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Josh Berry finishes 29th for Chase Elliott at Las Vegas

William Byron crosses the line first after an eventful overtime restart and finish, with teammates Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman in tow to complete a 1-2-3 result for Hendrick Motorsports at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Josh Berry, driving for an injured Chase Elliott, finished 29th in Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Elliott, who was coming off a runner-up finish last weekend at Auto Club Speedway, suffered a fractured tibia in a snowboarding accident Friday in Colorado. Hendrick Motorsports has not stated a timetable for Elliott’s return.

MORE: Las Vegas Cup results

Berry, who competes full-time in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports, had run only two previous Cup races. Both of those were in 2021, making this weekend his first time in a Next Gen Cup car. Berry ran 26 laps in practice before qualifying 32nd.

Berry finished two laps behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron, who won the race.

“Good job, buddy,” crew chief Alan Gustafson told Berry on the radio after the race. “Sorry about that mess there with the throttle and everything else.

Said Berry: “I feel like that really kind of hurt me at the end. I felt like I was starting to make some progress. I don’t know whatever happened that was there, just got throwing me off.

“Honestly, it was a lot of fun. I know it wasn’t what we wanted, but I had a good time. I needed some more yellows.”

Berry had talked earlier in the race about issues related to the throttle. Berry and Gustafson conversed throughout the race about how Berry was driving.

“Josh did an amazing job for us, given the circumstances, given the fact that he’s not ever been in one of these Next Gen cars before,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “Really, really happy with what he did for us today. We’ve got some things to work on. We think we had a little bit of an issue there. It was causing a little bit of issue with his throttle during the race. We’ve got to get it fixed and remedied, but really, really pleased with the job he did for us.”

Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman knows the challenges Berry faced this weekend. Bowman drove select races in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car in 2016 when Earnhardt was out after suffering a concussion in a crash.

“It’s a hard situation to step into,” Bowman said earlier this weekend. “Obviously we had some success when I filled in, but it’s really hard. It think it’s only gotten harder with the Next Gen car coming in.

“The Xfinity car used to be so similar to a Cup car, and now they couldn’t be more different in how they drive and how you can approach how to aggressively drive them. Plus, when I came in, I had a couple years of Cup experience already.

“So it’s definitely different, but I think it is a good opportunity for Josh to learn and see how Hendrick Motorsports operates; the things that we do and to be part of an organization like that. Even though it’s through a situation that nobody wants, I think it’s something that you can grow as a racecar driver from; learn and show everybody what you’ve got.”

Hendrick Motorsports has not stated who will drive the No. 9 car beyond Sunday’s race at Las Vegas until Elliott returns. Andrews said the team will need to make a decision Monday to have the driver’s seat in the car before the hauler leaves on Tuesday.