One week ago, Late Model Stock veteran Josh Berry teased he was hoping to make his first trip to the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL). Now, the Martinsville 300 winner confirms he will be doing just that, making the trip to Pensacola, Florida for the biggest race in Super Late Model racing.
Berry has competed in Super Late Models in the past, and has always wanted to participate in one of the crown jewel events for Supers. However, he has been hesitant to take on the challenge until he proved himself by going to victory lane in a Super Late Model.
The Tennessee-born driver checked that item off his list at the North-South Shootout at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), nearly falling two laps down before winning the PRA Tours-sanctioned event.
With that win under his belt, Berry will drive for DLP Motorsports – the same team he worked with at Hickory to embark on his Snowball Derby journey.
“I have always wanted to either do the Derby or the All American 400, but I really felt like I needed to win a Super race first, to prove myself,” Berry told Speed51. “We were able to accomplish that, so it’s on to doing something special.
“I have to thank Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Chevrolet of Tallahassee, All Things Automotive, Tiger Rear Ends and Special Touch Collision Center for making this happen, along with DLP Motorsports, of course.”
Berry is best known for his lengthy list of accomplishments as a Late Model Stock Car racer. This year, the JR Motorsports driver added a victory in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway (VA) to a resume which already boasted a Myrtle Beach 400 win, the 2017 CARS Late Model Stock Tour championship, and track championships at Motor Mile Speedway (VA) in 2012 and Hickory in 2014.
However, Berry doesn’t want to be limited to the box of “Late Model Stock racer.” He has enjoyed strong runs in several levels of stock car racing, with top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and top-five showings in both the ARCA Menards Series and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East during his career.
“I definitely want to represent the Late Model Stock world well and have a good run,” said Berry. “They’re two different race cars, but at the end of the day, I feel like I’m up for the challenge. I’ve run Supers before, I’ve run ARCA, K&N race cars, Xfinity cars and done well in all of them. I feel like this will be another opportunity to have a good run. I know the Derby has a ton of competition and a ton of great racers there. Just for us to make the show and have a good run would be special for us.
“I want to push myself and do different things in different cars. I don’t want to be thought of as just a Late Model Stock racer.”
Qualifying for the Snowball Derby is always a pressure-packed environment, as teams compete against the clock one at a time in hopes of posting one of the 30 fastest times on Friday night of Derby weekend. However, that pressure is something Berry has experienced qualifying for Late Model Stock Car racing’s marquee event, the Martinsville 300.
This year, the Martinsville race returned to a single-car format for qualifying after several years utilizing group qualifying, giving that event’s session a similar feel to Snowball Derby qualifying. One big difference for Berry for this event, however, will be his ability to focus solely on what he needs to accomplish behind the wheel, rather than working feverishly with the JR Motorsports Late Model Stock team to prepare cars for the event.
“Martinsville is a stressful situation in itself. For me, when we go to Martinsville, I handle a lot more pressure and stress than normal. That race car is my responsibility. With this deal, I can focus more on driving and that should hopefully help the situation. It’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to the challenge of it.”
Most importantly, Berry is looking forward to a fun and challenging new adventure as he hopes to check the Snowball Derby off his racing bucket list.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, it’s going to be exciting. I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be fun. I’m welcoming the challenge and if we can do that, it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Fans looking to watch Berry take on Super Late Model racing’s finest in the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club can order tickets for the event now at 5flagsspeedway.com.
Individual video tickets are available for each day of racing; however, a four-day early bird video ticket offers a total savings of $38. To order your early bird Snowball Derby four-day video package today, click here and use discount code “snowbird.”
Individual video tickets can be purchased now at the regular price by clicking here.
For more information on the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby, visit Speed51’s Snowball Central.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo