer runs and really focus on it and see how it drives and look at our tire wear. Get a good night’s sleep Saturday night and get ready to race.”
Race fans who want to watch Saturday and Sunday’s Snowball Derby action can click here to purchase video tickets for Speed51’s pay-per-view broadcast of the event.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com