Tag:JR Motorsports
Posted on: January 4, 2012 4:16 pm

Cole Whitt lands JR Motorsports No. 88 seat

By Pete Pistone

Aric Almirola's departure to Richard Petty Motorsports opened up a seat at JR Motorsports and Cole Whitt filled that vacancy on Wednesday when he was named driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Series entry.

The 20-year-old Whitt will compete for 2012 Sunoco Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year honors.

He comes to JR Motorsports from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he finished ninth in last year's championship standings with one pole, two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.

To date he is the youngest driver ever to win the USAC (United States Auto Club) National Midget championship, as his title-winning effort in 2008 put him alongside esteemed former USAC national champions such as Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne.

The signing of Whitt completes the 2012 driver line-up for JR Motorsports, which will compete in Nationwide Series competition with Whitt in the#88 Chevy, Danica Patrick in the No. 7 Chevy, and team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. in select races in the No. 5 Chevy. 

More NASCAR coverage
Posted on: August 2, 2011 2:33 pm

Jimmie Johnson to make rare Nationwide appearance

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

Five-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will make his first appearance in the Nationwide Series since 2008, when he climbs into JR Motorsports' No. 7 car at Watkins Glen on Aug. 13.

Johnson competed full-time in the Nationwide Series in 2000 and 2001, but has made just 18 starts in the series since. He has one career win in the series (Chicagoland, 2001).

Press release:

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 2, 2011) – If Jimmie Johnson will race anything with an engine, driving one that could carry him to victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen International is a no-brainer. JR Motorsports announced today that Johnson will pilot the No. 7 Chevrolet in the Aug. 13 road-course event at Watkins Glen in promotion of his soon-to-be-launched video game Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine. Published by Autumn Games and developed by Isopod Labs, Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine is scheduled for an October 2011 release on all three major home consoles.

A five-time champion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Johnson’s entry at Watkins Glen will mark his first Nationwide Series race since competing in four events for JR Motorsports in 2008. In 91 career Nationwide races, he has one win, eight top-fives and 23 top-10s. The road-course car he will drive at Watkins Glen will be the same one that carried Ron Fellows to a second-place finish at Road America on June 25th.

“This is a unique opportunity to not only run in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, but a fun way to remind fans that our new video game will be released in a few months,” Johnson said. “We had a lot of fun creating this game, and I think the fans will appreciate the imagination we put into it. Being able to race a JR Motorsports car and promote my game at the same time is a great opportunity. Tony Eury Jr. and Ron Fellows nearly won at Road America in June, so maybe we can do one better.”

Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine will allow players to race unconventional vehicles created from the most unlikely of everyday objects such as shopping carts and dumpsters, armed with powerful side rams and front and rear custom weapons. The game introduces an eccentric group of characters, including Hazzard Mower, who uses his souped-up lawnmower to cut down the competition and Megaton, a former military officer who barrels around the track on a high-speed bomb.  It features progressively challenging tracks complete with pyrotechnics, hazards, traps and jumps.

The game will feature up to eight-player online multiplayer action on supported consoles, including ranked and private races, and up to four players in split-screen multiplayer as they battle for first place across the couch, around the globe, or both.

“We couldn’t be more excited about partnering with JR Motorsports to help kick off the unveiling of Jimmie Johnson’s Anything with an Engine,” said Alex Collmer, CEO of Autumn Games. “We’ve been working hard with Jimmie for a long time now to build a humorous game that fans of all ages will have a blast playing, and now it’s time to start sharing the fun with racing fans all over.”  

Five different drivers have piloted the No. 7 Chevrolet this year – Fellows, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick, Josh Wise and Kasey Kahne – and all five have scored top-10 finishes.

More NASCAR coverage

Posted on: October 15, 2010 2:55 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 2:58 pm

Patrick back for more NASCAR fun in 2011

Danica Patrick has been confirmed for the first four races of the 2011 Nationwide season in the No. 7 car for JR Motorsports.

While the rest of her season has not be determined, it's expected that it will look similar to her 13-race campaign from this season. Patrick has competed in eight races (through Oct. 15) with a best finish of 24th (Chicagoland). She has crashed out of three events and has yet to finish on the lead lap.

Patrick continued to race full-time in the IndyCar Series this past season, but had her fewest top fives (3) and top 10s (8) in the series since the 2006 season. Her average finish of 11.4 was her worst since her rookie campaign when she had an average of 12.5.

Press release follows:

Danica Patrick will drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in the first four NASCAR Nationwide Series events of 2011, JR Motorsports officials announced today at a press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  The races beyond that have not been determined, although Patrick will take on a schedule similar to that of her 13-race rookie campaign.
The first four races include the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 13) followed by the 200-mile race at Phoenix International Raceway (Feb. 26), the 300-mile race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, (March 5) and the 150-mile dash at Bristol Motor Speedway (March 19).  Patrick will then return to the IndyCar Series to dedicate full-time attention to open-wheel racing, making sporadic returns to NASCAR throughout the year.
Friday’s announcement also included the unveiling of the 2011 paint scheme for Patrick’s No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet (photos available upon request).  JR Motorsports co-owners Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury Jr., the team’s general manager and crew chief, respectively, joined Patrick for the unveiling and schedule announcement.
“I know we’re all anxious to get the whole schedule put in place, but I’m extremely excited to be able to confirm our participation in the first four races of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season, and also unveil another beautiful Go Daddy car,” Patrick said.  “Go Daddy has been extremely good to me in both series.  I know Bob Parsons is a huge fan of our racing program, and I thank him for all the support.  We’ll have four extremely challenging and unique races to start our 2011 season, and I’m anxious to return to a lot of those tracks with at least a little bit of familiarity.”
One track she will not be returning to is Bristol Motor Speedway, as it will mark her first appearance at the challenging half-mile speed bowl.  Patrick will join teammates Aric Almirola and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in competing in the Bristol race.
“Danica has shown immense dedication in her NASCAR endeavor,” Kelley Earnhardt said.  “She proved last week (at Auto Club Speedway) that even a little bit of experience goes a long way, as she drove an exceptional race.  Starting this weekend at Charlotte, she will compete in each of the final five races of 2010.  Add the first four Nationwide races of next season, and that’s a solid stretch of seat time she will get to continue learning the intricacies of these race cars.  She has done a commendable job so far given the limited seat time, and we appreciate her work ethic and dedication to Go Daddy and our race team.”
Patrick is currently in her first season in competitive stock car racing, as she has driven the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in eight of 13 scheduled races so far this year.  She just wrapped her 2010 IndyCar campaign, finishing 10th in the championship point standings.
“When Danica drives, she drives with a vengeance,” said Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons. “She’s as passionate a competitor as anyone in sports right now, and an undeniable inspiration for people who dream big!”

Posted on: August 18, 2010 11:39 am
Edited on: August 18, 2010 3:13 pm

JR Motorsports signs Almirola to multi-year deal

Aric Almirola , whose has struggled to find a permanent home during his short NASCAR career, has signed a multi-year contract to drive the No. 88 car for JR Motorsports starting in 2011.

Since 2005, Almirola has raced sporadically in NASCAR's top three series. He finally got a chance to show his wares this year, running full time for Billy Ballew in the Truck Series where he is second in points with two wins, five top fives and 11 top 10s through 15 races.

At one point, Almirola was a developmental driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, but the relationship soured shortly after a Nationwide race at Milwaukee in 2007. Almirola was filling in for Denny Hamlin, who had not arrived on time for the start of the race. He started from the pole and was running strong, but was pulled once Hamlin arrived at the track. Hamlin went on to win the race, though officially Almirola was credited with the victory.

Almirola thought he was moving to a good situation with a Cup ride at Dale Earnhardt Inc., but it turned out it was just about the time turmoil was creating dysfunction throughout the organization. Sponsorship never materialized and after parts of three seasons with DEI, he lost his ride. He eventually filed a breach of contract notice against Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and DEI, but later dropped his complaint.

JR Motorsports has been looking for the next great developmental driver since Brad Keselowski's departure following the 2009 season. They've had a quick hook thus far. After Kelly Bires failed to make his mark, he was yanked after just five races. Since then they've gone with a driver by committee, with veterans Jamie McMurray and Elliott Sadler getting a majority of the duty. Almirola has even filled in for one race this year, finishing third at O'Reilly Raceway Park last month.

-- Brian De Los Santos

Press release follows:

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 18, 2010) - JR Motorsports cemented an integral part of its future Wednesday by signing Aric Almirola to a multi-year driving contract for the company's flagship No. 88 NASCAR Nationwide Series team starting in 2011, general manager Kelley Earnhardt announced today.
A 26-year-old native of Tampa, Fla., Almirola has 32 career Nationwide Series starts, including one for JR Motorsports in which he finished third at O'Reilly Raceway Park in July.  Almirola's full-time duties as the No. 88 driver will officially begin in 2011, but he could potentially fill the seat in select races this season while he continues to run for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
"The chance to drive full time in the Nationwide Series with a top caliber team is something I am extremely excited about," Almirola said.  "I was at the shop yesterday, and Kelley gathered all the employees around to announce our deal.  The energy and excitement was addicting.  We raced at ORP together a month ago and had a really good run.  There is no reason why we cannot compete like that every race, and there is no reason why we shouldn't be running for a championship.  I would expect nothing less."
Almirola comes to JR Motorsports with proven credentials.  In 2006-07, he competed in the Nationwide Series with Joe Gibbs Racing, earning three poles and six top-10s.  He is credited with one victory - the June 23, 2007, race at Milwaukee Mile - in which he and Denny Hamlin shared seat time in the victorious No. 20 car.  That performance was part of a successful 2007 campaign, which opened doors to a lifelong dream of racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  Dale Earnhardt Inc. signed Almirola to a part-time driving deal in 2008 with the unique task of splitting seat time with one of NASCAR's all-time greats, Mark Martin.  Nineteen of Almirola's 30 Sprint Cup starts came with DEI (later to become Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing).  In his very first race of the 2008 season, Almirola scored a career-best Sprint Cup finish of eighth at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Almirola continued racing in sporadic Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races in 2009 and 2010, but the opportunity to compete full-time this year with Billy Ballew Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series was too good to pass up.  In 15 races so far this season, Almirola has two wins (Dover on May 14 and Michigan on June 12) and has finished in the top-10 in all but four events.  He currently sits second in the championship point standings.
"If there is a quintessential JR Motorsports driver, we feel it's Aric Almirola," Kelley Earnhardt said.  "The way he drives, the ambition he carries, the way he represents himself on and off the track, it all fits within our company's dynamics, our core objectives, and the values of our sponsorship partners.   We look forward to putting him in our No. 88 car so he can continue his success."
Almirola's one stint for JRM took place on July 24 at O'Reilly Raceway Park.  He started the Kroger 200 in sixth position, led one lap, ran among the top-five all night, and finished third in his debut in the No. 88 GT Vodka Chevrolet.  Almirola is one of 10 drivers who has or will have raced the No. 88 Chevrolet at least once in 2010.  Team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 88 Realtree Outdoors Chevrolet at Bristol this Friday night in the Food City 250.
"This has been a far different year than anything we have ever experienced before, but we feel like our decision to take our time and not be rushed into naming a full-schedule driver for the No. 88 paid off with the signing of Aric," Kelley Earnhardt said.  "He brings a lot to the table for us, as well as our sponsors.  He is someone they can build their brands around, and he has the talent to take them to the Winner's Circle."


Posted on: April 13, 2010 1:32 pm

Bires loses JR Motorsports Nationwide ride

After just one top 10 in five races in JR Motorsports No. 88 Nationwide Series car, Kelly Bires has been released. Jamie McMurray will fill in for at least nine events.

Press release follows:
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April  13, 2010) – JR Motorsports will undergo a driver change to its No. 88 NASCAR Nationwide Series team effective this weekend when the series races at Texas Motor Speedway, general manager and co-owner Kelley Earnhardt announced today.
The organization has released 25-year-old Kelly Bires from his contractual driving duties of the No. 88 Chevrolet.  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/McDonalds Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, has agreed to a deal that puts him in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevy for nine races.  Those races include the six upcoming Nationwide Series events – Texas (April 17), Talladega (April 24), Richmond (April 30), Darlington (May 7), Dover (May 15) and Charlotte (May 30) – plus Chicagoland (July 9), Atlanta (Sept. 4) and the return trip to Charlotte (Oct. 15).  Hellmann’s will be the primary sponsor in all but two of those races, and the Suave Men brand will be featured on the No. 88 at Chicagoland Speedway.
A native of Joplin, Mo., McMurray is the reigning Daytona 500 champion.  He is a seven-time winner in the Nationwide Series with 27 top-fives, 59 top-10s, and three pole awards.  No driver decisions for the No. 88 have been determined beyond McMurray’s nine races.
“We are extremely appreciative of Kelly Bires and wish him the best,” Kelley Earnhardt said.  “Internally, it was evident the chemistry that is imperative for us to succeed in this highly competitive industry was simply not there.  That is the fault of no one person.  We owe it to our fans and sponsors to make necessary adjustments in an effort to put our best product on the track, and we’ll continue evaluating our progress until we are confident that our full potential is being reached.”
Under the direction of crew chief Tony Eury Sr., the No. 88 team has finished third in the Nationwide Series point standings each of the past two seasons, accumulating six total victories.  In six races this season, the team has one top-10 finish (seventh at Auto Club Speedway).  Bires competed in six races for JRM dating back to last November at Homestead-Miami  Speedway.  He raced the No. 88 in five of the six Nationwide Series events this year, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
The alteration to the No. 88 team does not change plans for the No. 7 team, which presently is to run the full Nationwide Series schedule with multiple drivers.  Landon Cassill began a part-time stint last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, becoming the third driver this season to get behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolets prepared by crew chief and co-owner Tony Eury Jr.  He will race the car this weekend at Texas.  Danica Patrick has 10 of her scheduled 13 races remaining on the 2010 slate.  Scott Wimmer recently completed a two-race commitment and posted season-best finishes of 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway and seventh at Nashville Superspeedway.  Driving vacancies left on the No. 7 schedule are still to be determined.

Posted on: February 8, 2010 8:09 am

Patrick will make Nationwide debut at Daytona

Following a sixth-place finish in her ARCA stock-car debut Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, Danica Patrick has moved up her Nationwide Series debut and will race Feb. 13 in the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona.

Press release follows:
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 8, 2010) – Danica Patrick will make her NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet this Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, JR Motorsports general manager Kelley Earnhardt announced today.

Patrick, Earnhardt, and team officials convened Sunday following the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) event at
Daytona, in which Patrick raced to a sixth-place finish in her stock-car debut.  The decision for Patrick to compete in the Daytona Nationwide Series event is supported by sponsor GoDaddy.com and JRM co-owners Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Eury Jr., and Rick Hendrick.

“To be the one driving that Go Daddy car at Daytona means a lot to me,” Patrick said.  “Racing in the Nationwide Series race was my goal during this entire two-month preparation process, but we wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do.  The ARCA race was a blast, and I’m not ready for my first Daytona Speedweeks to end just yet.  I want more racing.”

Patrick’s entry in the Drive4COPD 300 puts her in a JR Motorsports tandem with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will drive the No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet.  Patrick will continue her Nationwide Series schedule on Feb. 20 at Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Calif.) and Feb. 27 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.  Patrick is guaranteed starting positions in all three races based off JRM’s acquisition of points from CJM Racing’s No. 11 team, which finished 15th in the 2009 Nationwide Series owners point standings.

“I think Danica proved to everyone that she can compete in stock cars at a high level, and right now seat time is extremely important,” Kelley Earnhardt said.  “She has worked extremely hard during the past two months for this opportunity.  Her dedication and work ethic is infectious.”

GoDaddy.com will be the primary sponsor for 11 of Patrick’s 13 Nationwide Series races in 2010.  The world’s largest domain name registrar also served as primary sponsor for Patrick’s ARCA debut last week.  She started 12th in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 and finished sixth, including a late rally from 23rd position all the way to the front pack in just under 20 laps.

“Danica’s got what it takes, and it’s obvious from the ARCA race NASCAR is right up her alley,” said Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons.  “She’s ready to drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevy in Daytona and is sure to give the fans an exciting show just like she did in the ARCA race.”

Posted on: January 28, 2010 3:12 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2010 3:21 pm

Patrick set to run at least 12 Nationwide races

From JR Motorsports press release:

Danica Patrick will compete in 12 NASCAR Nationwide Series races with the possibility of 13 in her debut season with JR Motorsports, co-owner and general manager Kelley Earnhardt announced today.
The only event uncertain on Patrick’s schedule is the Feb. 13 season opener at Daytona International Speedway.  The No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet is entered in the event, but its driver will not be determined until after Patrick’s race in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) event on Feb. 6.  Patrick will compete in the Daytona ARCA race in a JR Motorsports-prepared No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet.
Beyond Daytona, Patrick’s 2010 campaign is confirmed starting with the Feb. 20 race at Auto Club Speedway and the Feb. 27 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Following Vegas, Patrick will take a four-month hiatus to focus on her IndyCar Series responsibilities before returning to drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevy in the Nationwide Series June 26 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The remainder of her schedule includes Nationwide races at Chicagoland Speedway (July 9), Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 14), Dover International Speedway (Sept. 25), Auto Club Speedway (Oct. 9), Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 15), Gateway International Raceway (Oct. 23), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 6), Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13), and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 20).
“I’m thrilled to announce our 2010 Nationwide Series schedule,” said Patrick. “Like I’ve said before, we just want to be smart and calculative about this process.  The tracks we’ve selected not only compliment the IndyCar schedule, but will give me quality seat time at a variety of facilities.”
While Patrick’s participation in the Daytona race is to be determined, JR Motorsports will still field two cars for the Nationwide Series season opener.  Due to sponsorship reallocation for the upcoming season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet in place of Kelly Bires in what is the first of two scheduled races for the JRM co-owner.  Bires will return to the seat of the No. 88 Chevy the following week at Auto Club Speedway and could be called upon to drive the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet at Daytona should Patrick not compete in that event.
“We want to give Danica the best opportunity to compete at Daytona, and that includes making sure she is 100 percent comfortable in that driver’s seat,” Kelley Earnhardt said.  “The Nationwide race there is perhaps the most competitive race of the year.  Once the ARCA race is complete, we will get with Danica and make a decision based on the best interests of her, the team, and our sponsor Go Daddy.  I’m extremely pleased with the working relationship between Danica and (crew chief) Tony Eury Jr.  They are communicating well and working extremely hard in preparing for this season.”
GoDaddy.com will serve as primary sponsor for 10 of Patrick’s 12 races in the No. 7 Chevrolet in 2010.
Danica Patrick’s 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Schedule
Date    Venue
2/13    Daytona International Speedway (TBD)
2/20    Auto Club Speedway
2/27    Las Vegas Motor Speedway
6/26    New Hampshire Motor Speedway
7/9    Chicagoland Speedway
8/14    Michigan International Speedway
9/25     Dover International Speedway
10/9    Auto Club Speedway
10/15    Charlotte Motor Speedway
10/23    Gateway International Raceway
11/6    Texas Motor Speedway
11/13    Phoenix International Speedway
11/20    Homestead-Miami Speedway

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com