Dale Earnhardt Jr.: JR Motorsports poised for championship run

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 05: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 05:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
FORT WORTH, TX – APRIL 05: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

FORT WORTH, Tex. — For Dale Earnhardt Jr. the driver, the number one item on his bucket list is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

For Dale Earnhardt Jr. the car owner, a NASCAR Nationwide Series title would be a perfect cap to the 2014 season — and Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports is making a concerted run at that goal.

With talented drivers Chase Elliott and Regan Smith in the fold, with the experience of Smith losing a large points lead in a midsummer swoon last year, and with strong support from Sprint Cup juggernaut Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt thinks JRM may have achieved the critical mass necessary to win a championship.

“We want to win a championship so bad this year,” Earnhardt said Friday night, after Elliott picked up his inaugural NNS win in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. “We feel like we learned a lot last year going through that process with Regan, and now we have two teams that are really capable of getting the job done.

“If everybody keeps their head on straight, let’s everybody else ?? all the (other) drivers in the series — make all their mistakes, we should be in a good situation when we get to Homestead.”

Earnhardt has a history of offering quality opportunities to as-yet-undiscovered drivers such as 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski. Now JR Motorsports is on the verge of realizing the dream Earnhardt envisioned when he, sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller and co-owner Rick Hendrick founded the company.

“I couldn’t be prouder, really, of how we’ve come along in the last two or three years, the people that we have been able to acquire to help and improve our company, the bridge that we built with HMS to flow information on the engineering side, motors, and how they’ve improved,” Earnhardt said.

“Everything is clicking along right now so we got a great opportunity this year to seize the moment.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.