Cup Series Competition Still Possible for JR Motorsports

JR Motorsports

Getty Dale Earnhardt Jr. (right) talks to Noah Gragson (left) before a race at Daytona International Speedway.

JR Motorsports remains focused on the NASCAR Xfinity Series and contending for a championship, but there is a scenario where the organization takes on a different series. Kelley Earnhardt Miller, co-owner of JR Motorsports, has confirmed that there is still a possibility that JRM takes on the Cup Series.

Earnhardt Miller spoke to NBC Sports and confirmed that the door remains open. There are several factors that go into a potential move, such as acquiring a charter or moving forward without co-owner Rick Hendrick due to NASCAR’s rules about having ownership stakes in multiple teams.

To me, it’s all about timing,” Earnhardt Miller told NBC Sports’ Zach Sturniolo during a longer interview. “What’s going to make sense, right? So, we were thinking through it last year, in terms of the new car. Obviously, that kind of propelled our thought process on … that barrier of entry and … what we thought would be more competitive.”

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Has Previously Addressed the Potential & Hurdles

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

GettyDale Earnhardt Jr. has addressed the topic of Cup Series racing multiple times.

The interview with NBC Sports is far from the only time that JR Motorsports has addressed the possibility of moving into Cup Series competition. Co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. also spoke about the topic multiple times during the 2021 Xfinity Series and revealed that JR Motorsports had conducted internal discussions about a Cup Series future.

One of those conversations revolved around the hurdle that JRM would have to overcome. In order to field a Cup Series team, he would want to have a charter that would guarantee entry in every race on the schedule, as well as a larger portion of the purse. Acquiring this charter would likely require tens of millions of dollars.

“[The charter] is the only roadblock,” Earnhardt said to SiriusXM during the 2021 season. “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.”

JRM Has Multiple Driver Candidates

If JRM pursues the Cup Series in the future, there will be multiple options for drivers. Two, in particular, are already in the building with experience competing in the Cup Series.

Justin Allgaier has made 79 Cup Series starts in his career, a run that includes full-time seasons in 2014 and 2015 for HScott Motorsports. Allgaier has also made limited starts for Hendrick Motorsports, Spire Motorsports, and Phoenix Racing. His best finish in the Cup Series was an eighth-place run at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2015.

Noah Gragson, who also drives full-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, has far less experience as a Cup Series driver. He made his debut during the 2022 Daytona 500 while driving for Beard Motorsports and ran inside the top 10 during multiple points of the race. Gragson made his second start of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the first of 14 starts in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro. His day came to an early after a hard collision with the wall.

Gragson will continue to gain experience as a Cup Series driver while making starts for both Beard Motorsports and Kaulig Racing. He will face off with the best drivers in NASCAR while learning how to better control the Gen 7 stock cars.

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