2018 Memorable Moments Countdown No. 3: Journey to 1,000 Starts

Ron Lemasters | 12/19/2018

2018 JRM1000 Memorable Moments News XFINITY Series

Our third most memorable moment from 2018 was over a decade in the making, as we celebrated our 1,000th team start at Iowa in July.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 19, 2018) – 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.

That jump into the national series of NASCAR turned into the splash heard ‘round the sport. Mark McFarland was the driver, and the blue and gold U.S. Navy “Accelerate Your Life” colors were on the Chevrolet on Nov. 19, 2005, marking the first sortie into big-time racing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelley Earnhardt Miller as car owners. McFarland finished 20th that day, setting in motion a journey that would net the company three NXS titles (2014, 2017 and 2018), 44 victories and a virtual lock on the series’ Most Popular Driver award.

The first victory did not take place until Mark Martin won at Las Vegas in the third race of the 2008 season. Brad Keselowski won at Nashville and Bristol later that season, and Ron Fellows won at Montreal. Keselowski won four more times in 2009, and Jamie McMurray won at Atlanta in 2010. Danica Patrick joined the team in 2010, and made the team’s 250th start, helping boost JRM’s footprint in the NASCAR world, but unfortunately, the team didn’t win again until the final race of the 2012 season, when Regan Smith triumphed at Homestead.

That seemed to be the turning point for the team. Since that victory, JRM has won three championships and 35 races. Start No. 500, the halfway point of the Road to 1,000, came at Bristol in 2014, with Kevin Harvick third, Chase Elliott finishing ninth and Smith 10th. Elliott would go on to win the company’s first title that season, with Smith second in the final tally.

When start No. 750 occurred, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2016, JRM had won 29 races as a company, plus the title. The final 250 starts—the final 12 races of 2016 to the second race at Iowa Speedway in 2018—would bring another championship for William Byron in 2017 and pave the way to a third for Tyler Reddick.

Justin Allgaier, who ended 2018 with a career- and team-best five victories plus the regular-season championship prior to the Playoffs, made JRM’s official 1,000th start at Iowa on July 28, 2018, and he finished second to Christopher Bell.

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 (Elliott Sadler won the pole and finished sixth that day). 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.

Articles

image

XFINITY Series Schedule

  • February 16 02:30 PM ET
    Daytona 300Daytona International Speedway
  • February 23 02:00 PM ET
    Rinnai 250Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • March 2 04:00 PM ET
    Boyd Gaming 300Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • March 9 04:00 PM ET
    Xfinity Series 200 at PhoenixISM Raceway
  • March 16 05:00 PM ET
    Xfinity Series 300 at FontanaAuto Club Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Ford EcoBoost 300*

Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/17/2018
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick (P)40400
2Cole Custer (P)4035-5
3Daniel Hemric (P)4033-7
4Christopher Bell # (P)4026-14
5Elliott Sadler2255-1785
6Matt Tifft2254-1786
7Justin Allgaier2251-1789
14Michael Annett632-3408