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JR Motorsports’ big and uncertain future in NASCAR

JR Motorsports' future in NASCAR will remain a big topic until the Cup Series materializes. Let's dive into the updates about Cup Series racing in the future.

Austin Konenski
NASCAR: Xfinity Series Championship
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

JR Motorsports has been a topic of conversation during the 2022 season for many reasons, including Noah Gragson moving to the NASCAR Cup Series and the organization’s own desire to go Cup Series racing.

Let’s dive into the updates from JR Motorsports over the course of the 2022 season and what the future holds for the organization moving forward.

Overview of JR Motorsports’ updates during the 2022 season

NASCAR: Xfinity Series Championship
Nov 5, 2022; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson (9) during the Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

JR Motorsports had an incredible season as three of their four full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers made the Championship 4, only to lose to Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Gibbs at Phoenix Raceway.

Gragson led the way with eight wins during the 2022 season while the organization totaled 15 victories in 33 races. However, the leader of that pack will not return as he goes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series with Petty GMS Motorsports.

So, Brandon Jones will move over from Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 19 car to drive for JR Motorsports and the No. 9 car next season. Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, and Josh Berry will all return full-time.

Meanwhile, the organization wants to join the Cup Series. Dale Earnhardt Jr. stated that JR Motorsports “absolutely” wants to join NASCAR’s top level and Kelley Earnhardt Miller said a lot of conversations have taken place.

However, it is not from a lack of trying as the pieces just did not fit due to finances and other reasons. The organization continues to push but nothing has come together to this point.

Due to this, JR Motorsports will not compete in the Cup Series next season. This includes any consideration toward part-time action which did take place, according to Earnhardt Miller.

What does the future look like for JR Motorsports and would NASCAR benefit from the team jumping to the Cup Series?

Related: JR Motorsports won’t join the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023

JR Motorsports’ future in NASCAR beyond 2023

NASCAR: Wawa 250 and JR Motorsports
Aug 26, 2022; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Sam Mayer (1) races through the trioval during the Wawa 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The earliest that JR Motorsports would go racing in the NASCAR Cup Series is the 2024 season. If so, the team needs to get it set in place by the middle of the 2023 season.

It is clear that JR Motorsports wants to make the jump. If that jump happened next season, the team needed to be ready by the middle of the 2022 season. That will remains the same almost every year.

The cost of a charter plus the looming TV deal are some factors in the process too. It is unclear what might change with the new deal while the charter agreement ends in 2024. However, the intentions are to continue the said agreement.

It seems realistic that JR Motorsports will jump to the Cup Series at some point but it is just a matter of making it happen. This is not a guarantee but the organization is pushing hard toward accomplishing that feat in the coming years.

If not, they will continue as one of the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ powerhouse organizations. The team has been incredible as seen by its 15 wins during the 2022 season. There is much to like about the future either way.

NASCAR would benefit from having JR Motorsports at the top level. The sport already has Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Brad Keselowski in major roles within Cup Series teams relating to ownership and other positions.

If the legacy of the Earnhardt name can continue into the Cup Series, it would be a major addition and great for the sport. It will still be hard to make it happen as the charter market is ultra-competitive at an estimated $20 million.

As stated above, no matter what happens moving forward, JR Motorsports will be an important part of NASCAR. However, the organization would be even bigger if the Cup Series materializes one day.