Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his commitment to late model racing

Head to Hickory Motor Speedway (HMS) on any given Saturday and you will find two familiarly numbered late model cars parked outside their respective transporters. The No. 88 Speedco Chevrolet driven by Josh Berry and William Byron's No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet are owned by JR Motorsports.

"I have it because I wish I could run late models myself," said Dale Earnhardt, Jr., owner, Jr. Motorsports. "I think just to be able to live kind of vicariously through them is a lot of fun for me."

JR ON CLIMBING THE RANKS

The JR Motorsports' late model cars are well known amongst the fans and competitors at HMS, as both cars are regular contenders for the win, week in and week out.

"I know how competitive that series is," said Earnhardt. "I struggled at times to find how to be competitive in that series and I think that drives me today to continue to compete in it."

JR ON THE CARS SUCCESS

Berry won the organization's first championship in 2012 at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.

"To have fought so hard and put so much into the series for so long as a driver and as an owner," said Earnhardt, "it was a real cool thing to be able to win a track championship somewhere."

Berry commented, "When we started, we struggled quite a bit really. Then L.W. [Miller] become involved in 2011 and that kind of gave us, between me and him, we really worked hard together to improve the program."

L.W. Miller, director of motorsports, JR Motorsports, said, "I told him going in, you know, that every week our goal was to do a little bit better next week. I think about our fourth or fifth race out a Motor Mile a few years ago, we won."

JR ON JOSH BERRYS CHAMPIONSHIP

Earnhardt, Jr. says his team provides drivers an opportunity to get seat time and learn about the sport. His newest late model driver, 16-year-old William Byron, said he hopes this opportunity leads to rides in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series.

"That's definitely the goal, and I think what's really cool about JR Motorsports is the family atmosphere that you get from it," said Byron. "They always support you and they're always going to be there for you in the long run."

The move to Hickory Motor Speedway not only allows the JR Motorsports team to compete closer to home, it also reconnects Earnhardt with his and his family's past.

"We ran there. Kerry [Earnhardt] ran there a bit in the ‘90s. I ran few races there, ran some Nationwide races there. My father had a lot of history there," said Earnhardt. "It's close to home…It's good competition and it's well ran."

JR ON SUPPORTING LOCAL TRACKS

Earnhardt, Jr. went on to say he expects to continue working with late models far into the future.

"I definitely see my career cycling back the way it started," Earnhardt said. "Sort of ending up at those race tracks somewhere, racing a late model or owning a late model and trying to win some late model races somewhere."

JR ON HIS FUTURE WITH LATE MODEL TEAM

For more information about JR Motorsports' late model team, please visit jrmracing.com.
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