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Everything You Need to Know About Dawson Cram

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What’s Happening

Sources tell the Daily Downforce that Dawson Cram will be announced today as a full-time driver with JD Motorsports and owner Johnny Davis for the 2024 season. Davis was impressed with the 22-year-old Cram’s late-season runs in the Xfinity Series last year. Here is everything you need to know about JD Motorsports’ newest driver.

  • Dawson Cram competed in 9 Xfinity Series races in 2023 for Mike Harmon Racing and SS Greenlight. He ended the year with his best career finish, 19th at Phoenix Raceway in the season finale. 2024 will be his first full-time Xfinity Series season
  • JD Motorsports had a variety of drivers in 2023. The team’s best finish came at Talladega in the spring where Brennan Poole finished 5th.

Early Life and Racing Career

Contrary to what many say about him, Cram says he was born in Ballantyne, North Carolina. However, his racing career started in San Diego, California thanks to a job opportunity for his father, Kevin, a former NASCAR crew chief.

[My dad] got a job opportunity on a K&N West [now ARCA Menards Series West] car that he thought would be a better balance of family and racing.

Dawson Cram

When Dawson was 5 years old, his parents bought him a mini-dwarf go-kart. From there, he says he began racing in Southern California before moving back to North Carolina during the 2008 recession. He then moved to Bandoleros and eventually legend cars and dirt cars.

However, racing is an expensive business, and Cram’s family began to realize that when they got into legends cars. To fund his racing career, Dawson’s father started renting out extra, identical cars to Dawson’s, to other drivers.

I think we had like 12 customers at one point running under our umbrella, and as I went through legend cars, that paid for my racing.

Dawson Cram

Racing became a family affair, and Dawson said that every family member had a job at the race track. His family became the only family to win the prestigious Tom VanWingerdin Award at Summer Shootout. Dawson continued to race in multiple other series throughout the 2010s.

He won Bandolero Championships at Concord Speedway, Summer Shootout, Winter Heat, and Midweek Mayhem. He also won the Young Lion Championship at Concord Speedway in Legends Cars in 2015. In the late 2010s, he started making his turn to NASCAR.

Working His Way Up Through the NASCAR Ranks

In 2017 the Cram family acquired a Truck to race at Martinsville, but Dawson had to withdraw from the race. He came back to run four Truck Series races between 2018 and 2019 with a best finish of 13th at Martinsville in the fall of 2019.

However, Cram was willing to do whatever it took to get into NASCAR more consistently. A promise from his dad convinced Cram to graduate high school early.

I graduated early from high school on a promise to my dad that I would graduate early if he could get me into the next step, if he could find me another opportunity, so, I graduated high school adn immediately went to Daytona to test an ARCA car.

Dawson Cram

With his family unable to afford the test, Cram got creative. During a “Road to Daytona” program run by Andy Hillenburg, Cram made a deal with other drivers that they could race in his seat if he could run a few laps. He got to test that day.

Cram fully dove into NASCAR in 2020 and 2021. He ran 26 races those years in the Truck Series driving for his family’s team, Josh Reaume, and Boyd Long. While racing for his family, Cram developed a relationship with Marcus Lemonis of Camping World, who helped fund his car partially in 2021.

However, moving up to the Truck Series was a big transition for Cram. He kept his focus on keeping his car on track.

About the time I was 18, I figured out that I’m on my own path and we’re gonna run the way that we’re gonna run, and I don’t need to go tearing up equipment trying to be better than the car is.

Dawson Cram

In 2023, Cram committed to trying to be at the race track every week in some capacity. He even started spotting for other drivers and developing relationships that way.

In 2023, he raced 9 times with 3 races for Bobby Dotter and SS Greenlight and 6 times for Mike Harmon. Cram closed out his 2023 Xfinity Series season with his best career finish, a 19th-place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

It felt great to finish [2023] on a high note…We made great adjustments as the sun went down, and we started running down that next pack. I started to realize that, hey, a top-20 is probably going to happen if I play my cards right here, so, it was very rewarding.

Dawson Cram

Connection to the NASCAR Families

The Cram family has been connected to the Earnhardt family since before Dawson was born. While Cram admits that he does not have much memory of his early years, that connection still impacted Cram’s upbringing.

Dawson says the first time he drove an asphalt car was at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s house. This is how he met Brad Keselowski, who became Dawson’s favorite driver. Brad’s brother, Brian, actually spent some time as Dawson’s crew chief in 2021.

Brad Keselowski was living there because he was running [Dale Jr.’s] Nationwide car, and ended up just walking out and hanging out with us. From that point on, Brad Keselowski is my favorite driver which is pretty funny.

Dawson Cram

Dawson also worked for a while with the JRM late-model team, and his mother also has a close relationship with Kelley Earnhardt. It is interesting to see all of the connections that Cram has.

What do you expect from Dawson Cram in 2024? He will get a big opportunity for JD Motorsports.

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