Today was a tough day for Josh Berry. The Xfinity Series driver replaced Chase Elliott and came away with a P29 finish. It wasn’t all his fault. This is his first time driving a Next Gen car and he ended up having issues during the race. Berry was able to have some fun, though.
Filling in for the Cup Series’ Most Popular Driver five times running is not an easy task. Chase Elliott’s team and his fans expect nothing but greatness from the No. 9 car. Berry gave it his best, but there was a lot he couldn’t overcome.
The good news for Hendrick Motorsports is that their other three cars with 1-2-3 with William Byron winning. Here is Berry breaking down the race with Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports.
“Honestly, it was a lot of fun. Really the first half of the race went, I thought pretty well. We were really close, just right on the edge of staying on the lead la or not. Just needed a couple more cautions just to give ourselves a better chance.
“The second half of the race, we have an issue going on with the throttle or the throttle body or something. Because whenever I was letting off, it was hanging wide open and that was – kinda after that honestly I was just kinda, trying to nurse it home and keep it out of trouble.”
The JR Motorsports driver did his best in the Pennzoil 400 replacing Chase Elliott. However, it was clear that he was more than a little new in the Cup Series.
Given Hendrick’s dominance on the day, Chase Elliott was sorely missed.
Chase Elliott Misses Out on Big Day for Hendrick Motorsports
When William Byron was asked about the win after getting out of his car, he brought up Chase Elliott quickly. While teammates, especially at Hendrick Motorsports, can have some nasty rivalries, they are still teammates.
Byron doesn’t have the same relationship with Elliott as Kyle Larson does. It seems a lot more cordial between the 9 and 24.
“It’s all about the team, so. It’s a great pit crew. Thinking of Chase back home. Wish he was out here with us. You know, he’s a great racecar driver, great teammate. So, wish he was out here.”
The timetable for Chase Elliott’s return is not clear. Based on previous drivers with similar injuries, it could be one to three months. Until then, it doesn’t hurt that his teammates are winning races.
Maybe Josh Berry will get another go in the 9 next week at Phoenix. Hendrick has not made a final decision.