Ought to JR Motorsports Transfer To Cup Collection In 2023?


Except you have got lived below a rock this previous week, you recognize in regards to the newest celebrity who needs so as to add his title to the possession ranks of the NASCAR Cup Collection. That’s proper, it’s Dale Earnhardt Jr.

After operating his JR Motorsports workforce within the NASCAR Xfinity Collection for years with little to little interest in transferring to Cup, the 26-time Cup Collection race winner has been expressing curiosity in transferring his program to the premier division of NASCAR over the past yr.

The group has been extraordinarily profitable within the Xfinity Collection and in 2022 has dominated the division. But, with NASCAR’s new automotive offering the monetary stability workforce house owners have longed for for years, JR Motorsports needs to make the leap quickly.

However ought to it make the leap in 2023?

Luken Glover and Anthony Damcott debate whether or not or not 2023 is the yr for the group to make the leap.

The Time is Now

JR Motorsports has been a pressure to be reckoned with within the Xfinity Collection ever since its full-time inception in 2006. Now, it’s time to take that charisma to the Cup Collection.

JRM has collected 64 trophies as a corporation, together with six of the 16 races this season. Within the course of, it has gained three titles, and should very nicely seal one other in 2022. It is aware of the right way to discover expertise and develop them nicely for the subsequent stage. Simply check out Chase Elliott, William Byron, Tyler Reddick, Brad Keselowski and several other others.

2023 is the right time to dip their toes within the Cup waters.

Even whether it is part-time, there are a number of advantages. Inspecting fellow Chevrolet newcomers to the Cup Collection in Kaulig Racing and Trackhouse Racing Workforce, they proved the transition can bear fast fruit. Kaulig earned its first win part-time with AJ Allmendinger on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway street course in 2021.

Trackhouse already has three wins this season and is a professional championship risk with Ross Chastain. With how a lot parity the Subsequent Gen automotive has displayed, and certain will for an prolonged time, one can argue there was no higher time than now.

So far as drivers go, JRM has a bonus that the majority newcoming groups have: drivers to choose from of their Xfinity secure. Noah Gragson has constantly improved in his profession and now sits a title favourite within the NXS.

Moreover, he brings sponsorship {dollars} and has examined the Cup Collection on his personal with Kaulig Racing.

Subsequent is Justin Allgaier. Allgaier was by no means given a good likelihood to thrive on the Cup stage, and he has completely whipped the sector a number of instances in his tenure with JRM. He additionally brings sponsorship with Brandt, however extra importantly, he brings helpful expertise. The one hesitation with him is probably going that he could also be an Xfinity lifer, which ought to maintain no disgrace in any respect.

That leaves a driver who I imagine is probably the most attractive possibility.

We don’t know Allgaier’s aspirations to return to Cup to full-time and Gragson might very nicely signal with one other workforce if the chance presents itself. Josh Berry can be an awesome possibility for JRM to advertise. He not too long ago voiced his want to go Cup racing in some unspecified time in the future and he’s raking in outcomes shortly. Berry jogs my memory of how Cup drivers obtained their begin again within the day: skilled drivers who’re of their 30s and have years of inventory automotive notes. Berry is a blue-collar racer who doesn’t come from cash.

He’s a primary instance of the worth that grassroots racing can produce. Sponsors take nicely to him and it appears he improves each time he jumps within the automotive.

Other than drivers, there is a chance for gear help as nicely. Earnhardt has shut ties with Hendrick Motorsports, with Rick Hendrick being a main accomplice in JRM. HMS works in shut proximity competition-wise. Three of the HMS drivers made begins with JRM earlier than they went Cup racing. Whereas JRM couldn’t be a fifth or sixth Hendrick automotive, they’ve notes and alliance prospects with one of the profitable organizations in NASCAR.

Workforce co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller mentioned this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that whereas full-time racing in 2023 is all however out the window, however left the door open for a part-time entry in correlation to a robust want to take the workforce Cup racing.

If that’s the case, why not strive what Kaulig has performed with its No. 16 automotive this season and have a rotation of drivers in it? It’s laborious to not see Gragson in a full-time journey subsequent yr, however between Berry, Allgaier, and possibly even younger phenom Sam Mayer, it might be the right check to see the place they’re at.

Clearly, you’ll be able to’t begin a workforce with out cash, and the price of charters and gear is the most important concern for JRM. Nevertheless, the long-term aim of the Subsequent Gen is to cut back prices and the constitution market could also be extra optimum for 2024. The carrot can’t maintain getting greater and better earlier than it’s too excessive to achieve. 2023 is the time for JRM to make their look. – Luken Glover

Why Danger Ruining a Good Factor?

Whereas the thought of transferring as much as the Cup Collection appears like an awesome plan. JR Motorsports has been round for 17 years, and it appears yearly there’s a dialog of whether or not or not the workforce will transfer to the Cup Collection.

Hell, we even did a 2HM column like this final yr, too, as a result of it was a rumor then. Yearly, we hear whispers that they’re internally hinting at transferring as much as Cup, and yearly it’s the identical story. If Earnhardt actually needs to maneuver his workforce as much as the Cup Collection, he ought to have performed it 15 years in the past when it was so much cheaper to run race workforce operations.

So why hasn’t JR Motorsports moved up? Easy. They’re a really profitable Xfinity program. A number of race groups keep in a respective sequence as a result of the house owners know that they might succeed probably the most in that sequence. ThorSport Racing, for instance, has been a mainstay within the Tenting World Truck Collection for over twenty years. It’s gained 4 championships and gained no less than one race with one driver yearly. Shifting as much as Xfinity wouldn’t assure the workforce that success and would additionally value extra.

Venturini Motorsports has barely tried races in NASCAR’s prime three sequence as a result of they’ve been so profitable within the ARCA Menard’s Collection for 25 years. Why cease now?

That’s the similar query I pose for JR Motorsports. The workforce at the moment operates a five-car Xfinity program (4 full-time), wherein all 4 full-time drivers (apart from Sam Mayer) have gained in a number of instances of their profession with JR Motorsports.

The workforce has loved three Xfinity Collection championships, and it appears all 4 of its full-time drivers have a professional shot at successful the championship in 2022. A transfer to Cup won’t assure immediate success. Simply ask Kaulig Racing or 23XI Racing.

Whereas one might argue that JR Motorsports has nothing left to show within the Xfinity Collection, why would you threat success simply to race in a sequence that prices a TON of cash simply to run within the higher half of the sector?

Talking of funds, Earnhardt Miller has acknowledged that the constitution system is among the largest obstacles, and he or she is true. Charters haven’t solely risen in bills, however the different impediment is that the chance that somebody sells their constitution for 2023 and even 2024 is slim to none. So the workforce is sort of at an deadlock with regard to a constitution, except it needs to run as an open automotive, which not solely doesn’t pay extra, but in addition doesn’t assure them entry into each race. Though Earnhardt Jr. is a family title amongst NASCAR followers (and will in all probability nonetheless make a run at Most Fashionable Driver if he had been eligible to take action, regardless of not competing full-time), NASCAR can’t grant that workforce a constitution simply to see an Earnhardt workforce compete full-time within the Cup sequence.

To not point out, including a Cup workforce would divert assets to that Cup workforce, which implies that no less than one in all its Xfinity groups might endure. Kaulig Racing, for instance, expanded this yr from three full-time Xfinity automobiles and one part-time Cup automotive to 3 full-time Xfinity Collection automobiles along with two full-time Cup Collection automobiles. And evidently each facet of its program has struggled aside from Allmendinger, as a result of now it has to divide their assets amongst 5 groups as an alternative of, primarily, three-and-a-half groups.

After 17 years of constructing a profitable Xfinity program, would that aspect of the workforce endure simply to give attention to the Cup endeavor? If the workforce begins struggling on the Xfinity aspect, sponsors that might probably leap ship to its Cup workforce will pull out as a consequence of poor efficiency. After which the subsequent drawback for the workforce, in each Xfinity and Cup, will probably be discovering a sponsor.

So why break a very good factor by doing one thing that doesn’t assure to be a very good factor? These are all issues JR Motorsports wants to consider intimately earlier than making any sort of leap to the Cup Collection. –Anthony Damcott


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