The top series in NASCAR are off until August due to the Olympics, but an employee of one of the race teams will remain busy. Tyler Paige, who works for JR Motorsports will compete in the Olympics. He will represent American Samoa in sailing.
Team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. provided information about Paige’s trip to the Olympics during the NBC Sports broadcast of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on July 18. “This is Tyler Justus Paige,” Earnhardt said while showed Paige sailing. “He’s an employee of JR Motorsports. Made the Olympics sailing for American Samoa.”
According to NBC Sports, Paige is a 25-year-old engineer from New York City. He spent time working for JRM, starting in September due to COVID-19 putting sailing on hold. He remained with the organization until February 2021 before taking a leave of absence to further pursue his Olympic goals. However, he plans on returning to the organization after representing American Samoa to continue his NASCAR career.
Paige Will Showcase His Skills in Late July
The Tokyo Summer Olympics will begin with the opening ceremonies on Friday, July 23, at the New National Stadium in Japan. However, Paige will not compete until the following week. The first of 10 Olympic heats will take place on Wednesday, July 28.
When he climbs into the sailboat, Paige will showcase a lifetime of training that led him to Tokyo. He explained to NBC Sports that he first “caught the bug” at the age of 9. He took a sailing class in Connecticut and then continued spending as much time as his schedule allowed on the water. Now he will enter the Olympics and face a considerable challenge.
“As far as what we’re trying to do here, we’re trying to … show that we’re here to race and finish as high up in the rankings as we can,” Paige told NBC Sports. “I don’t know what that is going to be right now. We’re definitely the underdogs going into this.
“I’m just so excited to be out on the water and see what I’m capable of. and we’re just going to push ourselves to the limit. … We’ll cross the finish line someplace and see where it is.”
Paige Could Play a Role in a Late-Season Championship Push
While he may not officially be a part of JR Motorsports at the moment due to his Olympic schedule, Paige has the goal of returning to the Xfinity Series team. When he does, he will play an important role and potentially help the team pursue a championship.
The four-car stable features talented drivers that are capable of contending for wins and playoff points. Justin Allgaier is currently the leader in the clubhouse after winning two races while Noah Gragson and Michaell Annett are above the cut line due to stacking up enough points. Rookie Sam Mayer is the outlier considering that he only officially started racing for the team on June 27.
As Paige explained to NBC Sports, he did not simply work as an engineer for JRM. He actually filled a variety of roles to help him learn more about the cars and how to pursue checkered flags. He tore down cars after races, worked on setups, and prepared the cars for each date on the schedule.
Once the Olympics come to an end, Paige will continue to pursue his NASCAR future, most likely with JR Motorsports. For now, however, he will continue to focus on his Olympic dreams while representing American Samoa in Tokyo.