There are a handful of notable entries and interesting storylines surrounding the annual Fall Brawl on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Most notably, this will be the first time Josh Berry has driven a Late Model Stock for something other than JR Motorsports, after a 13-year stint with the company that eventually, finally resulting in a NASCAR career that will next move to the Cup Series to drive the Stewart Haas Racing No. 4.
“Point blank, I called Dale and L.W. and asked for permission to do it and made sure they were OK with it,” Berry told NASCAR.com. “The last thing I wanted to do was rub anybody the wrong way. They were good with me going and doing this.
“I think that it’s just fun. I’ve been hanging around the shop some, working on the car some. It’s just fun to do that.”
Adjacent to that, Berry will make his Late Model debut driving for the Cup Series driver he is set to replace in Kevin Harvick alongside crew chief Rodney Childers.
“Early on, the conversations with Kevin and Rodney and the No. 4 car and all that, we kind of always talked about doing this,” Berry told NASCAR.com. “We had really, between us three, set out to do some races at the end of the year. Just kind of go racing together was really our plan.
“Kevin is restarting KHI with the Late Model program, and this is a way for me to be a part of that early on and build a relationship.”
Defending winner Coleman Pressley is back, making his annual start behind the wheel now that his spotting duties for Joey Logano is done for the season.
“There is more pressure to perform this year,” Pressley told NASCAR.com. “By no means were we the best car last year. We were the ones that were able to win the race. I feel I know a little bit more of what to expect getting back into the car. A little bit more of the feel I need to feel. We went and tested a couple weeks ago and kind of got reacclimated to the seat and tried to make ourselves be better for this year.
“In racing, everyone improves year-round, and if you’re not taking a step ahead, you’re falling behind.”
No details on whether or not Logano will spot like he did last year.
“I’m trying to convince him,” Pressley told NASCAR.com. “It’s the first weekend of the offseason, and especially after not winning the championship, maybe the last place you want to be is the race track. But that’s the plan in place right now.”
Track champion Kade Brown will be represented amongst the field as is another former track champion Ryan Millington.
Clark Houston, the son of NASCAR veteran Andy Houston, will be in the field after winning a race at the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars this summer as will Doug Barnes Jr., who finished second in the NASCAR national championship battle following starts at Hickory in the spring as well.
The 26th edition of the 200-lap Fall Brawl around the historic 0.363-mile is scheduled to begin around 4:15 ET and will air on FloRacing and will pay $4000 to the winner as part of $17,000 in posted awards.
Doug Barnes Jr.