With Kevin Harvick set to retire from NASCAR Cup Series competition at the conclusion of the 2023 season, Stewart-Haas Racing had to make an impactful hire to take over the driver’s seat of the team’s No. 4 Ford Mustang in 2024. On Tuesday, the team announced Josh Berry as the driver that will be doing just that in a press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I can’t imagine a better opportunity for me – to get in a car that’s been as successful and iconic as the No. 4,” Berry said. “Kevin is a future NASCAR Hall of Famer, and it’s going to be a challenge trying to come after someone so successful. But I know I’m going to have an amazing group of people around me, led by Rodney Childers, to where we can hit the ground running.”
Berry, who has earned five victories in the NASCAR Xfinity Series over the last three seasons driving for JR Motorsports and has played the role of ‘super sub’ for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series following injuries to both Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman this season, will move to full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series next season.
“We’re incredibly proud to have Josh Berry begin the next chapter of his racing career in our No. 4 Ford Mustang,” said Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. “Kevin Harvick has obviously set a very high bar, but Josh brings maturity, experience, and, above all, a winning record to Stewart-Haas Racing. He is the right driver, at the right time, for the No. 4 team and our organization.”
Through 10-career NASCAR Cup Series starts, Berry has one top-five (a second-place finish at Richmond Raceway earlier this season) and three top-fives. The 32-year-old racer cut his racing teeth via sim racing games, and later at the local short-track level in the CARS Tour.
“Josh Berry has proven himself in the Xfinity Series and this year showed how quickly he can adapt to the cars and the level of competition in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Greg Zipadelli, chief competition officer, SHR. “He’ll be a rookie in our racecar next year, but he drives like a veteran. He puts in the work to ensure that he’s always ready for the opportunities that come his way, and we’re very happy that his next opportunity is with Stewart-Haas Racing.”
After getting his big break, which was a part-time season with JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021, Berry gets the opportunity of a lifetime as he’ll replace a legend as he embarks on his rookie season in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I’m really proud of how I’ve gotten to this point and earned this opportunity,” Berry said. “I don’t like to use the word luck. It’s also been about preparation meeting opportunity. The Xfinity Series win at Martinsville changed my career and allowed us to point toward a full-time season for 2022 where we competed for the championship. It’s also been very meaningful to get some opportunities in the Cup Series this year. I’m proud of how they went, but I cannot wait to drive a Cup car that’s got my name on it.”
Rodney Childers, who has served as the crew chief for the No. 4 entry since Kevin Harvick joined the team in 2014, will continue as crew chief of the entry, a key part of the team’s transition between the two drivers.
“I think one of the many things that’s made Kevin and I work so well together is our history in Late Model racing and our respect for it,” Childers said. “Late Model racing is a really great proving ground, and Josh showed that he was the best of the best when it came to pavement Late Model racing. And when he got to the Xfinity Series, he kept on winning. To be the guy who will help Josh get his first Cup win is something I’m really looking forward to.”
Harvick, who is set to contest his final NASCAR Cup Series event at Phoenix Raceway later this season, is a huge supporter of Berry and his background, having come from the same place as the 60-time Cup Series winner, Late Model Racing.
“Late Model racing is where I came from, and I think it’s the best place to learn and prepare to eventually race in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Harvick, who is an ardent supporter of Late Model racing and its presence as a feeder system to NASCAR’s Truck, Xfinity and Cup Series. “Josh is a really good example, and probably the best and most recent example, of applying all that he’s learned in Late Models to what he’s doing in the Xfinity Series.
“Winning the CARS Late Model Stock Tour championship and the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship requires a lot of skill and an equal amount of determination. Josh did both and won a lot of races along the way. That experience allowed him to be fast and successful right off the bat when he got to the Xfinity Series, and when he had his opportunities to race in the Cup Series earlier this year, he again showed speed and an ability to race at the front.
“I’m very happy for Josh and proud to see him get this opportunity. He’s going to be a really good fit with Rodney and the No. 4 team.”
In May, Harvick – along with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Burton, and Justin Marks – purchased the CARS Late Model Tour, the same series in which Berry has competed from 2015 to 2022, winning 22 events and the 2017 championship.
“When I was racing the Late Model car, I just wanted to be the most bad-ass short-track racer that you could be, and that’s how we progressed,” Berry said. “We won a ton of races, a national championship, and a CARS Tour championship. We had a list of things that we wanted to accomplish and big races we wanted to win, and we’d go out there every time with the intent of checking things off that list.”