With Racing on Hold, JRM Set to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Ron Lemasters | 3/17/2020

2020 News XFINITY Series

What are we doing while racing is on hold? We go behind the scenes at JRM to find out how we're already preparing for when racing resumes in May.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 17, 2020) – JR Motorsports is built to race 33 times per year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Four cars, four teams and four transporters hit the road for each of those races, and there’s a lot that goes into getting everyone and everything to the track on time.

So what happens when that schedule is interrupted? The postponement of last week’s Atlanta race and yesterday’s announcement that NASCAR won’t be back in action until May has interrupted that well-grooved endeavor, and it’s up to shop foreman Donnie Tarantino and race operations manager Mike Bumgarner to make it all work. Of course, Director of Competition Ryan Pemberton will oversee the process.

So what does it mean to the finely tuned schedule structure when two events are postponed? There has been no word yet on the rescheduling of the events, and there has been no official decision as to when the season might pick back up.

“It is volatile right now, and the goalposts are moving,” said Pemberton. “We don’t know exactly what the layout is going to be the rest of the season, how we’re going to get the rest of the races in. There are only so many off-weekends to put these races into. There’s just a lot of uncertainty. Whatever it turns out to be, it’s going to be a very tight schedule.”

Off-weekends, Pemberton said, are the times when teams fix what was broken in previous events, make plans for the next portion of the schedule and make plans out several weeks. “As the season goes, the off-weekends are kind of the buffer that we have, the equivalent of a bye weekend for a football team. It’s where you can get healthy by taking care of your race cars, replenishing and getting caught back up with our cars and our people.”

With the postponements and the uncertainty of when the season will pick back up, there’s some work being done to those ends.

“Right now, we are focused on a very limited schedule of getting some of the priority items done, things that take a little bit of time to do,” Pemberton said. “There are certain things that we can do in a day, and there are some things that take a couple of weeks. We are focusing on some of the things that take a little more lead time, trying to do it quietly and smartly and efficiently with the least number of people in the shop. We’re trying to get some of that stuff rolling so that it will only take a day or two to get to the track.“

There has been speculation that some creative schedule reshuffling will take place in order to accommodate the many teams, partners and fans—stakeholders in the sport—going forward. That’s a big part of the work going on around the series.

“We’re going to miss some races, and there is speculation that we’ll be doubling up races or running two a week or mid-week shows...we have to be ready for that if it comes to pass and that is what we are focused on right now,” Pemberton said.

At the end of the day, nothing is certain going forward. The brain trust at JRM is in constant communication to make sure as many options remain open for the future.

“Everyone here has their priorities, and we communicate, realizing what things we’re going to be up against and what things will keep us from going forward,” Pemberton said. “It’s constantly moving right now, until we get a little more information on what exactly we’re doing. Every day you wake up and it’s a little bit different, priorities are a little different, not just with us but with everybody and everything.

“The target is moving a little bit, and we keep that in mind. We want to make sure, through lots of thought and communication, we can react to whatever is decided. We’re all competitors, we all want to make the best cars and best opportunities to go win races.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • August 15 03:00 PM ET
    UNOH 188 Daytona Road Course
  • August 22 04:00 PM ET
    Drydene 200Dover International Speedway
  • August 23 12:30 PM ET
    Drydene 200Dover International Speedway
  • August 28 07:30 PM ET
    Wawa 250Daytona International Speedway
  • September 5 04:00 PM ET
    Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200Darlington Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Henry 180

Road America | 8/8/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric7710
2Chase Briscoe760-11
3Ross Chastain708-63
4Noah Gragson697-74
5Justin Haley636-135
6Harrison Burton #608-163
7Justin Allgaier598-173
8Michael Annett543-228