JR Motorsports ran a successful 2016 campaign. With drivers Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier making the Championship 4 at Homestead, JR Motorsports left 2016 with some room for improvement. The team started 2016 off with Chase Elliott winning the season opener at Daytona. Sadler was the winningest driver taking home wins at Talladega, Darlington, and Kentucky. He would finish second in points. Dale Earnhardt Jr. picked up a win at Richmond, Justin Allgaier was robbed of a win at Daytona. Allgaier was still consistent enough to come home third in the standings. After these successes in 2016, JR Motorsports expands to four full-time teams.
With the 2017 roster announced a few things will stay the same. Elliott Sadler will stay in the #1 Chevy with funding from One Main Financial as well as Armour Sausages. The #7 car will stay with Allgaier whose long time sponsor Brandt will provide funding. Earnhardt, Kasey Kahne, and others will split the #88 car as sponsors change with the driver. That means there will be two new additions to the 2017 JR Motorsports Xfinity camp, here they are.
JR Motorsports Expands to Four Full-time Teams with Two New Drivers
Michael Annett is no stranger to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, making his debut back in 2008 for Germain Racing. After 163 Xfinity races Annett got his big break in NASCAR’s Cup Series with Tommy Baldwin Racing. He would make the transition to HScott Motorsports in 2015. In the Cup Series, Annett would record his best finish of 13th in the 2015 Daytona 500. In Xfinity, however, Annett was much more successful. He would score 34 top tens and a best finish of third at the Fall Dover and Summer Daytona races in 2012.
Annett also holds two ARCA wins to his credit, with those coming in 2007 and 2008. As JR Motorsports expands, the addition will be Annett’s fourth different Xfinity team. Annett has made past starts for Germain Racing, Rusty Wallace Racing, and Richard Petty Motorsports. The former hockey player from Iowa will be piloting the #5 Chevy Camaro backed by longtime sponsor Pilot/Flying J.
William Byron made his NASCAR debut in iRacing. He won over 100 races online and made the transition to offline racing when he was 15. He signed with JR Motorsports late model program at Hickory Speedway, where he would score a win and finish second in points. Byron made his K&N East debut with HScott Motorsports driving the #9 Chevy. He would score four wins in 2015 and go on to win the Championship. The young phenom made his ARCA debut at Indianapolis Raceway Park where he would go on to finish second in a Toyota prepared by Billy Venturini. He would put up a matching second at Daytona in 2016.
Byron was arguably robbed of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title in 2016. Scoring his first win a Kansas Speedway, Byron went on to collect six wins in total that season. He would lose the title due to an engine failure at Phoenix. Byron announced he would be leaving KBM and Toyota Racing Development to sign a development deal with Hendrick Motorsports. He will once again have backing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Byron’s Xfinity Series debut will come at Daytona International Speedway where he will pilot the #9 Liberty University Chevy Camaro.
Other Potential Drivers of the #88
While only two drivers have been confirmed, the #88 has always been piloted by a smorgasbord of drivers. There is a possibility of more racers coming throughout the season. This list could possibly include Kenny Habul. The Australian ran a few races with the team in 2016. He is a road course ringer, but he brings a valuable asset: his sponsor SunEnergy1. Josh Berry, a former late model champion, marks another possibility as JR Motorsports expands. Berry usually drives under sponsorship from SpeedCo. After stunning Rick Hendrick in his Cup runs, it seems very plausible that Alex Bowman will run a few races with the team. Bowman has been in an out of the Series as of late but with sponsors like Advance Auto Parts and Unilever funding could be there to support Bowman.
2017 appears to be full of life for JR Motorsports. With four talented full time racers and a hunger for wins look for the #1, #7, #9 and #5 cars to be up front and winning races in 2017. Coming in as the dominate Chevy team, JR Motorsports looks to use that power to deliver Dale Earnhardt Jr his second championship since 2014.