The 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season is about to commence, and two-time defending series champion JR Motorsports will reset, reshuffle and hope to repeat its title-winning formula for the third straight year.
Just 40 days remain before the engines are fired in anger once more, at the iconic Daytona International Speedway, and JR Motorsports will unveil a new-look squad with the intention of earning that third straight NXS championship and fourth in the past six seasons.
Justin Allgaier, the 32-year-old Illinois driver, will lead a somewhat younger team this season, fresh off a five-victory campaign in 2018. The five wins were the most for a JRM driver in a single season, and doubled Allgaier’s career output, giving him 10 series triumphs and seven in the past two seasons. Longtime sponsor BRANDT Professional Agriculture returns with Allgaier for the fourth straight season with JRM. Jason Burdett is back as crew chief, as he has been on the No. 7 Chevrolet since 2015.
Michael Annett, back for a third season with JRM, melded with crew chief Travis Mack over the final 14 races of 2018 and is set on a return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs in 2019. As has been the case for the past two seasons, Annett has primary sponsor Pilot Flying J in his corner, along with TMC Transportation and Allstate Parts and Service.
In the absence of JRM mainstay Elliott Sadler, who retired from full-time competition at the end of 2018, young star Noah Gragson will take over the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro SS. He will also have two-time defending champion crew chief Dave Elenz atop the pit box for his debut season in the series. Elenz is also the all-time leading winner among crew chiefs at JRM after book-ending the season with triumphs at Daytona in February and Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
“As a driver, I have an amazing opportunity in 2019 to run for an Xfinity Series championship, running with the team coming off championships the past two seasons,” Gragson said. “It’s a great group and great organization over here at JRM and I’m the lucky guy that gets to drive the race car. Hopefully, we can get to Victory Lane before the end of the year.”
The No. 9 team will hearken back to JRM’s team history, with several drivers combining to run the schedule. Led by Zane Smith, the rest of the driver lineup will be announced at a later date. Crew chief Taylor Moyer will lead the effort, working with a bevy of young drivers ascending to the penultimate rung of NASCAR’s national-series ladder.
The 31-year-old Moyer, who follows Burdett, Elenz and Mack from the Hendrick Motorsports shops, is in his first season as a crew chief in the series after working with HMS drivers Kasey Kahne and William Byron the past four seasons as a race engineer.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!