A Look Back to Go 4WARD: Harrison's Founder Shares Thoughts on Josh Berry

Danny Harrison’s first impression of Josh Berry came by way of a stopwatch and a memory.

Sponsoring a car driven by Kyle Grissom, son of former Busch Series champion Steve, in the old PASS series, Harrison was in Hickory, N.C. doing some testing.

“Josh was there,” Harrison said. “I’d never even heard of him, really. But Kyle and Steve both said to time his car, and that’s what we were shooting for. He was winning a lot of races. He was a thorn in everybody’s side. Going to a bunch of tracks, most everybody felt like he was going to be the time to beat.”

That thought took his mind back.

“It made me think back to my dirt racing days when C.L. Pritchett drove my cars,” he said. “When we pulled in to the track, I wanted the stopwatch on me. I wanted to be the car to beat. I’ve always kind of had that attitude with any kind of racing I’ve been involved with.”

That involvement in racing dates back more than a half-century.

“I guess the first car I ever spent any money on was in 1973,” Harrison said. “Marvin and Rhett Thackston had a car, and I think Buddy Howard was the driver. I gave them $125 for fuel to go to Daytona. You’d have thought I gave them a million dollars.”

That support continued through many teams and many years. And in recent years, Harrison kept his eye on Berry.

“It’s not like we’ve been buddies forever,” Harrison said. “He was a competitor. But Josh was always friendly to me. He’d speak, and we’d move on, and that was it. But I took notice of those kind of things. When he got a chance to run a couple of Xfinity races, and when he won as a substitute, he happened to be standing in front of my motorhome, and I asked if he had any offers. He said he hadn’t heard anything from anybody. I told him not to worry, and we just shot the breeze about other things.”

About a month later, Harrison asked again. This time, Berry had a figure, and Harrison had interest. It led to a partnership in the Xfinity Series.

“We had some success,” Harrison said. “We won some races.”

One of those came at Charlotte, the nearest track to the Harrison’s chain of stores’ base of operations in Upstate South Carolina.

“That meant a lot to me,” Harrison said. “The main reason is I think Josh felt a lot of pressure to win with my name on the car. That was the furthest thing from my mind, but he really wanted to do that for us. Obviously, that was a very special time for us.”

Harrison knew that with Berry’s success and talent, a move up was inevitable.

“I had no doubt about whether he could win,” he said. “I told him he’d get an opportunity. I knew it was coming.”

That faith in Berry’s ability – and his personality – is something that hasn’t wavered.

“He’s a family man,” Harrison said. “Obviously he’s dedicated to his racing. His wife supports him. I just fell in love with that little girl, just being around them. I think they’re a good family, and they’ve worked hard to get where they are, and I’m just impressed with them. And on the track, I knew that if Josh had the equipment, he’d be able to do it no matter what form of racing it was. To me, he’s always been the man to beat, even though so much enters into it. You’ve got to be lucky, and all that. But I knew if everything went right for him, as far as driving, he can drive with any of them. He can compete in anything if it’s got four wheels and a steering wheel.”

Now, he’s got much more than that. He’s got a ride in the sport’s premiere series.

“Stewart-Haas is a major player,” Harrison said. “It’s a solid organization, and it’s a great opportunity for Josh, and we’re happy to be a part of it. We’re ready to get the ball rolling.”

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