Leaving New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend, I have just one question: Where is JR Motorsports?
In the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Justin Allgaier may have won stage one, but he wound up being the only JRM car to bring home a top-10 finish in sixth.
It’s a weekend emblematic of JRM’s 2023 season. Currently, Allgaier is the only JRM Chevy to be locked into the playoffs with a win. Berry is a favorite to point his way in, sitting sixth in the standings with a 105-point cushion — but the lack of a win remains surprising.
And as for the other two? Mayer is looking to stay above the playoff cut line; he currently sits ninth, 63 to the good as the series enters the last leg of the regular season. Jones, meanwhile, will be one of the drivers trying to sneak into the playoffs as he sits in 15th, 60 from the cut line.
At this time last year, JRM was heading to Pocono with seven wins, on its way to get its eighth. In comparison, this year it visits Pocono with a single win from Allgaier, coming at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The most alarming thing for JRM right now is that of its four current drivers, all but Mayer had secured their spot in the playoffs last season with at least one win before the month of July, (Jones doing so with his old team, Joe Gibbs Racing). The series is now halfway through July and still waiting for both Berry and Jones to get their first victories of the season with only five races to go.
Allgaier is currently third in points and has been one of the more consistent drivers in the series this year, let alone in the JRM lineup.
But his 11th-place result was Jones’ first top 15 since Charlotte all the way back in May. He’s had an average finish of 19th driving the No. 9 in which Noah Gragson rattled off eight wins in last season.
Berry, on the other hand, looked to have a good finish at New Hampshire after starting third, but instead went home with his third straight finish outside of the top 15.
Despite Mayer’s 18th-place finish, he hasn’t had too rough a year outside of no win, putting up four top fives and 10 top 10s.
Still, JRM has largely seemed behind the eight ball when it comes to being the dominant team it often is in the Xfinity Series.
It’s not the lack of performance or ability out of these JRM machines, though — sometimes it’s a lack of finishing the entire race in one piece. Allgaier has three DNFs in 2023 due to wrecks, same as Mayer. Jones has two himself and Berry one. And that’s not even counting races where the team started strong only to falter down the stretch, such as with Berry at New Hampshire.
Overall, Allgaier, Berry, and Mayer are all on par with where they were last season with exception of Berry being shy a few wins.
The only real change up has been in the seat of the No. 9. Jones’ average finish last year was 13th with an average start of ninth. Currently, Jones’ has an average finish of 19th and an average start of 16th. Gragson had an average finish of eighth with an average starting position of sixth in the car in 2022.
New Hampshire was a chance for the team to get back on track and repeat a win that Allgaier brought home last year. Luckily, the chance still stands going into Pocono this week, as Gragson took care of business at the track last year in the No. 9.
Did JRM review some notes and get time in the sim in order to put a JRM Chevy back into victory lane this week for the first time since May? We’ll see. If not, it’ll be the continuation of an underwhelming season for the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned organization.
About the author
Motorsports and all sports fanatic. Currently a Kentuckian by way of Lincolnton, NC.
In my free time I have the privilege of writing for Frontstretch, crushing others' dreams in Catan, serving at our local church, and traveling with my wife.
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