Monday, January 7, 2019

JR Motorsports 2018 Memorable Moments

JR Motorsports 2018 Memorable Moments

JR Motorsports is ready for the New Year

JR Motorsports is ready for the New Year. #NASCAR

Now in its 18th year, JR Motorsports is the professional race team and management company for Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s 15-time Most Popular Driver and winner of 50 NASCAR-sanctioned races. The company is based in Mooresville, North Carolina, and operates out of a 66,000-square-foot facility that serves as the nucleus of Earnhardt Jr.’s racing, marketing and business interests.

JR Motorsports tours nationally in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where it fields a full-time roster of four cars, and a fifth entry – the iconic No. 88 car – on a part-time basis. JR Motorsports is also active regionally with its late model program, upon which the company was founded.

JR Motorsports 2018 Memorable Moments Countdown

Reddick’s Wild Ride Gives JRM Two Straight NXS Championships

Reddick’s Wild Ride Gives JRM Two Straight NXS Championships #NASCAR

Tyler Reddick joined JR Motorsports in 2018 to take over the defending championship-winning No. 9 car driven by William Byron in 2017. A rookie himself, Reddick was fresh off an 18-race stint in the series in which he’d already won a race, and hopes were high that he could do the same for the team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Rick Hendrick.

As it turned out, Reddick won two races...and the second straight NASCAR Xfinity Series championship for JRM. It was also the third overall for the organization and the third won by a rookie driver. Chase Elliott (2014) and William Byron (2017) won their titles in conjunction with earning Rookie of the Year honors, as did Reddick.

Allgaier’s Summer Blitz Earns Regular-Season Title

Allgaier’s Summer Blitz Earns Regular-Season Title #NASCAR

Following Elliott Sadler’s initial capture of the inaugural regular-season championship in NXS competition in 2017, Justin Allgaier made it two straight for JRM in 2018. The award comes with a nice trophy, but the real prize is the bonus points that help the winner advance in the NXS Playoffs.

The actual clinching of the regular-season championship came at Las Vegas in September, when Allgaier finished a strong second to Ross Chastain in the regular-season finale. Allgaier’s journey toward the title began somewhat earlier...14 races earlier, to be exact.

Journey to 1,000 Starts

Journey to 1,000 Starts #NASCAR

One of the most memorable moments of 2018 happened to be a major milestone for JR Motorsports as a company.

JR Motorsports began life as a racing team in 2002, with street stock cars at Concord (N.C.) Speedway. Three years later, JR Motorsports made its debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

Some perspective on JRM’s performance over its first 1,000 starts: 45 drivers combined to earn 40 victories, 261 top-five and 543 top-10 finishes with 17 poles. JRM cars have been running at the finish 911 times in that span and, combined, completed enough miles to circle the globe 9.5 times.

Dale Jr. Rides Again at Richmond

Dale Jr. Rides Again at Richmond #NASCAR

Though he retired as a full-time driver at the end of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. fully intended to race for his own team, JR Motorsports. When he reported for duty at Richmond in the fall of this year, there was a definite buzz in the air.

Dale Jr. was back on the grid.

“We didn’t have the car at the end,” he said after the race. “Restarting on the outside was kind of tough. Just didn’t have what we needed right there. I’m glad we got to lead a lot of laps and we ran real good for Hellmann’s and all the people that came out to watch us. We had fun. We’ll try and do another one next year. It’ll be with Hellmann’s again and I’m looking forward to figuring out what race that’s gonna be.”

That race will be announced at a later date. This race, with a fourth-place finish, was one of the more Memorable Moments for his namesake team in 2018.

Sadler’s Last Ride

Sadler’s Last Ride #NASCAR

Elliott Sadler’s quest for an elusive NASCAR Xfinity Series championship ended at Phoenix in the penultimate race of the 2018 season, and his 23-year career as a full-time racing driver came to an end one week later following a 14th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

What a ride it was.

It encompassed 853 NASCAR national series starts, 395 of them in the NXS and the last 99 with JR Motorsports. Over those 99 starts, Sadler won three races, earned 40 top-five and 78 top-10 finishes and came a grand total of five points from winning two series championships (2016 and 2017). He was the first regular-season champion in series history in 2017, taking the point bonus that went with it to the Playoffs, only to have outrageous fortune keep him from winning a pair of titles he could honestly claim he deserved.

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