Mobil 1 Racing: Josh Berry Sonoma Advance

Stewart-Haas Racing

●  Josh Berry and his fellow NASCAR Cup Series competitors will take on the challenging and newly repaved 1.99-mile, 10-turn Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway circuit in Sunday’s Save Mart 350k. Although he has yet to compete in the Cup Series at the scenic facility situated at Sears Point amidst the picturesque southern Sonoma Mountains of Sonoma County, Berry had the chance to turn laps there during March 26 and 27 testing conducted by NASCAR and Goodyear. Berry does have one NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Sonoma under his belt. He piloted the No. 8 JR Motorsports entry in the 2023 Xfinity Series race there when, after qualifying 19th, his race was plagued by fuel-pump issues that relegated him to a 33rd-place finish. The 33-year-old rookie first navigated the twists and turns of a road course in a Cup Series car March 24 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, where he qualified 31stand finished 35th.

●  Last Sunday, Berry’s approach for his first Cup Series start at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis was based on one goal – close the gap between where the No. 4 team started the weekend and how it finished. He started the 300-mile race 29th and was charging toward the front from the drop of the green flag, gaining seven spots before the first caution on lap three. But Berry’s day ended on lap 109 of the 240-lap race after contact with the outside SAFER Barrier. The team later discovered his right-front tire had a slow leak. 

●  Crew chief Rodney Childers is no stranger to California’s Wine Country, taking on the winding Sonoma circuit 17 times atop the pitbox. Childers enjoyed the track’s traditional victory lane toast once with former No. 4 driver Kevin Harvick behind the wheel in 2017. Childers’ drivers have also totaled five top-five finishes, seven top-10s, an average starting position of 20.6 and an average finish of 14 at Sonoma. Childers’ drivers have completed every lap possible at the venue. 

●  With 11 regular-season races remaining, Berry is holding down the 20th position in the driver standings as he attempts to further climb the ladder in hopes of making the playoffs. Heading to Sonoma, Berry is also first in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, five points ahead of second-place Carson Hocevar.

●  Mobil 1 is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024 with a series of initiatives across partnerships, motorsports, and virtual reality, each of which will highlight the brand’s legacy and what’s to come. The Mobil 1 brand’s journey through the last 50 years is a testament to ExxonMobil’s ability to push boundaries and their commitment to performance and sustainability. Mobil 1 has become the trusted choice of leading automakers, professional racers, and millions of drivers worldwide. The Mobil 1 brand’s advanced oil formulations provide unparalleled protection against engine wear, extending engine life and reducing maintenance costs for consumers.

Josh Berry, Driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 50th Anniversary Ford Mustang Dark Horse

You tested at Sonoma in March. What did you learn and how much do you think you will be able to carry over from the test to Sunday’s race?

“I think that the track is going to be super fast with the repave and that test was really the first test session I have ever done with NASCAR – definitely the best, most legit test I have been a part of. I think it was really helpful and I was able to learn from Martin (Truex Jr.) and Ross (Chastain) and watch them and their lines and, in doing so, I was able to give feedback to Rodney (Childers) and the rest of the team to help us get faster and build a better car. I feel like that will help all of SHR when we go back.”

COTA was your first road-course race in a Cup Series car. What are you applying from the laps you turned there to help your performance at Sonoma?

“I think just making laps on road courses helps. I knew COTA would be tough for me just not having any road-course experience in the NextGen car and the track is just hard for me, so being able to go to Sonoma and some of the others we have coming up, we can get better each time we go to a road course, having COTA and the test to more or less build off of. For me, it’s all about seat time and getting in the car and making laps. That is where I make the most gains on my race craft.”

What would be a good day for you at Sonoma?

“I think a top-15 finish would be a good day just based off of my experience and comfort on a road course. I think the bigger thing for us is if we can unload with a fast car, go make the most of the practice time to get me comfortable and more confident, and then continue to close the gap from where we unload to where we need to be. If we can qualify better, that sets us up to be closer to the front and go try to contend with the leaders. It’s all about making gains each time we show up and that is our biggest goal.”


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