Josh Berry Food City 500 Bristol Motor Speedway Advance

Thunder Valley. The World’s Fastest Half-Mile. The Last Great Colosseum.

No matter what you call Bristol Motor Speedway, the historic stadium-style track tucked in the Tennessee mountains near the Virginia border is a favorite among fans and drivers across NASCAR.

Not surprisingly, the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 team has some thoughts.

Driver Josh Berry is a Tennessee native and a noted short-track specialist, and he doesn’t think it’s fair to confine Bristol to the standard short-track description.

“Bristol is a short track but it’s its own animal,” he said. “It’s unique in how it races when compared to a Martinsville or Richmond layout. I think for us, we are going to keep preparing the same way we have each week. We try to prepare for as many scenarios as we can each week no matter the track. I think if we qualify well and have a clean day on pit road, the finishes will come and that’s all we can really do at this point.”

Berry’s in good hands with crew chief Rodney Childers, who seems to have a particular love for Bristol. In his career, Childers’ drivers have notched two wins, 10 top-five finishes, 16 top-10s, and 927 laps led at Bristol in 35 starts.

“My favorite track has always been Bristol,” Childers said. “The key to that is that I raced there myself. Being somewhere that I raced and I understand, I know where every bump and every crack is. Being on top of the hauler, I can stand on the pit box and understand that place a lot better. It’s just been a good place for us. I enjoy being there, and being up close to the cars.”

Berry, too, has a longstanding love for the track.

“I remember going there in my teenage years and watching races there and it honestly was always a hot commodity to go there, so hopefully we can pack the place and put on a good show,” he said. “Bristol is just such an iconic venue. It will be really cool to go compete there on the concrete. When Bristol is packed, there is a ton of energy, and you can feel it inside the car, which makes it so special for me being a home-state guy. Rodney has had a lot of success there, too, and I know he and I are both looking forward to getting there and seeing how we do.”

The excitement to compete at Bristol extends to the rest of the No. 4 team as well. Four of the five over-the-wall crew listed the track among their favorites. Jack Man Brandon Banks, a former NFL player, says the environment is similar to his former job.

“I love Bristol, because it’s like a football environment to me,” Banks said. “Everything happens fast. If you’re not ready, if you don’t have your helmet strapped on, you might be out of luck. Bristol has two pit openings, and depending on where the car’s at, it can be right up on you.”

Car Chief Cheddar Smith knows exactly why Bristol is such a draw, for fans and racers alike.

“Bristol’s cool because it’s a good mix of speed, execution, and short track beating and banging,” Smith said. “I think that’s what I love most about it. It’s difficult to communicate, it’s difficult to be there, it really tests the warrior of the race team and the grit of the team to be able to communicate when other cars are on the track practicing. It’s loud, it’s hot, you’re in the elements. And once the race starts, it’s just elbows-up and it’s a battle to the end. I love that. I love going to Bristol. It’s just something I look forward to, and I’m really excited to see Josh get a shot there.”

Get your Josh Berry Harrison's #4 Stewart-Haas gear 

Follow us on X/Twitter for race day coverage

Harrison's racing

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published