CARS Late Model Stock Tour
Why Wilkesboro is the Biggest Race in CARS Tour History
Aug 30, 2022
After so many years talking about the possibility, CARS Tour has finally unloaded for a race at North Wilkesboro Speedway and Josh Berry wouldn’t miss it for anything short of his new NASCAR obligations, but there’s one thing.
He isn’t driving.
With the boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr. coming out of Late Model Stock retirement after a 26-year absence combined with another full-time car for Carson Kvapil, that leaves Berry without a seat.
But not a job, as the NASCAR Xfinity Series contender is serving as crew chief for Earnhardt on Tuesday-Wednesday, and that’s perfectly fine by him.
"Maybe a little bit," Berry told Racing America when asked about wanting to drive. "Man, this made the most sense and I've had a lot of time to digest it but this place means so much for Dale. He's done so much for my career and has been so supportive of our Late Model program. It means a lot to race and bring him here.
"I'm definitely cool with it because we're in the Xfinity Series and that's been a grind, and it’s been a lot. I don't mind taking a break from driving."
Earnhardt was second in practice on Tuesday, albeit from an abbreviated session before thunderstorms halted the proceedings, and Berry just wanted to make sure his boss was plug-and-play.
"He's prepared," Berry said. "He's watched a ton of our races and knows how they play out. The only thing I'm really concerned with is him being too conservative.
"I feel like our program has been strong. I'm confident in our race cars, I'm confident in today ... I have prepared and worked as if I was driving myself. We're not going to do anything different because Dale is in the car. We'll see where that takes us. We don't know how the race is going to play out so that's a little by feel. I think track position will mean more than you might think."
Conventional wisdom states that the race could play out similar to high abrasion tracks like Myrtle Beach and Florence -- tracks that Berry has mastered over the years.
But on the other hand, he isn't sure what kind of race it will be. For example, the Modified races played out completely opposite from each other. The first one was super slow and packed up while the second race was closer to wide-open.
There just isn't enough data.
"I'll be honest, I'm not sure how it's going to play out," Berry said. "A part of it is going to be like Myrtle Beach. I've watched both Modified races, both Super Late Model races to prepare for what could happen and how it might be. Each one was a little bit different and it's hard to say what this could be. Like in the modified race, everyone kind of rode because they felt like they were supposed to and that's what they did.
"It seems like each race is a little bit different."
At the end of the day, Berry is just excited to be at Wilkesboro, be part of the show in a meaningful way for the industry, track and Earnahrdt.
"There is going to be a huge crowd here tomorrow night," Berry said. "I think it's going to be cool to see. This place is special. The reality is, it's going to be hard to tell if we're going to be back here racing, to come do this and Dale has had a hand in this for sure. With it being midweek, there are a lot of guys in NASCAR hoping to come out here and watch it, it's going to be a big deal. I hope it's a good show."