Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirmed this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway that his NASCAR Xfinity Series organization, JR Motorsports, wants to enter the NASCAR Cup Series.
What is the latest and when could JR Motorsports participate in the Cup races?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on JR Motorsports in the Cup Series
During a “Dale Jr.” Live at Nashville Superspeedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. discussed the prospects of JR Motorsports making the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I was hoping that Martin Truex Jr. would want to come out and help us start our Cup team at JR Motorsports. That’s coming full circle, I mean, I helped him get started, so he might as well help us get started!
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
That obviously wouldn’t happen next year as Martin Truex Jr. announced his intentions to return to the No. 19 car for Joe Gibbs Racing during the 2023 season, which changed the landscape of the silly season this year.
However, will Earnhardt really bring the famed Xfinity Series team to the Cup Series?
“I wish it was that easy. We want to go, we’re working hard trying to exhaust every opportunity. We want to go to the Cup races. JR Motorsports absolutely wants to be in the Cup Series.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on taking JR Motorsports to the next level
It certainly looks like JR Motorsports is ready for the next step in NASCAR. However, there are some obstacles to the idea of it happening.
First of all, it’s not worth JR Motorsports to make the jump without getting a charter, and the prices to get a charter are pretty high.
Earnhardt has gone on record that they won’t go to the Cup Series if the charters cost more than $10 million, but with an evolving market, and perhaps some leverage, it seems possible.
JR Motorsports has a very stable lineup in the Xfinity Series with Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry and Noah Gragson. All four drivers, especially Berry, could move up in the organization.
Mayer will be at the top level eventually, Allgaier has the experience, Berry has expressed a desire to move up eventually, and Gragson will be moving to the Cup Series very soon.
Would it make sense to move forward to the 2023 season, where taking Gragson would seem like a very real possibility?
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When could JR Motorsports move on to the Cup Series?
The stakes are high for JR Motorsports if they want to make this transition. It will take a lot of work, but if you really want this to happen, it will happen.
The 2023 season may be early on the timeline, but it’s possible if they acquire a card and have their finances in place for their first season.
However, they could wait for the new type of hybrid engine system rumored to arrive for the 2024 season. That would also be a good entry point for the organization.
Otherwise, NASCAR’s next television rights deal will start early in the 2025 season and payouts could be different as owners such as Denny Hamlin have talked about the current structure.
Either of these moments makes sense and it looks like the move could come sooner rather than later. However, it would have to make sense to the organization. Driver lineup shouldn’t be a problem.
This has been a rumor for many years and Dale Earnhardt Jr. just poured gasoline on the fire during the live show in Nashville. Perhaps this was done on purpose by Earnhardt.
Be that as it may, it seems inevitable that JR Motorsports will make the leap. It may not be next year, but the people within the organization are working hard.
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