Berry and Wood Brothers Racing the ‘right fit’ for each side

Josh Berry repeatedly used some variation of the phrase “a good fit” Wednesday when discussing his 2025 move to Wood Brothers Racing to drive the No. 21 Ford Mustang.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in these guys,” Berry said. “I know the effort that goes into putting the 21 car on track every weekend; I think that’s been pretty clear, and I feel like this is a great fit for me. There’s no excuses from my side of things. I feel like we’re going to have what we need to perform, and it should be a great opportunity.”

Berry’s new deal came together quickly, although it wasn’t until the last week that Berry officially signed the contract. Stewart-Haas Racing publicly announcing May 28 that it was shuttering its NASCAR program at season’s end put things in motion as the season-long rumors became fact.


Wood Brothers Racing initiated the talks with Berry, who was the next candidate after the team could not come to a deal with Chase Briscoe, who signed with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Jon Wood, the president of Wood Brothers Racing, said Berry was an obvious choice. He will be the team’s fifth driver since 2016, when the company returned to full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing.

“I had committed to them pretty quickly,” Berry said. “It felt like the right fit. They didn’t waste any time and I felt like it was the right fit for me. I’m confident in what they have here, and obviously, the affiliation with Team Penske is huge. To get to work alongside Joey [Logano] and, Ryan [Blaney] and Austin [Cindric] as teammates, I think that’s another big plus. Then obviously, Ford supporting this is a big deal as well.”

Wood Brothers Racing will continue its technical alliance with Team Penske and receive manufacturer support from Ford.

“I think they’re going to look forward to having him in those meetings,” Wood said of the Penske drivers working with Berry. “With this car being so equal and so dependent on the driver, more so than in years past where it was a lot about car preparation, now a driver has a lot to do with it. They’re going to be a little more apt to listen to somebody like Josh in those meetings. He’s going to help them, and they’re going to help him.”

As the fight for results continues, Wood Brothers Racing was ready to make a change. The organization has been winless since 2016. Burton has one top-10 finish in two-and-a-half seasons.

Wood is not putting the blame solely on Burton’s shoulder, admitting perhaps it has been organization, too. Either way, not performing as the organization wants has been frustrating.

“I think we were at a point where we had given this season enough time to be pretty sure that was the road we were going to go down,” Wood said of making a driver change. “The Stewart-Haas thing, it wasn’t like flipping a light switch where one day they’re in business, and the next day they’re done. This had been going on for a while; the discussion of them going out of business, and we had more reason to think they were not going to make it than they were, and so we kind of knew once that formal announcement was made, it would be an opportunity to make those moves and have those discussions.

“But we didn’t have them until that happened. We were trying to respect the system and the process (and) not make a move or talk to any of those drivers — that included Chase [Briscoe]. We waited until it was the right time and by that time, it was too late with him. We didn’t do anything wrong — we respected the system, and we landed where we needed to be with [Josh].”

It is a multiyear deal for Berry to drive the famed No. 21.

“It’s a multiyear deal as long as I run (well),” he said with a smile. “And I don’t plan on running bad.”

Story originally appeared on Racer