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Published on March 19th, 2009 | by Michael J Smith


JR Motorsports Considering Cup?

With the recent announcement of the driver lineup for the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevy in the Nationwide Series, the rumors that the team is planning to move to Sprint Cup next season are starting to surface again.

Last year, team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr created a minor media frenzy when he implied that JR Motorsports would move to Cup if the Nationwide Series moved to a car of tomorrow.

At one point during the 2007 off-season, it was rumored that Dale Earnhardt Jr was going to drive for JR Motorsports with Martin Truex Jr as a teammate. Jr revealed that he would be driving for Hendrick Motorsports shortly thereafter.

As long as JR Motorsports stays in the Nationwide Series, these rumors will not go away. And, the announcement that Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart would be piloting JR Motorsports Chevys has heated that rumor up again.

While I do not doubt for an instant that Jr would consider taking his team to Cup level, I’m not sure he would do it next year.

His team is decent, but I would think he needs to see more consistency, and more wins before considering making the jump. He also is probably seeking a Nationwide Series championship first.

That said, he may look at a team like Stewart Haas Racing, and think that this might be the time to jump to Cup. SHR’s consistency and relatively good performance may make the idea more appealing.

The downside to him moving to Sprint Cup would be that he would lose Newman and Stewart, as they have Cup rides already. He does have Brad Keselowski, who has a lot of potential, and could be groomed into a consistent threat to win. But, Keselowski is green, and there’s more of a win now philosophy in NASCAR, especially with the economy the way it is and sponsors so hard to come by.

Add in the fact that if Jr turned Sprint Cup owner, the calls that Jr is too distracted to win a championship would only get louder.

At the end of the day, whether Jr decides to move to Sprint Cup or not, I would hope that his decision is based on more than just money.

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About the Author

Michael J. Smith is a NASCAR enthusiast and blogger. In addition to founding this website, Michael is a journalist with over a decade of experience writing for prestigious media organizations.

3 Responses to JR Motorsports Considering Cup?

  1. renee4jr says:

    I would think that money is the last thing on his mind. He makes more money off the track than he does on. I would hope he would be thinking about what he will be doing after his driving career is over.

  2. leadlap says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    I think he is thinking about what he will do after his career is over.

    My concern is that he will be concerned that it is not cost-effective to run a Nationwide team when he could be running a Sprint Cup team for the same amount or close to the same amount of money. That could lead him to jump into Sprint Cup ownership too soon.

    If he jumps in too soon, he’s likely to see a drop in performance from JR Motorsports, as well as in driving the no. 88.

  3. Pingback: The Lead Lap | Chevy Nationwide, Truck Teams Losing Factory Support

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