Berry’s move to Wood Brothers made official, Childers future still uncertain

Wood Brothers Racing has tapped Josh Berry to replace Harrison Burton starting in 2025. The team confirmed the news Wednesday that had been rumored for several days.

Berry is currently in the No. 4 Ford but needed a seat after Stewart-Haas Racing announced recently they will close its doors at the end of the 2024 season. He took over the No. 4 Ford following Kevin Harvick’s retirement after the 2023 season. So far this year, Berry has two top fives, four top 10s and has led 70 laps, as he competes for Rookie of the Year honors.

The Tennessee native is a five-time Xfinity Series winner and was a standout in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series, winning the 2020 national championship.

The Wood Brothers are NASCAR’s oldest team founded in 1950.

“When you think of the history and legacy of NASCAR, it’s hard to not think of the Wood Brothers and the incredible impact they’ve made on the sport. It’s an honor and a privilege to be a small part of carrying on that legacy,” said Berry. “To be able to add my name to the list of drivers who have piloted the iconic No. 21 is something I don’t take lightly.”

Burton took over the No. 21 Ford full-time in 2022. Through 92 career starts, he has one top five and five top 10s. He currently sits 33rd in points with a 26.7 average finish.

“We need to be better. There’s no secret in that,” said Jon Wood, president, Wood Brothers Racing. “This is a business that’s based on chemistry and it’s a sport that’s based on results and, right now, we’re just not having those results. If Harrison shares some of the responsibility, if it’s on us, we’re not pointing fingers. We’re not here to say this one is at fault or that one is at fault, we’re just not where we need to be. Finding that right chemistry and balance to have those results in performance, that’s what we’re looking for.”

The Wood family’s third-generation owners recently took control of the organization and feel the move will help improve the team’s performance. They currently have 99 wins in NASCAR’s Cup series but none since 2017 when Ryan Blaney drove for them.

“Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of working with a multitude of successful drivers, and now having the opportunity to add Josh Berry to that list is a significant milestone for our team,” said Wood. “Josh brings a wealth of talent and determination, evident thorough his success in every level of competition, from grassroots NASCAR to present day. He fits the values of our team, and we believe that with Josh behind the wheel, we will achieve great things together on the track.”

No word on a crew chief for Berry. Currently Rodney Childers crew chiefs the No. 4 for Berry. Wood said Wednesday that the search for a crew chief is currently underway both internally and externally.

“The crew chief part hasn’t been worked out yet,” Wood said. “There’s a lot of good people at Team Penske. We have a really good team now and that’s just not something that we’ve really addressed.”

On social media Childers said he was happy for Berry: “He has worked his butt off for a long time to get this opportunity. This 4 team takes great gratitude in being a part of showing the world what he can do. He’s a winner and has a huge future.”


Greg Engle