LEBANON, TENNESSEE – JUNE 25: #8 Tire Pros Chevrolet driver Josh Berry drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 25, 2022 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Justin Allgaier’s victory – in dominant fashion – on Saturday at the Nashville Superspeedway was a record for JR Motorsports.
Not only did the team win 40% of the races in 2022, but they took their sixth win of the season and their fifth in seven races. The victory also came one event earlier than the previous record start of the 2014 season.
During this record and defining season for the organization, the JRM riders won six of the first 16 races. Regan Smith started winning at Daytona in the season opener, and Chase Elliott won at Texas and Darlington in April (the sixth and seventh races of the year).
Kevin Harvick, participating on a part-time schedule for JRM, triumphed in Richmond to make it three in a row and four overall. Harvick would go on to win at Kentucky in June, while Kasey Kahne took the win at Daytona in July to give the team six wins from 16 races.
The 2022 team did better overall, with Noah Gragson winning at Phoenix in March (the fourth race of the year) before starting another three-game streak at Talladega in April. Josh Berry won at Dover and Justin Allgaier took first place at Darlington to tie the 2014 team for most consecutive wins as an organization.
With four wins in hand, the 2022 group scored again in Charlotte in May with Berry, after a titanic struggle with Allgaier.
Allgaier victory in Nashville in 15e The race of the season gives the 2022 edition of JRM the nod in terms of the most successful season debuts. The calculation indicates that the 2022 team averages one win every 2.5 races, while the 2014 roster has won every 2.67 races.
The 2014 and 2022 teams as a whole had over 35 top 10s each to start the year, with 2014 scoring 37 and 2022 recording 39 over the period, but the 2022 group posted an astonishing 31 top-five results, compared to only 22 for the 2014 team. There is a slight difference in the number of starts, to be fair.
Mike Bumgarner, crew chief for Berry and the No. 8 team, was part of the 2014 season as crew chief, and he said the two groups were very similar.
“The driver lineup is a big part of that,” he said. “You have four guys pushing each other to the limit. It was the same in 2014; the four cars clash a lot. This year you see the 1 or the 7 or the 8 or the 9, always one of our guys. In 2014, it was 5, 7, 9 and 88, same thing. They were vying for race wins. We fed off of that and it made each of the teams better every week.
The torrid start also sees the 2022 squad with a head start to match or surpass the 2014 version’s record nine wins for a season.
Elliott won in Chicago in 2014 for the seventh triumph, and Harvick won the checkered in Atlanta and Chicago to bring the total to nine. Elliott clinched the series title – JRM’s first of three – with one race to go.
Gragson, Berry and Allgaier each have two wins this season, and Sam Mayer has challenged for his own first NXS triumph almost every week. The now 19-year-old Wisconsin driver, who travels to his home state this weekend at Road America, has eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 15 starts. Only one driver has more top fives this season than Mayer, and that’s teammate Gragson in No. 9. Gragson (nine top fives and 10 top 10s) and Allgaier (seven top fives and 10 top 10s) are just slightly ahead of the young driver overall. Berry has two wins, six top fives and eight top 10s in 15 starts.
The similarities between the seasons also extend to the store, Bumgarner said.
“The morale inside the workshop is very similar to what it was in 2014, for all cars,” he said. “It’s not so much the wins; these are the first five. We try to encourage each other, everyone wants every team to be in the top five. You’ve got four cars here that have seven or eight top five finishes each, so we’re looking at even better numbers than 2014. The performance side, seeing all four cars running like they are, motivates everyone even more. .”
With six wins in less than halfway through the season, the 2022 team has already matched the title-winning JRM 2017 contingent in this regard, and the JRM 2018 team has won seven wins in total.
With a two-week break between Portland and Nashville, the current year teams were able to reset and replenish for the 12-race-in-13-week streak leading up to the start of the NXS Playoffs. This was beneficial, according to Bumgarner.
“It’s good for everyone,” he said. “Anytime you can take some time off and catch up on parts, get ready for summer…it’s good for the business. We have several races coming up on road courses and fast courses, and they are always unique races. If you get a little extra time to prep these cars, that’s always a bonus.
— JR Motorsport —