DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Co-Owner of JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, made many headlines over the offseason.
One of the biggest announcements was that JRM was bringing back the No. 8 car to the lineup, swapping the No. 5 car over to BJ McLeod Motorsports for the 2019.
Earnhardt, Jr. featured in a video posted on various social media platforms that explained the changes that JR Motorsports would be making before the first race of the season at Daytona International Speedway.
A driver can be larger than life.
But the numbers – they live on forever.
— JR Motorsports (@JRMotorsports) January 25, 2019
In that video and the press release that followed, it was unveiled that the No. 8 JRM Camaro would feature a rotating set of drivers, one of which was GMS Racing’s Spencer Gallagher.
Gallagher, who won the Xfinity Series race at Talladega SuperSpeedway in 2018, retired at the end of the 2018 season to take on a new role in his father’s team, GMS Racing.
It seemed like the addition of Gallagher was due, in part, to a new program that would feature both JRM and GMS.
On January 28th, 2019, it was announced that GMS and JRM we’re partnering up for a new Driver Development program, Drivers Edge Development, which would see the advancement of an up-and-coming driver between the two teams from Late Models all the way up to Xfinity Series racing.
Gallagher tweeted after the JRM No. 8 announcement how he was excited to get in the car in a few short weeks at Daytona International Speedway. A race car that belonged to Ralph Earnhardt was sitting in GMS Racing’s parking lot, and Gallagher took the opportunity to pose inside the car.
Well next time I’m in the number 8 it might look a little newer, but I think I prefer this one’s style 😉 Thank you so much to @JRMotorsports for this incredible opportunity, can’t wait to see you all at Daytona!! 😁😁 pic.twitter.com/iasNJNHnp7
— Spencer Gallagher (@23SpeedRacer) January 25, 2019
Then, Gallagher wasn’t going to be driving at Daytona.
On February 7th, 2019, it was announced that Chase Elliott would be piloting the No. 8 Camaro with sponsorship from AfterShokz.
This contradicted the initial report that Gallagher would be racing all the SuperSpeedway tracks, but it still stated in the release that Gallagher would be driving for the team.
Later, on the same day that JRM announced Elliott in the No. 8 car, they also previewed the 2019 season for the No. 8 car in a feature called “Championship Drive”, which they were releasing for each of the cars on the team.
While not specifically naming Elliott in the car in the “Championship Drive” article, the team also did not acknowledge Gallagher as one of the rotating drivers on the team.
During Daytona 500 Media Day, I asked Elliott how the AfterShokz deal came together, and he noted that he only had the one race scheduled.
“It was kind of a last minute deal,” Elliott said. “AfterShokz has become a partner of mine, and they are on the car with Bubba (Wallace) on Sunday. It’s a great way to get them started off.“
“When the opportunity came up to run, they jumped right on it. It’s great to have them, and it’s been great to work with them, ever since they got involved with us last year, I look forward to having them on the car.”
“Car looks good. I don’t have any plans to run any races after Daytona with them or anything, or JRM. We’ll see how Saturday goes, and we’ll try and get them a win.”
Still, there were no announcements stating otherwise that Gallagher would or wouldn’t be in the car.
On Saturday, JRM driver Michael Annett won the NASCAR Driving Experience 300, and as part of post race media availability, Earnhardt, Jr. was invited to sit in the media center to take questions as the car owner of the winning team.
After I asked him if Spencer was still a go for the other two, he said that he couldn’t exactly answer the question, but he believed that Gallagher would not be racing with the team anymore.
“I can’t answer that,” Earnhardt, Jr. said. “I don’t have that information. I wish Kelley (Earnhardt-Miller) was here because I remember her telling me the answer to this a couple of days ago, and I can’t remember what she said.”
“I don’t think Spencer is going to run, I think it’s going to be a couple. I don’t know if Chase is going to run in it, but I don’t think Spencer is going to run any races for us this year. Not sure.”
So it’s not definite that Gallagher will or will not be in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season. Gallagher and Earnhardt-Miller have been quiet on social media concerning the situation.
I presume that the team will announce any changes when they are ready, but it doesn’t seem like Gallagher will be coming out of retirement to race in the No. 8 car as planned.
— Kelley Earnhardt (@EarnhardtKelley) February 17, 2019
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
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