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HOW Could JRM Purchase a Cup Series Charter?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

One of the team’s fans and pundits alike speculate about buying charters every year is JR Motorsports. Team executives have publicly stated multiple times that they want to buy a Cup Series charter, but, the opportunity has not opened up, at least not yet. What if JRM buys the Cup Series charters for sale this year?

  • JR Motorsports is co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister, Kelly Earnhardt Miller, and current Cup Series team owner Rick Hendrick. They have been in the Xfinity Series since 2005, winning 3 Series Championships.
  • While JRM has publicly stated its interest in purchasing a charter, the financial barrier seems to be the biggest hurdle. Is there any way to get around that hurdle?
  • Fans would love to see JRM jump into the Cup Series by purchasing a charter. Fans still love Dale Earnhardt Jr. and want to see him in the Cup Series.

JRM’s Charter Interest

Dale Earnhardt Jr. publicly stated to Sirius XM NASCAR Radio in the fall of 2023 that, while the team is interested in going Cup Series racing, the charter cost is the team’s current “Biggest barrier”. Last year, Live Fast Racing’s Cup Series charter sold for $40 million. Compare that to 2016, where, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed, NASCAR was selling BK Racing’s charter for $2 million.

That’s a 2000% increase over 7 years. That price tag will only grow as time goes on, and, with potentially more teams interested than charters available, supply and demand drives the price up even further.

Could JRM pony-up the funding and try to buy a charter? They’re reportedly interested, so, maybe they did find the money.

Otherwise, JRM needs to get creative to get into the Cup Series. There is one way they can do so, a merger.

What About a Merger?

Currently, charters are going for upwards of $40 million, so, the question is, can a merger save JRM a little bit of money? We can look at recent team mergers and transactions to see how much it would cost.

Spire Motorsports bought out Kyle Busch Motorsports in the fall of 2023, with the shop costing $14.5 million according to Charlotte Business Journal. Obviously, that’s a Truck Series team, but, that’s less than half the cost of a charter for outright buying an entire race team.

Another recent merger was in the Cup Series with GMS buying a majority interest in Richard Petty Motorsports to form Petty-GMS. That cost Maury Gallagher $19.1 million to buy into the team according to an SEC filing.

There happens to be one race team that could lose one of their co-owners, JTG Daugherty Racing. Tad Geshickter is reportedly looking at leaving the team, and, he was suspiciously absent from Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s contract extension press release.

Could we see JRM buy their way into a race team like that? Maybe, but, this is all speculation at the end of the day. Not to mention that, if JRM still wants to purchase an extra charter on top of merging, what money they saved by buying into a race team would all be lost.

On top of that, JRM still has Rick Hendrick on as a co-owner, who already owns Hendrick Motorsports. Would this move make business sense for one of the team’s biggest investors?

JRM getting into the Cup Series is tough to envision currently. The price of a charter is only going up, and if the price continues to be a hurdle, it will only get harder and harder.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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