Josh Berry: NASCAR’s super sub.
With Michael Annett out of commission due to a stress fracture in his right femur, JR Motorsports has tasked Berry with driving the #1 car for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Annett had missed last Saturday’s Atlanta race and the previous night’s Camping World Truck Series event at Knoxville for the same reasons, forcing Austin Dillon and Chris Windom to respectively take over. Dillon finished eleventh in the #1 at Atlanta, while Windom placed fifteenth in the Knoxville event.
According to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass via the team, Annett had gotten hurt while exercising and it “had been nagging him for a few weeks”, yet he continued to race with it before it proved too much. While the severity was not given, the timing suggests he was racing with the injury when he scored his first top-five finish of the season at Road America.
JRM successfully received a medical waiver for Annett to qualify for the playoffs upon his return. He is currently tenth in points with a 54-point gap over twelfth-placed Myatt Snider who sits above the cut-off line. As NASCAR will have a two-week break following New Hampshire due to NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the team expects the pause to give Annett enough time to recover for the next race at Watkins Glen on 7 August.
Berry, who ran twelve races in JRM’s #8 during the first half of the 2021 season with a win at Martinsville in April, will be a substitute driver for the third time this year. In March, he filled in for Truck driver Kris Wright at Atlanta after Wright was sidelined by a positive COVID-19 test. Two months later, he made his Cup Series début at Dover in Justin Haley‘s place while Haley was out for COVID protocols. He was also a replacement driver for Truck team Rackley WAR in June after Timothy Peters was released.