Thanksgiving Classic is Josh Berry's Short Track Swansong

Sunday marks the end of a decade of dominance for the JR Motorsports short track ace


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There isn’t much left for Josh Berry to accomplish in Late Model Stock racing before he departs for the NASCAR Xfinity Series next season, but the Thanksgiving Classic is a notable omission he is eager to cross off the list this weekend.

"I'm excited," Berry told Racing America over the weekend at the South Carolina 400. "You know, that's actually a race I really haven't run a whole lot. I think I've only run it once. So, it's one that I'd like to check off the list."

To wit, Berry is making the trip to Southern National Motorsports Park with his JR Motorsports crew and it’s the last journey they will take together as a full-time group.

Carson Kvapil will take over the No. 8 Late Model Stock as the team’s full-time CARS Tour and marquee event driver. Berry hopes to sprinkle in starts here and there, but his primary focus moving forward is the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

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"Honestly, this weekend is going to be a little extra special. I think it's pretty much going to be probably for the last planned last race for me with this group. So, either way, I'm excited to get to do that."

Josh Berry

For the past decade, Berry and JR Motorsports have run roughshod over the competition in Late Model Stock racing with track championships at Southern National, Motor Mile and Hickory plus the 2017 CARS Tour championship.

There were seasons over the past half-decade that Berry missed CARS Tour races to make NASCAR starts, so he very well could have been a multiple time champion in that division too.

That’s to say nothing of his dominant 2020 Martinsville 300 triumph in which he led all 200 laps to earn a grandfather clock after winning the NASCAR Weekly Series Championship earlier in the summer.

And now it's up for Kvapil to continue that legacy.

"I'm thankful for all my time that I've spent doing this and being a part of this program," Berry said. "I'm turning it over to good hands with Carson. He's showed a lot of talent so hopefully they can keep doing what they've been doing."

And while this is a send-off for Berry in his time as a full-time Late Model Stock driver, there is nothing special planned for this week or over the weekend, because there is business for them to attend to.

"No, not really," Berry said. "I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. Towards the end of the year when we wrapped up the NASCAR season, we started going to these end-of-the-season races and then we came (to Florence) with Carson) and just haven’t had the time to do anything.

"I’m sure we’ll do something as a group over the off-season, but in the meantime, we’re focused on getting this car ready for the Thanksgiving Classic."