It is no secret that NASCAR and its fans would really love to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. own a Cup car. It would be very beneficial for both the sport and the fans.
We haven't quite gotten to the point where it is just going to happen overnight, but the interest by both Earnhardt and his sister Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, who both own JR Motorsports, is definitely there.
The biggest hurdle they face is the cost to buy a charter in the Cup Series. The charter system was introduced in 2016, and it was made for 36 teams to have a guaranteed spot in the Cup Series field. Over the seasons, charters have changed hands with organizations as if they were candy.
Yet nowadays, the cost is so great that it is almost easier to run as an open team, as most Cup races only have a field of 36-37 cars anyway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Talks JR Motorsports, Cup Series
In 2022, Earnhardt made his intentions clear that he wants JR Motorsports to join the Cup Series. And he made an appearance Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to address where his team stands in possibly venturing into the Cup Series.
? "We're interested in that, but it has to make sense." - @DaleJr
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) July 12, 2023
"There is zero movement on our end. You know, me and my sister Kelley, LW and everybody at JR Motorsports are always looking forward for an opportunity to get into the Cup Series," Earnhardt said. "We're interested in that, but it has to make sense. I think beyond just trying to get into the Cup Series, I think about my own family, my kids, their future, and what I need to do, and what is smart for me personally, financially, to make sure that long after I'm gone, everything is in good order."
Earnhardt thinks it would be wiser to work out some kind of partnership, and he went on to explain why.
"I would be looking, me and Kelley I think would be more interested in a partnership of some kind to get ourselves to that level," Earnhardt said. "There's opportunities there, but they haven't felt just right. Another key component for me and JR Motorsports is that we want to manage the team. We don't want to slap our name on a current product or a current organization that has their own shop and all that, we don't want to do that. We want to run the team out of our building and manage the decisions on personnel and all of those things. Checking all of those boxes is hard. All of the opportunities that have come our way haven't checked those boxes. I don't think we are willing to compromise just to be there. That's not a reason to do it."
This might not be quite what fans were hoping for, but there is still plenty of time in the future for the team to find its way into the series.
Just look at some of the other newer teams in the Cup Series and who owns them. Big examples include Trackhouse Racing, owned by Justin Marks and Pitbull; and 23XI, owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin. Look at what Jimmie Johnson did this season, buying into Petty GMS and rebranding it as Legacy Motor Club.
Will JR Motorsports have to buy into someone like Spire Motorsports and rebrand it? That might be the only viable option if the costs of charters don't go down.
Time will tell. One's thing is for sure, fans: Earnhardt wants a Cup team.
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.