Dale Jr. Returns to Richmond
by Bobby Markos
Big news on this week’s episode of the Dale Jr. Download as Dale Jr. and co-host Mike Davis reveal the new Bojangles Studio, which will be home to the show and all Dirty Mo Media studio productions. The partnership between Dale Jr. and Bojangles began last year, with Earnhardt being the franchise’s first celebrity partner. The studio branding will include a new neon sign, window decals and catering from Bojangles to Dirty Mo Media hosts and team members.
Dale Jr. returned to the studio fresh off his weekend in Richmond, where he made his only appearance behind the wheel this season during Saturday’s Xfinity race. While Dale has explained he uses these one-off starts to help stay sharp in the booth and to have a driver’s perspective while commentating, his time on the track was quite eventful this go-round and led to a dust-up or two.
During the conversation, Dale explains trying to get around fellow driver Josh Williams before the first competition caution. Dale revealed that he made accidental contact with Williams, and Williams could be overheard on his radio complaining about the push. Later in the race, Dale Jr. was racing hard with Kyle Weatherman and felt he was pushed up towards the wall. On top of the incidents with other drivers, Dale procured a speeding penalty late in the race, taking him out of contention for a win. He ended up rebounding to a 14th place finish.
Dale Jr. goes on to recount his post-race interactions with both Williams and Weatherman. He revealed that after the race he had rear-ended Weatherman out of frustration, and a while later noticed that someone had written “Junior Was Here” on the back of the battered race car. Dale and Weatherman would have a colorful interaction about their racing contact, and would eventually go on to take a photo next to the car.
The Dirty Mo crew wanted to hear more from Williams about the on-track incidents, so they invited him into the studio via Zoom. Dale Jr and Williams have a good-natured conversation about the race, and Williams tells the story behind the photo he posted after the race posing in front of the Dale Jr. billboard near the track. They go on to speak about Williams’ beginnings in racing and how he has driven old JR Motorsports chassis throughout the years.
One of the best aspects of the Richmond race was that Dale Jr. finally got to race against longtime friend and JRM racer Josh Berry. The two connected via Zoom to get Berry’s thoughts on the event, as well as his time spent with Jordan Anderson Racing, his Truck Series starts and preparing for the upcoming ValleyStar Credit Union 300 late model race at Martinsville, which Berry dominated in 2019.
Listeners can expect a detailed and hilarious recounting of Dale Jr.’s annual return to racing, filled with driver radio excerpts and conversations with the major characters involved. During Ask Jr., audience members ask Dale. Jr about how the sensation of each of his one-off starts has changed over the years, if he’d like to drive a NextGen car to help with his in-booth perspective, how he broke his toe, what the best way to hang car doors is, who Dale Sr’s spotters were and what happened to his Corvette when the bouncy house moved in. All of this and more on this week’s episode of the Dale Jr Download - available on this website and all major podcast platforms.
Additional reading about our guests:
Hailing from Port Charlotte, Florida, Josh Williams began racing in go-karts before eventually landing in legends cars, where he earned a berth in the 2009 Humpy’s Heroes development program.
Williams entered the ARCA ranks in 2010 in a family-fielded ride, recording a season best finish of 15th at Iowa Speedway. He would drive for various teams over the next few seasons like Andy Belmont, Roulo Brothers, Kimmel and GMS Racing. In 2015, he had his best showing in his family owned car finishing 3rd in the season points. 2016 would bring about his first victories in the series, picking up wins at Nashville Fairgrounds and Madison International Speedway while on his way to a 4th-place season points finish.
Williams began racing in the Xfinity Series in 2016, driving for various teams before ending up at DGM Racing in 2018. His first career top-10 came in 2019 at Talladega with an 8th place effort. In 2020, he recorded six top-10 finishes and a 15th place season points effort.
Today, Williams continues to race the DGM racing numbered 92, where he currently has one top-10 on the 2021 season. He also runs a drive development program that helps drivers in the Legends, bandolero and late model divisions.
Josh Berry’s entry into the world of major motorsports came in the most unlikely of forms: during an iRacing event with Dale Earnhardt Jr. After meeting and racing against each other on the platform a few times, Earnhardt would go on to sign Berry to JR Motorsports’ late model team in 2010, helping Berry graduate from the Legends racing division, where he competed regularly at Nashville Fairgrounds.
Berry has been a terror in the late model stocks ranks since 2010, racking up 21 victories in 54 starts on the CARS Late Model Stock tour, 47 wins in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series and a National Championship in 2020 with 24 season wins between Southern National Motorsports Park and Langley Speedway.
While Berry has made sporadic starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series dating back to 2014, yielding a couple of top-10 efforts in 2015 and 16, his big chance came in 2021 on the heels of his most successful season behind the wheel of a late model. In October of 2020 it was announced that Berry would get 12 starts in the famed-number 8 JRM car in 2021. More seat time proved to be fruitful, and Berry delivered his first Xfinity win at the 2021 spring Martinsville race.
Berry has also made starts this year for Jordan Anderson Racing, Young’s Motorsports, and Rackley WAR. He also made his NASCAR Cup debut filling in for Justin Haley and Corey LaJoie in their respective Spire Motorsports rides, coming home 30th at Dover and 26th at Michigan.
It was announced that Berry will compete full-time in the 2022 Xfinity Series for JRM. He also plans to make late model stock starts, including the 2021 running of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville, which he won in dominating fashion in 2019 by leading all 200 laps.