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It’s a great time to be Dale Earnhardt Jr. On top of recently authoring a new children’s book and announcing plans to expand his personal media empire, NASCAR’s 15-time most popular driver-turned NASCAR on NBC race announcer is enjoying a season for the ages in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

No, Earnhardt Jr. isn’t competing as a driver in the division where he won back-to-back championships and a total of 13 races in 1998 and 1999. He is, however, kicking tail and taking names as the co-owner of JR Motorsports — the Mooresville, North Carolina-based organization he founded in 2002 and brought up from the Late Model ranks to NASCAR’s No. 2 division in 2006 (JRM still fields Late Models, too).

While this is hardly JRM’s first taste of major success in the Xfinity Series — where the company has won three championships in the past decade — 2022 has easily been the organization’s most successful season to date. So successful, in fact, that no matter what happens in this weekend’s Xfinity Series Round of 8 elimination race at Martinsville Speedway, JRM drivers are guaranteed to make up at least half of the Championship 4 the following weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

JR Motorsports has been downright dominant in 2022

A perennial contender for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship, JR Motorsports actually hasn’t won a title in NASCAR’s No. 2 division since 2018 with Tyler Reddick.

But 2022 has seemed to be JR Motorsports’ year almost from the get-go. Since JRM driver Noah Gragson went to Victory Lane in the season’s fourth race, the company has amassed a total of 14 victories between Gragson, Justin Allgaier and Josh Berry. JRM’s other driver, 19-year-old Sam Mayer, is winless but qualified for the playoffs and the Round of 8 and remains in the championship hunt with two races to go.

Eight of JRM’s wins are courtesy of Gragson, while Allgaier and Berry have three apiece. Gragson and Allgaier also lead the series in stage wins, with 16 and eight, respectively. And among non-JRM drivers, only Ty Gibbs — with seven stage wins — has more than Berry’s six. Gibbs, with five race victories, is also the only driver who’s been fast enough to consistently challenge the JRM drivers.

“The cars have just been fast all year,” Earnhardt Jr. said during a recorded media availability after Gragson won last month at Texas Motor Speedway. “I don’t know if I’d say we’re really peaking, but one thing that’s unique about it, I think, is that we’ve been able to hold this edge. Usually, teams — even like ours — get really strong, but it’s very short-lived, and there’s a lot of ebb and flow.

“I’ve just been sitting here enjoying it — while it lasts. You don’t know whether that performance gain or advantage you have goes away tomorrow or it’s going to go away after the year, but obviously, we feel pretty happy about everything. But you don’t go into the next weekend assuming that advantage is going to be there.”

JRM has a chance to get all four drivers in the Championship 4

With only Saturday’s elimination race remaining in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Round of 8, Noah Gragson and Josh Berry have already punched tickets to the Championship 4.

Berry did so by opening the Round of 8 with a victory at Las Vegas, and Gragson followed suit this past weekend by triumphing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Two spots remain up for grabs in the Championship 4, and it’s possible — albeit unlikely — that they, too, will go to JR Motorsports drivers. Heading to Martinsville, Justin Allgaier is just five points back of the cutline for advancing. Sam Mayer is unlikely to reach the Championship 4 based on points but could still get in with a win this weekend at Martinsville.

So if Mayer goes to Victory Lane and Allgaier runs well enough to make up his points deficit to third-place Ty Gibbs or fourth-place AJ Allmendinger, all four drivers competing for the championship at Phoenix could be from the JR Motorsports stable. But even if the only JRM drivers in the title hunt at Phoenix are Gragson and Berry, Earnhardt Jr. will still have a 50-50 chance of leaving the Arizona desert as the championship-winning team owner.


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While it’s possible JR Motorsports could ultimately come up empty-handed in its pursuit of a fourth Xfinity Series championship, 2022 will go down as a season like no other for JRM, no matter what.

“The speed is in the cars, and now it’s up to each driver on the track to go out there and make the right decisions, make smart decisions, and understand how to race and how to points race and how to race for wins, when necessary, and make all those decisions,” Earnhardt Jr. said at Texas. “Really, the teams are putting them in position to succeed with the cars, and it comes down to just making the right choices on the track to make it happen.”

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