Dale Earnhardt Jr. Teases NASCAR Cup Series Future

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Getty Dale Earnhardt Jr. will document the race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. has just answered an important question. He confirmed that JR Motorsports intends to compete in the Cup Series in the coming seasons.

Earnhardt made the “announcement” during a live episode of “The Dale Jr. Download” podcast in Nashville. He addressed Martin Truex Jr. returning to Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2023 season and just threw in the comment, “I was hoping that Martin would want to come over and help us start our Cup team at JR Motorsports.”

This statement obviously sparked some follow-ups from co-host Mike Davis, who asked if Earnhardt was making an announcement. The Hall of Famer then explained that he wants to go Cup racing, but he also confirmed that there is one significant hurdle to overcome.

“I wish it was that easy,” Earnhardt said as further context. “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. If y’all knew the amount of conversations that my sister — Kelley — who is literally the leader of the company, if y’all knew all the conversations she’s had in the last 12 months trying to learn about how we can get that done, y’all would really be happy. Because she has worked her tail off.”

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Earnhardt Has Remained Open About This Possibility

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

GettyDale Earnhardt Jr. has talked several times about a Cup Series future.

The live podcast is not the first time that Earnhardt has addressed this possibility. He has remained open over the past year about possibly competing in the Cup Series with JR Motorsports, and he has expressed interest in making the leap during the Next Gen era.

While Earnhardt has expressed interest in taking on the Cup Series, he has also clarified that the charter remains a hurdle. The prices have reached tens of millions of dollars in recent years, which is a price that Earnhardt told the Associated Press that he wouldn’t pay.

“[The charter] is the only roadblock,” Earnhardt said to SiriusXM ahead of Throwback Weekend in 2021. “I mean, the way they are talking about this new car, it’s going to be more expensive to be in the Xfinity Series than it would be to be in the Cup Series. I don’t see how that’s really possible. The numbers that you hear — as far as what the new car in the Cup Series is going to cost and what it should cost to run it — sound very conservative and very positive, too good to be true. But we will have to wait and see. Hopefully, they are right.”

What About Driver Options?

If Earnhardt and JRM are able to overcome the hurdle of securing a charter, they will have to focus on the next step of the process. They will need to determine which driver will be the one to spearhead the campaign.

Truex is not an option after he signed a new deal with Joe Gibbs Racing, but Earnhardt has capable drivers in the JRM building. Sam Mayer still has experience to gain in the Xfinity Series, but Justin Allgaier, the winner of the Nashville Superspeedway race, has made 80 starts in the Cup Series. He also ran full-time during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Noah Gragson is another option. The driver of the No. 9 is in the midst of his fourth full-time Xfinity Series season, and he has seven career wins. Gragson’s future is a hot topic entering Silly Season, especially with him running part-time in the Cup Series with Kaulig Racing and Beard Motorsports.

Finally, there is Josh Berry. The Late Model ace is running full-time in the Xfinity Series for the first time in his career, and he has added another two wins to his total. Berry is still learning the ins and outs of the national NASCAR series, but he has openly expressed a desire to move up to the Cup Series.

“I think if I’ve come this far, I think that there’s no reason why I wouldn’t have a set goal of racing in a Cup car one day,” Berry said ahead of the race at Nashville Superspeedway, per NASCAR Media. “Who knows if that day will come?”

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