When Petty GMS Motorsports announced that Noah Gragson would join the Cup Series team in 2023, there were immediate questions about the future of the #9 Chevrolet Camaro. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has now provided an update.
Earnhardt said after celebrating Kyle Larson’s win at Watkins Glen International: Copy courtesy of NASCAR’s Zach Sterniolo. “I can’t wait to be able to announce anything, but from what I’m hearing, we have some exciting possibilities and software that will likely be in the 9 car next year.”
There have been many discussions about entry and potential drivers who could replace Gragson in the Chevrolet Camaro. One option is Camping World Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar, who is currently chasing his first win. Although this driver is only one of the possibilities, and there have been no specific reports about his progress.
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Team No. 9 has another important focus
Securing a driver for the #9 Chevrolet Camaro is an important goal for JR Motorsports, but the team currently has an equally important focus. Three of the four drivers secured qualifying spots by virtue of wins while the fourth – Sam Mayer – was well above the cut-off line with 609 points.
Once qualifying begins, JR Motorsports drivers will make up a third of the 12-driver field. That would make them favorites, especially given that Josh Perry, Justin Algare and Gregson have combined for eight wins during the 2022 season.
Getting at least one driver for the fourth championship is a goal for JR Motorsports, but the team would prefer the four to compete for the Xfinity Series title. They’ll have six weeks to make it happen, starting with the opening round of Round 12 at Texas Motor Speedway on September 24.
Gregson was the latest driver to reach the fourth championship. He beat his ticket to the final race by winning the elimination race at Martinsville Speedway. Gragson’s goal was to win at Phoenix Raceway, but he and fellow competitor AJ Allmendinger dealt with their fair share of struggles before finishing outside the top ten.
JR Motorsports has already taken care of another decade
There are 11 races left in the 2022 Xfinity Series, which JR Motorsports will use to pursue another championship. The team will also seek to solidify its driver line-up for the 2023 season.
JR Motorsports took one step toward that goal in early August. The team has extended the contract of Mayer, who is currently vying for a place in the playoffs after making his debut in 2021 on a part-time schedule.
Mayer will return to #1 on another tour in 2023, and will continue to pursue his career. Depending on how the rest of the 2022 season plays out, one of those goals could still be to reach Victory Lane for the first time as an Xfinity Series driver.
With Mayer closed for another season, JR Motorsports will continue to focus on the rest of the squad. The team will have to provide updates on Allgaier, Berry and the driver who will eventually replace Gragson in ninth place.
read the following: Justin Marks details the future NASCAR Cup Series for Project 91
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