Berry, Childers Look Ahead to NASCAR Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway

The Lady In Black. The Track Too Tough To Tame.

Darlington is known by several different names, and the challenging nature of racing there adds to the track’s mystique. Was there really a fabled minnow pond that had to be avoided, and necessitated a design that’s bedeviled race set-up for different ends of the track since? We sure like to think so.

No matter WHY it’s so tough, Darlington has become one of the hallmarks of NASCAR. A win there means you’re one of the sport’s best drivers. It rewards patience and daring in equal measure, and requires both.

Can you tell we’re a little partial to the only NASCAR track in the state where we were founded?

Aside from being kind of a “home game” for us, Darlington has seen a ton of success from the four NASCAR Hall of Famers who called Spartanburg home. David Pearson ran 47 races at the track, finishing first 10 times, more than any other driver. He added seven runner-up finishes, and 30 Top-10s.

Bud Moore-owned cars won three races at Darlington, with Dale Earnhardt, Darrel Dieringer, and Joe Weatherly, along with 15 Top 5s and 30 Top 10s. Cotton Owens notched a win as an owner with Buddy Baker as his driver in 1970, along with eight Top-5s and 12 Top-10s. And Rex White was a model of consistency at Darlington just like he was most everywhere else, finishing in the Top 10 six times in 13 starts as a driver and owner.

We’re drawing on some of that history in our paint scheme for Throwback Weekend. The Stewart-Haas/Harrison’s No. 4 Ford Mustang Dark Horse will feature all four of those Hall of Famers on the hood, along with a tribute to Greenville-Pickens Speedway. The deck lid will feature a tribute to Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds Speedway, along with the names of several other drivers with deep ties to racing in South Carolina – Ned Jarrett, Tim Flock, Fireball Roberts, Lee Petty, Junior Johnson, and Baker.

The scheme itself ties the past to the present, depicting one of current No. 4 crew chief Rodney Childers’ most successful late model cars.

“It’s special for me to see this thing, first of all, and to be able to race it at Darlington is going to be really special to me,” Childers said. “This scheme is one of the best cars I ever drove. It was fast everywhere we took it.”

He’s hoping the scheme will also be fast for NASCAR Rookie of the Year candidate Josh Berry. Berry’s in his first year full-time in the series, and is a grassroots guy who’s had success in every series in which he’s ever driven. Childers said Berry’s no ordinary rookie.

“Mentally, Josh isn’t a rookie at all. He works so hard, and studies, and is so active in what we have going on,” he said. “Overall, the things he’s done every single week have been incredible. He’s done some extremely hard things this year. Being a rookie in the Cup series is way harder than anybody thinks. A lot of these rookies don’t make it past the first year, and that’s not gonna happen on my watch. We’re gonna figure out how to win some races by the end of the year.”

Childers has had a ton of success at Darlington as a crew chief, particularly with driver Kevin Harvick. Berry said the track’s history, and the history of success for the No. 4 team, is definitely something to consider.

“It’s just an amazing racetrack,” Berry said. “It’s so unique. The history speaks for itself. The difficulty to race there, just to compete there, let alone to win there, makes it stand by itself as a racetrack. It’s one that you always look forward to as a driver. You know it’s going to be a challenge. Kevin had success at just about every one of the tracks. Obviously Rodney and the No. 4 team have had a lot of success there and good racecars there over the years, so hopefully we can continue that trend and have a good run.”

Berry also thinks prior experience at Darlington will help.

“The results have been a little mixed for me at Darlington, but really when you look at the races we’ve run well,” he said. “I got a Cup start last year in the 48, and to be honest I kind of got chewed up and spit out in that one – Too Tough To Tame. But the first one, you’re gonna have those days at a tough place like Darlington. It’s incredibly difficult to get around. You’re battling tire wear, you’re battling the track, you’re obviously running right next to the wall. One slip can dramatically affect your day. I think for me, that experience from last year is going to be a big plus going back and now having my own group and having a handful of races under our belt.”  



Harrison's racing

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