JR Motorsports linked to big driver in possible jump to NASCAR Cup Series

JR Motorsports has been linked to a big driver in a possible jump to the NASCAR Cup Series. Find out the team's plans and the possible drivers.

NASCAR: Xfinity Series Production Alliance Group 300

JR Motorsports is one of the powerhouse organizations in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has been for several years. The team has won three Xfinity Series championships with Chase Elliott in 2014, William Byron in 2018, and Tyler Reddick in 2019.

However, JR Motorsports is also focused on the possibility of the NASCAR Cup Series and the latest news is intriguing.

Latest details on JR Motorsports’ possible jump to the NASCAR Cup Series

JR Motorsports
Mar 4, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Josh Berry (8) during the Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There was an opportunity for JR Motorsports to win the Xfinity Series championship last season as three of the four drivers in the Championship 4 were from the team; however, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Gibbs held off the trio for the trophy.

Now, the organization is looking for redemption as it has another strong four-car lineup looking for a championship. In the meantime, JR Motorsports is still looking to acquire a charter for the NASCAR Cup Series with the latest news possibly suggesting its future driver.

Kelley Earnhardt Miller, co-owner and chief executive officer of JR Motorsports, hopped on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio before the 2023 NASCAR season and provided an update on the team’s plans for the Cup Series.

“I mean, (JR Motorsports)’s appetite (for a charter) is still strong. It’s just that there’s not a lot on the table to choose from. I think people are in a wait-and-see mode with the new TV contract and the new charter contract. It kinda cooled off just because there’s nothing out there to purchase unless you want to pay an arm and a leg, and maybe a full body. It just doesn’t make sense… Still on the burner, not completely on the back burner, but there’s just not a lot of good opportunities out there.”

Kelley Earnhardt Miller on wanting JR Motorsports to be in the NASCAR Cup Series

This makes sense on many levels as JR Motorsports has previously stated it “absolutely wants” to enter the Cup Series. On the same note, the charter market is through the roof as they are going for around $30 million due to the new contracts coming soon.

However, the latest injury to Chase Elliott that has knocked him out of the car for six weeks or longer has stirred up some suggestions. One of them is that Josh Berry, a JR Motorsports driver, could be Elliott’s replacement for a reason.

Door Bumper Clear talked about Berry’s situation with Henrick Motorsports and 23XI Racing spotter Freddie Kraft gave his thoughts on the matter.

“I think (Josh Berry) is a guy that (Chevrolet) has kind of pinpointed that they probably would like to keep in their camp. He’s obviously got a little bit more potential moving forward…I think they’re trying to get Josh seat time in the NextGen car. There is no secret that (Dale Earnhardt Jr.)’s sniffing around (NASCAR Cup Series) ownership. I think if he goes go Cup racing, Josh is probably towards the top of his list of guys he’d like to have drive his car. This is a good opportunity to get Josh six or seven starts.”

Freddie Kraft on Josh Berry replacing Chase Elliott

Berry has performed really well in the Xfinity Series since his part-time starts with JR Motorsports during the 2021 season. In fact, the 32-year-old driver won twice that year and then won three times in his first full-time Xfinity Series season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., a co-owner of JR Motorsports, absolutely loves Berry. The idea of him driving for JR Motorosports or any team in the Cup Series is likely going to come to fruition sooner rather than later.

Therefore, Berry is someone Chevrolet would want to keep in their camp. However, if Berry goes to the Cup Serires before JR Motorsports, who would be some good candidates to pilot the team’s entry?

3 bold drivers JR Motorsports should pursue for the NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR: Cup Practice and Qualifying
Mar 4, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) during qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There are several drivers that would make sense for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series but let’s make some bold predictions on who the team should strive for if the jump happens in the next year or two.

Martin Truex Jr. is an out of the box idea but at 42 years old, it is not impossible that he is still around the Cup Series. Truex could end up being pushed out by younger drivers at Joe Gibbs Racing, even if he still wants to compete in the sport.

If so, the driver of the No. 19 car for Joe Gibbs Racing would be a really good option. Plus, Earnhardt Jr. himself has jokingly said before that Truex should help get his Cup Series program started since he gave him a shot.

Erik Jones would be the best option out of the group of candidates. Jones is a two-time Southern 500 winner and a NASCAR Truck Series champion who drives for Jimmie Johnson at Legacy Motor Club.

The 26-year-old driver could jump ship to JR Motorsports if Chevrolet goes all-in with them. Legacy Motor Club is below several Chevrolet teams on the totem pole and it could allow him to have better equipment within the camp.

Sam Mayer is not a really bold prediction but one that makes sense under one scenario. Mayer needs to develop into a race-winning Xfinity Series driver in his third full-time season. It has been a slow start in the Xfinity Series compared to other young drivers.

The 19-year-old driver would be able to grow with JR Motorsports and give them a driver with raw talent right off the bat. However, Mayer’s development is the major question mark moving forward.

JR Motorsports will have plenty of options available if they ever decide to make the jump to the Cup Series. Hopefully, we can see it happen sooner rather than later and the equipment is good enough to win races.

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