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JR Motorsports

For information on the British company JR Motorsports Group, see Sumo Power.
JR Motorsports
JR-Motorsports.jpg
Owner(s) Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Rick Hendrick
Kelley Earnhardt Miller
Base Mooresville, North Carolina
Series Xfinity Series
Camping World Truck Series
Whelen All-American Series
ARCA Racing Series
Car numbers 00, 1, 5, 7, 9, 48, 49, 83, 88
Race drivers Xfinity Series:
1. Elliott Sadler
5. Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Cole Custer (part time)
7. Justin Allgaier
88. Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Josh Berry, Alex Bowman, Cole Custer, Kenny Habul, Regan Smith, Clint Bowyer
Camping World Truck Series:
00. Cole Custer
Whelen All-American Series:
1. Christian Eckes
88. Josh Berry
ARCA Racing Series:
00. Cole Custer
Sponsors Xfinity Series:
1. OneMain Financial, Dale's Pale Ale
5. Hellmann's, TaxSlayer.com, Haas Automation
7. BRANDT, TaxSlayer.com, Hellmann's
88. TaxSlayer.com, Bad Boy Buggies, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Morton Buildings, Armour Vienna Sausage, Fire Alarm Services, Goody's, Ragu, Hellmann's, Speedco, Great Clips, SunEnergy1
Camping World Truck Series:
00. Haas Automation
Whelen All-American Series:
1. TBA
88. Speedco
ARCA Racing Series:
00. Haas Automation
Manufacturer Chevrolet
Opened 2005
Career
Debut Xfinity Series:
2005 Ford 300 (Homestead)
Camping World Truck Series:
2015 Kroger 250 (Martinsville)
Latest race

Xfinity Series:
2016 Lilly Diabetes 250 (Indianapolis)


Camping World Truck Series:
2016 Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby (Eldora)
Races competed Total: 664
Xfinity Series: 654
Camping World Truck Series: 10
Drivers' Championships Total: 1
Xfinity Series: 1
2014
Camping World Truck Series: 0
Race victories Total: 31
Xfinity Series: 29
Camping World Truck Series: 2
Pole positions Total: 13
Xfinity Series: 11
Camping World Truck Series: 2

JR Motorsports is an American professional stock car racing team that currently competes in the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series. The team is based in Mooresville, North Carolina, co-owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and the owner of his Cup ride Rick Hendrick. The team currently fields three full-time entries in the Xfinity Series: the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro for Elliott Sadler,[1] the No. 7 Camaro for Justin Allgaier, and the No. 88 Camaro for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Cole Custer, Kenny Habul, Regan Smith and Clint Bowyer. The team also fields the No. 5 Camaro part-time for Kahne and Custer. In the Camping World Truck Series, the team fields the No. 00 Chevrolet Silverado for Custer, and the No. 49 Chevrolet Silverado for Nick Drake.

 

Contents

HistoryEdit

JR Motorsports began in a shed on the property of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 1998 with just one employee, as the marketing division of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s race team. The original intent of the business was to help Earnhardt Jr. sell T-shirts and negotiate sponsorship deals.[citation needed] It wasn't until 2002 that Earnhardt Jr. turned the business into a race team, when T. J. Majors drove street stock division at Concord Motorsport Park, in North Carolina. Upon Earnhardt Jr.'s signing with Hendrick Motorsports the Hendrick and JR Nationwide Series teams were merged.

The first win for the team came at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA, in 2004. (At the time, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was co-owner of another racing venture, Chance 2 Motorsports.)

Today the team operates out of a 66,000-square-foot (6,100 m2) race shop near Mooresville, North Carolina.

Xfinity SeriesEdit

Car No. 1 historyEdit

Chase Elliott in 2014.

In 2014, 18-year-old Hendrick development driver Chase Elliott was signed to drive a fourth entry for JR Motorsports. The car was numbered 9, the longtime number of Chase's father Bill Elliott. In a surprise move, NAPA Auto Parts, which recently left Michael Waltrip Racing and was rumored to depart from the sport, signed on to sponsor the full season.[2] After the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the team was revealed to have violated Sections 12–4.2 (P2 penalty) and 20A–12.8.1B (car exceeded minimum front height) of the NASCAR rulebook. As a result, crew chief Greg Ives was placed on probation until December 31.[3] At the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300, Elliott passed teammate Kevin Harvick for his first Nationwide Series win.[4] Elliott's second win came at the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway, where he led 52 laps. A late race caution and a slow pit stop would find Elliott restarting in 6th with just 2 laps to go. Elliott managed an outstanding feat of passing the 5 cars in front of him en route to his second win of the season. Elliott would win his third race of the season in the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway after holding off Trevor Bayne.[5] Elliott won the 2014 Nationwide Series championship, the first rookie to win a NASCAR national series championship.

In 2015, Elliott returned to the No. 9 full-time to defend his championship. Elliott's 2014 crew chief Greg Ives would move up to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s Cup Series team, replaced by longtime Xfinity crew chief Ernie Cope.[6]

Elliott Sadler replaced Elliott in the car for 2016 with the car number changing to No. 1. Since NAPA followed Elliott to the Cup Series, Sadler brought his sponsor OneMain Financial with him.

Car No. 5 historyEdit

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the No. 83 NAVY Chevrolet in 2008.

The No. 5 team started in 2006 as the No. 83 team, a part-time second car for JR Motorsports. The car was driven by Shane Huffman with sponsorship from the Make a Wish Foundation. The car returned in 2008 driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. with the US Navy sponsoring. In 2010, JR Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing announced that the number would switch from No. 83 to No. 3 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving the car at Daytona in July with Wrangler sponsoring the car. This was a tribute to Dale Earnhardt, being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in May. Earnhardt Jr. won the race in the No. 3 car.

In 2011, the team changed numbers from 3 to 5 which was JR Motorsports' 3rd entry, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ron Fellows running a handful of races part-time. The car returned in 2012 once more with Dale Jr. and Fellows driving, and Regan Smith would win the Ford 200 after announcing his addition to the team. The car was originally slated for Smith in 2013, but he was moved to the No. 7 when Jr's Cup teammate Kasey Kahne and USAC driver Brad Sweet signed to drive the No. 5 with sponsorship from Great Clips. On Monday October 14, 2013, JR Motorsports announced that Kevin Harvick would begin driving the No. 5 car in at least 12 races for the 2014 season. Four of the races the car was sponsored by Hunt Brothers Pizza.[7] Super Late Model driver Austin Theriault drove the car in a three races for the team starting at Iowa. JR development driver Josh Berry drove two races starting at Iowa in August. For 2015, the team was renumbered to No. 88. However, No. 5 was driven by Kahne in 1 race at Charlotte as a 4th car where he finished 3rd.

Car No. 7 historyEdit

Danica Patrick driving the No. 7 in the 2012 Sargento 200

The No. 7 car joined in 2008 as the No. 5 as part of the merger with Hendrick Motorsports' Nationwide teams. It was driven by Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Mark Martin, Landon Cassill, Ron Fellows and Adrian Fernandez,[8] with sponsorship from Lowe's (Johnson and Fernandez), National Guard (Truex, Earnhardt Jr and Cassill), Delphi, (Martin) and Godaddy.com (Earnhardt and Fellows). The No. 5 car won two races in 2008, with Martin at Las Vegas and Ron Fellows in Montreal, the first NASCAR race run in the rain.

The 5 car returned in 2009 with sponsorship from Fastenal, GoDaddy.com, Unilever and Delphi.[dated info] The team's best finish was a third with Earnhardt at Atlanta. The team changed numbers from No. 5 to No. 7 with Danica Patrick driving about 12 races with JR Motorsports in with GoDaddy.com sponsorship in 2010, The schedule was filled out with Scott Wimmer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Landon Cassill, Steve Arpin, Josh Wise and J. R. Fitzpatrick. Patrick ran 12 races with GoDaddy, with her best finish of 4th at Las Vegas. Wise returned to the team for a few races, recording a few top tens. Dale Jr. drove the 7 at Talladega, and Cup drivers Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray drove the car too. Danica Patrick drove the No. 7 full-time in 2012 while contesting a limited Cup schedule with Stewart-Haas Racing. Patrick departed the team for the Cup Series after the season.

Regan Smith, a former teammate to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at DEI who served as his substitute driver in the Cup Series late in 2012, was signed to drive for the team in 2013. Initially announced to drive the No. 5 car, he would be moved to the No. 7. Smith won twice at Talladega and Michigan, but suffered a run of bad luck in the summer and finished third in points. In 2014, Regan Smith returned to drive the No. 7 car, starting the season with a win in the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona. From there, he would go on to help JRM complete a one-two points finish behind Chase Elliott. In 2015, Regan Smith returned to the No. 7 full-time. He also gained two victories including Mid-Ohio and Dover. Following the Kansas race, Smith stated that he will not return for JR Motorsports in 2016. Justin Allgaier would be later announced to be the new driver of the No. 7 Chevy, bringing sponsorship from Brandt.

Car No. 88 historyEdit

Mark McFarland, the team's first driver, in 2006.

The No. 88 debuted in 2005 at the Ford 300 with Mark McFarland driving with sponsorship from the United States Navy, qualifying eighteenth and finishing twentieth. McFarland was named the full-time driver and had a seventh-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway, but was replaced by Shane Huffman after twenty-one races,[9][10] with Martin Truex Jr. and Robby Gordon filling-in for certain races. Huffman was hired as the full-time driver in 2007, and had two top-ten finishes before he was released from the ride as well.[11]

Brad Keselowski earned six victories for the team from 2007 to 2009.

Brad Keselowski, son of former Craftsman Truck Series driver Bob Keselowski, was hired to replace Huffman for three races,[12] with SCCA driver Andy Pilgrim to be in the car for the road course races in Montreal and Watkins Glen.[13] Keselowski then returned at his hometown track Michigan.[14] He was involved in a hard crash at Fontana, in which he was tagged by a spinning car, collided head first and then driver side with the turn 1 wall, temporarily was airborne, and then rode the guardrail while his car was on fire before coming to a stop. Keselowski was taken to a local hospital,[15] and was later cleared to race at Richmond the next week. Keselowski finished the season with five top-ten finishes[16] Keselowski signed a two-year contract with JR Motorsports with the Navy returning as sponsor in 2008.[17] He won his first race at Nashville Superspeedway and later picked up another win at Bristol Motor Speedway, finishing third in points but lost the Navy sponsorship for 2009.[18] GoDaddy.com and Delphi Corporation sponsored the No. 88 for a total of 24 races in 2009, with Unilever brands sponsoring 11 races on the No. 88 car. Keselowski won four races and finished third in points for the second consecutive season before leaving for Penske Racing.

At the end of the 2009 season, Kelly Bires signed a two-year contract to drive for JR Motorsports in the No. 88 Chevy through 2011, with Earnhardt eager to see what Bires could do in his equipment.[19] Bires drove the No. 5 Ragu Chevy for Junior at Homestead in preparation for running full-time in 2010.[20] Due to sponsorship obligations with Unilever and their Hellmann's Mayonnaise brand, owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran the No. 88 car at the 2010 season opener at Daytona and Danica Patrick ran the No. 7 car with her sponsor GoDaddy.com, forcing Bires to sit out.[21] In his debut at Fontana, Bires scored a seventh-place finish. Even more curious than his missing Daytona was when Bires was removed from the No. 88 car in favor of Cup driver Jamie McMurray after only five races run, with only one finish below 17th (a crash at Las Vegas).[22] Earnhardt Jr. cited chemistry issues between Bires, JR Motorsports management, and the team including Tony Eury, Sr. and Jr., and implied that Bires was taking a seat from "the next Brad [Keselowski], the next Jeff Gordon." Bires was the third young driver to be hastily removed from the 88 car.[23] Elliott Sadler, Greg Sacks, Aric Almirola, Steve Arpin, Coleman Pressley, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ron Fellows all ran races in the car to finish out the season. The No. 88 team took home one win in 2010, with driver McMurray in Atlanta. They also came close to winning the inaugural race at Road America with Ron Fellows.

Aric Almirola driving the No. 88 car in the 2011 Bucyrus 200.

Former DEI development driver Aric Almirola moved up from the Truck Series to drive the car full-time in 2011 as a part of a 2-year deal. With sponsorship from Unilever, Grand Touring Vodka, and TaxSlayer, Almirola ended up fourth in points in his first full-time season. Almirola then left JRM after 2011 to join Richard Petty Motorsports in the Cup Series, while the No. 88 was taken by former Red Bull development driver Cole Whitt in 2012 for his rookie season. Whitt had a consistent rookie season despite switching crew chiefs from Tony Eury, Sr. to Bruce Cook. Whitt recorded a best finish of 4th at Daytona, Talladega, and Michigan, finishing 7th in the point standings but lost the Rookie of the Year battle to Austin Dillon. With the team unable to find sponsorship for Whitt for 2013, the No. 88 was used by Dale Jr. in his limited Nationwide Series schedule (to keep consistency with his Cup Series number). Dale Jr. and Kevin Harvick drove the car for the first two races of the 2014 season before switching the owners points to the No. 5. In 2015 the No. 5 team became the No. 88 team, and was driven by Dale Jr. in 4 races, Kevin Harvick in 12 races, Kasey Kahne in 7 races and Ben Rhodes in 10 races.

Camping World Truck SeriesEdit

Truck No. 00 historyEdit

Cole Custer at Bristol in 2015.

On January 12, 2015, JR Motorsports announced that Haas Racing Development driver Cole Custer would drive a truck for the team in 10 races in 2015, marking the team's first foray into the Camping World Truck Series. Trucks were acquired from former Hendrick development partner Turner Scott Motorsports, after that team ceased operations. The team operates out of a satellite facility in Mooresville, North Carolina.[24][25] The truck's number (No. 00) and sponsor (Haas Automation) both came with the team from Haas Racing.

Under NASCAR's age requirement rules for the Truck Series, the 17-year-old Custer ran 10 races, all at tracks under 1.1 miles (1,800 m) in length (and Gateway Motorsports Park), with the team planning a full-time run in 2016 for the championship. Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, and Jeb Burton also ran races in the No. 00 truck.[26] The No. 00 ran 15 races, winning twice: with Kahne at Charlotte in May, and with Custer at Gateway in June.

Truck No. 49 historyEdit

Premium Motorsports, a fellow Truck Series team, loaned a Truck from JR Motorsports for use with Nick Drake. Drake's paint scheme is similar to Cole Custer's, with the same Haas Automation sponsorship. In Drake's first career start, he finished an impressive 16th. Drake is pending more races, with one more start at Iowa Speedway.

Sprint Cup Series and future of JR MotorsportsEdit

During a press conference at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 16, 2008, Dale Earnhardt Jr. stated that once the Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series starts using the Car of Tomorrow chassis, which was set for a July 2010 debut at the Daytona International Speedway, his Nationwide teams possibly will leave the Nationwide Series, due to the costs of switching cars. When asked if he will move JR Motorsports to the Sprint Cup Series, Earnhardt Jr. said that due to the Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup Series almost having the same expensive costs, he might move the team to the Sprint Cup Series as early as 2009 "if the right opportunity comes along with the right sponsorship and driver...".[27] JR Motorsports did not end up moving their team to Sprint Cup and has remained in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.

Other racing seriesEdit

JR Motorsports has fielded a regional late model program since 2002.[28] JR Motorsports fields the No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet for William Byron[29] and the No. 88 Speedco Chevrolet driven by Josh Berry and Bobby Pierce. Berry, who has driven for JRM since 2010, captured the 2012 Motor Mile Speedway championship in the Whelen All-American Series, the first championship for JRM at any level, running 18 races while collecting 6 poles and 15 top 5 finishes.[28][30] Berry scored a second track championship at Hickory Motor Speedway in 2014.[30] Byron scored a single victory to finish runner up to Berry for the championship at Hickory.[31] Pierce, who finished second in his Camping World Truck Series debut in the Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway during the 2015 season, made his debut with JRM that year at Hickory Motor Speedway.[32]

JRM's late model program has fielded current NASCAR spotter T.J. Majors and Jeremy McGrath. It is currently overseen by Kelley Earnhardt Miller's husband, L.W. Miller.[29][30]

Speed 1Edit

In 2007, JR Motorsports supplied cars for Speed Channel's NASCAR coverage. The Speed 1 fleet for NASCAR RaceDay included a superspeedway car, and car for intermediate tracks, and a Car of Tomorrow. Speed 1 was driven by Hermie Sadler.[33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2016 No. 1 OneMain Chevrolet". OneMain Financial. Retrieved January 6, 2016. 
  2. ^ Ryan, Nate (January 6, 2014). "NAPA will back Chase Elliott at JR Motorsports". USA Today. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Keselowski's team hit with penalty after NNS Vegas win". Fox Sports. March 19, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  4. ^ Jensen, Tom (April 4, 2014). "Besting the boss: Chase Elliott, 18, tops Dale Jr., all comers in NNS race". Fox Sports. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Chase Elliott holds off Trevor Bayne for Nationwide win". Sporting News. Associated Press. July 20, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Greg Ives named Junior's crew chief in 2015". NASCAR. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Harvick to join JR Motorsports in 2014". NASCAR. October 14, 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Busch Series No. 5 driver lineup star-studded for '08". ESPN. September 21, 2007. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  9. ^ From Team Press Release (August 10, 2006). "McFarland released as driver of No.88 car". NASCAR. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  10. ^ Ryan Smithson, NASCAR.COM (August 12, 2006). "Notebook: Junior explains McFarland firing". NASCAR. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  11. ^ Earnhardt to drive JRM Busch car at Daytona[dead link]
  12. ^ Team Release (July 10, 2007). "JR Motorsports signs Keselowski to BGN deal". NASCAR. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  13. ^ Earnhardt Jr. honoring dad's promise to Pilgrim
  14. ^ NASCAR (August 16, 2007). "BUSCH: Michigan: Round 25 preview". motorsport.com. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  15. ^ JR Motorsports (September 3, 2007). "BUSCH: Fontana II: Brad Keselowski update". Fontana, California: motorspot.com. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  16. ^ Keselowski to finish season with JR Motorsports Archived September 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ Team Release (November 16, 2007). "Keselowski, Navy back with JR Motorsports in 2008". NASCAR. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  18. ^ Joe Menzer (July 11, 2008). "Sponsorship woes stretch even to Junior's own team". NASCAR. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  19. ^ Associated Press (September 15, 2009). "Bires signs deal with JR Motorsports". Mooresville, North Carolina: ESPN. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  20. ^ JR Motorsports (November 17, 2009). "Homestead: Kelly Bires preview". motorsport.com. Retrieved August 23, 2014. JRM DEBUT - Kelly Bires will make his debut with JR Motorsports in the No. 5 Ragu Chevrolet this weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. WEEKEND OF FIRSTS - Homestead marks Ragu's first race with JR Motorsports. 
  21. ^ McCubbin, Ashley (Feb 20, 2010). "Kelly Bires Looks to Debut for JR Motorsports at Auto Club Speedway". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved August 23, 2014. When they signed the contract, Kelly Bires was ready to start the year off strong for JR Motorsports, though when it came to Daytona, he wasn't to be found in either JR Motorsports car. 
  22. ^ Busbee, Jay (April 13, 2010). "Kelly Bires 'relieved of duties' at JR Motorsports; McMurray in". Yahoo!. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  23. ^ Gluck, Jeff (April 16, 2010). "Earnhardt Jr. Explains Why JR Motorsports Fired Kelly Bires". sbnation.com. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  24. ^ "JR Motorsports to run select NCWTS races with Cole Custer". Fox Sports. January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  25. ^ Spencer, Lee (January 12, 2015). "JR Motorsports expands to truck racing with driver Cole Custer". motorsport.com. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Kasey Kahne to Pilot JR Motorsports NCWTS Entry at Charlotte". JR Motorsports. May 6, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015. 
  27. ^ GM Media Online: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Press Conference
  28. ^ a b Press Release (January 17, 2014). "JRM Adds William Byron to Late Model Program for 2014". jrmracing.com. Mooresville, North Carolina: 'JR Motorsports'. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  29. ^ a b Williams, Deb. "From online to on-track competition, Byron quickly finds success". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b c "Drivers: Josh Berry". jrmracing.com. 'JR Motorsports'. 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Driver: William Byron". jrmracing.com. 'JR Motorsports'. 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Speedco Partners with Odle Motorsports Inc. and Bobby Pierce". Speedco. August 5, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  33. ^ Official Release (February 20, 2007). "Speed, JR Motorsports take fans inside car". NASCAR. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 

External linksEdit

  • Official website
  • JR Motorsports owner statistics at Racing-Reference
  • Interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr. & Brad Keselowski by Joshua Hudson, July 2008, G.I. Jobs Magazine
  • Dale Jr.