The NASCAR Xfinity Series has completed 10 races during the 2023 season and one team has notably been left out of victory lane. JR Motorsports, despite having three cars in the Championship 4 last season, has yet to win an event.
It is the first time that JR Motorsports has not won a race through 10 races, even eight races, since the 2012 season. The organization simply hasn’t shown consistent race-winning speed but it doesn’t mean its drivers have not been impressive in their own ways.
Josh Berry, the driver of the No. 8 car, has been substituting for Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman at Hendrick Motorsports, and his future in the NASCAR Cup Series has been picking up some serious steam over the last month.
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JR Motorsports has uncertainty over driver lineup due to recent rumor for 2024
JR Motorsports’ driver lineup of Berry, Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, and Brandon Jones has not been very potent to start the 2023 NASCAR season. In fact, this is the opposite of what was expected heading into the first race at Daytona International Speedway.
The top-3 drivers (Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, A.J. Allmendinger) in the NASCAR Xfinity Series during the 2022 season made the jump to full-time competition in the NASCAR Cup Series this year.
With JR Motorsports only needing to replace one driver, the trio of Mayer, Allgaier, and Berry was expected to thrive with Jones slowly integrating himself into the organization. It hasn’t been awful for Berry and Allgaier as they sit fourth and fifth in the point standings, respectively.
Mayer and Jones both sit outside of the top-10 spots in the point standings and have a combined two top-5 finishes and seven top-10 finishes. It has not been pretty but the team is slowly starting to improve.
Specifically, Berry has been making incredible strides in his performances but they aren’t in the Xfinity Series. The 32-year-old driver has started six races with Hendrick Motorsports in the Cup Series with one top-5 finish and three top-10 finishes.
Berry has put himself on the map to where it is almost a guarantee that he makes the jump to the Cup Series next season. In fact, Berry is considered a top candidate to join Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2024 season as the organization looks to replace Kevin Harvick.
With all signs pointing toward the JR Motorsports driver’s departure to Stewart-Haas Racing, it creates some serious questions about the organization’s driver lineup in the Xfinity Series moving into 2024.
Berry has the most top-10 finishes for JR Motorsports and the second-best average finishing position in the Xfinity Series. He represents the organization’s best driver and with the struggles from Mayer and Jones, it creates a situation where finding a replacement is very important.
Sure, Allgaier will be around to continue his successful ways but Mayer has not won a single Xfinity Series race and Jones has not seen too much overall success in his eighth full-time season in the division.
If Berry makes the move to the Cup Series with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2024, who would be a good replacement to keep JR Motorsports at its peak performance? Continue reading to find out three ideal candidates to keep the organization at the top of the totem pole.
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3 ideal candidates to join JR Motorsports for the 2024 NASCAR season
JR Motorsports represents one of the powerhouse organizations in the NASCAR Xfinity Series due to its competitive equipment and continuous success. This means the team will have plenty of suitors for a potential ride opening and it needs to hit on a championship-level driver.
Ryan Truex has been making headlines during the 2023 season and his victory at Dover Motor Speedway has been the top one. Truex, 31, has been running part-time for most of his NASCAR career and finally broke through for his first victory last weekend.
The 31-year-old driver said he wants to be full-time in the Xfinity Series starting next season. Truex’s most likely destination is Joe Gibbs Racing but JR Motorsports should push hard to put him into one of its entries in 2024.
Ty Dillon is an out-of-the-box idea but if he and Spire Motorsports don’t continue their partnership, it makes sense. Dillon, 31, has been a competitive Xfinity Series driver in the past and could reset his career.
The 31-year-old driver would carry some sponsorship and be a good option overall. Dillon has not been spectacular throughout his NASCAR career but he has up to five opportunities with Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series to prove his worth this season.
Carson Hocevar likely would not be competitive out of the gate but he would represent a good development driver for JR Motorsports. Hocevar, 20, is scheduled to get some Xfinity Series starts with Spire Motorsports, which has technical support from the organization.
The 20-year-old driver has not been great despite his equipment with Niece Motorsports but some drivers are not meant for the NASCAR Truck Series. Hocevar could be one of those drivers if he cleans up his act and stops racing irresponsibly.
JR Motorsports will have plenty of options for the 2024 season if Berry does make the move to the Cup Series. There will be many drivers clamoring for an opportunity and the organization will get to have its choice.