Wearing fireproof clothing doesn’t usually equate to having fun, but that’s exactly what it means for 19-year-old Liberty University freshman and race car driver Stephen Berry.
A Huddleston native, Berry began his racing career at age 14 behind the wheel of a professional Go-Kart and has recently advanced to NASCAR’s Busch East Series.
Berry participated in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale, Calif., this past weekend where he moved from 14th place to 7th by lap 50. The race was Berry’s most significant to date with 65 cars narrowed down to a field of 40 drivers from across the U.S. and beyond.
Fans had a chance to meet the drivers and Berry signed autographs and mingled with fans on the track in front of his No. 3 car, which was sponsored by LU. He also got to spend time with someone he’s a fan of — NASCAR legend and current Fox television racing commentator Darryl Waltrip. Berry was also interviewed by and featured on the Speed Channel telecast.
“It was a great race. We got a lot of great coverage for Liberty. … I was really surprised at how many alumni were there,” Berry said.
Regionally, Berry has raced in South Boston, Pulaski and Martinsville. Nationally, Liberty has sponsored his races in Mansfield, Ohio, Loudon, N.H., and Irwindale.
Berry, who says he loves racing because it allows him to be “on the edge of out of control,” sees his future in the driver seat in the Busch series with no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
The Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale will be broadcast on the SPEED channel at noon on Thursday, Oct. 25, according to the network Web site.