It was confirmed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Nashville Superspeedway this weekend that his NASCAR Xfinity Series organization, JR Motorsports, wants to enter the NASCAR Cup Series.
What is the latest and when could JR Motorsports go Cup Series racing?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about JR Motorsports in the Cup Series
During a live “The Dale Jr. Download” at Nashville Superspeedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked about the prospects of JR Motorsports making the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I was hoping that Martin Truex Jr. would want to come over 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.
Obviously, that would not 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 silly season landscape this year.
However, is Earnhardt really going to bring the famous Xfinity Series team to the Cup Series?
“I wish it was that easy. We want to go, we are working our tails off trying to exhaust every opportunity. We want to go Cup racing. JR Motorsports absolutely wants to be in the Cup Series.”Dale Earnhardt Jr. on moving JR Motorsports to the next level
It certainly sounds like JR Motorsports is ready for the next step in NASCAR. However, there are some obstacles to the idea of it happening.
First off, it’s not worth it for JR Motorsports to make the jump without acquiring a charter, and the prices for acquiring a charter are pretty high.
Earnhardt has been on record saying they won’t go to the Cup Series if the charters are going for more than $10 million, but with an evolving market, and maybe 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 with the organization.
Mayer will be at the top level eventually, Allgaier has the experience, Berry has been vocal about his desires to move up eventually, and Gragson will be moving to the Cup Series very shortly.
Would it make sense to move up for the 2023 season where taking Gragson would seem like a very real possibility?
When could JR Motorsports move up to the Cup Series?
There is a lot in play for JR Motorsports if they want to make this transition. It will take plenty of work but if they really want to make it happen, it will happen.
The 2023 season might be early on the timeline, but it is possible if they acquire a charter and have their financials ready to go for their first season.
However, they could wait for the new type of hybrid engine system that has been rumored to come for the 2024 season. That would also be a good entry point for the organization.
If not, NASCAR’s next TV rights deal will be starting at the beginning of the 2025 season and payouts could be different as owners, like Denny Hamlin, have been vocal about the current structure.
Any of these times make sense and it seems like the move could be coming sooner rather than later. However, it would need to make sense for the organization. The driver lineup shouldn’t be an issue.
This has been a rumor for many years and Dale Earnhardt Jr. only poured gasoline on the fire during the live show in Nashville. Perhaps, this was done on purpose by Earnhardt.
Either way, it seems inevitable that JR Motorsports makes the jump. It might not be next year, but people within the organization are working hard.