Learn more about the Director of Competition for JR Motorsports

Ryan Pemberton
Director of Competition

Ryan Pemberton has served as the director of competition for JR Motorsports (JRM) since 2012.  In this role, Pemberton oversees car research and development, managing competition and personnel for JRM’s four NASCAR Xfinity Series teams.  Under his guidance the team has flourished, winning three NXS championships (2014, 2017 and 2018) and 35 races, bringing the organization’s victory total from nine in 2012 to 44 at the end of the 2018 season.

A large part of Pemberton’s duties consists of coordinating the four crew chiefs for JRM, which include Mike Bumgarner, Jason Burdett, Dave Elenz and Taylor Moyer. He also works closely with JRM shop foreman Donnie Tarantino and fabrication shop manager Mike Clark.

For the 2014 season, Pemberton took on the additional responsibility of crew chief for JRM’s No. 7 team.  Through his veteran leadership, Pemberton led Regan Smith to a season-opening win at Daytona International Speedway en route to a runner-up finish in the championship point standings.  By season’s end, the Pemberton-Smith combo trailed only JRM teammate and champion Chase Elliott.

It’s safe to say Pemberton’s passion for motorsports is a family affair. He is one of four siblings that built careers in the sport they love, most notably his older brother Robin, who previously served as Vice President for Competition at NASCAR.

Even from an early age, Pemberton showed an interest in motorsports, growing up a stone’s throw away from Albany-Saratoga Speedway in New York. But it wasn’t until the mid-1980s when a young Pemberton made the journey south.

His first gig in the NASCAR big leagues came at Roush Fenway Racing in 1988.  Initially, Pemberton helped out where he could while watching and learning from the experienced crews. He advanced rapidly and in no time was part of Mark Martin’s first victory at Rockingham in 1989.

Pemberton’s skills eventually led him to the position of crew chief for Larry Pearson in 1995.  At only 25 years old, he became one of the youngest crew chiefs in the Xfinity Series.

He ultimately made the move to the Cup Series, and continued to impress in the crew chief role for several successful drivers, including Mark Martin, Jerry Nadeau, Joe Nemechek, David Reutimann and Brian Vickers. Along the way Pemberton acquired the knowledge and expertise that fuels his current role with JRM.

XFINITY Series Schedule

  • October 1 04:00 PM ET
    Sparks 300Talladega Superspeedway
  • October 8 03:00 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 15 03:00 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 302Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • October 22 04:30 PM ET
    Contender Boats 250Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • October 29 03:00 PM ET
    Dead On Tools 250Martinsville Speedway