NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Kris Wright has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Josh Berry will drive the #02 Chevrolet Silverado for Young’s Motorsports in his place, making his second career Truck start and first since 2016.
“Hate the circumstances for Kris, but thankful that @youngsmtrsports thought about me for this opportunity,” Berry tweeted on Friday. “Should be a lot (of) fun!”
A short track ace and the reigning NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series champion, Berry is currently running a part-time NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule for fellow Chevrolet team JR Motorsports. After four races, his first in the series since 2017, he has two top-ten finishes with a best run of seventh at Las Vegas; his latest start at Phoenix last Saturday ended with a wreck after contact with Santino Ferrucci, but he drew media attention when he gave double middle fingers to Ferrucci as he drove by. In eleven career Xfinity races from 2014 to 2017 and including this year, Berry has racked up four top tens.
Berry’s lone Truck Series start came at Chicagoland in 2016 for Contreras Motorsports, where he finished thirteenth. With his Truck return set, Saturday will see him perform double duty at Atlanta as he runs the Truck race followed by the Xfinity event.
A former sports car and open-wheel regular who transitioned to stock cars in 2020, Wright is in his first Truck season with Young’s after débuting in the series at the Daytona road course last August.In two Truck starts for Young’s so far, his best finish is twelfth on Daytona’s oval. Although he is running for Truck Rookie of the Year honours, he skipped the series’ Daytona RC round as he instead entered the Xfinity race there for Sam Hunt Racing, finishing eighteenth in his maiden series start. Wright will run the other six road courses for SHR in 2021; ironically, Ferrucci also drives for SHR.
Berry is the third different driver to drive the #02 in 2021. With Wright running the Xfinity round at the Daytona RC, Kaz Grala piloted the #02 to an eighth-place finish in the Truck event.
Wright is the first active NASCAR driver to test positive for the coronavirus in 2021 and fifth overall. Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon, and fellow Truck racer Spencer Davis all missed races in 2020 after positive tests, while Brendan Gaughan was a part-time driver when he had the same result. Since the onset of the pandemic a year ago, NASCAR has introduced numerous protocols such as screening, limiting fans and personnel before gradually increasing them over time, and condensing weekends by eliminating practice and qualifying for most races. The Atlanta weekend will also see the introduction of COVID-detecing service dogs, which are already used at Miami Heat basketball games and various airports worldwide.