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Tyler Reddick joins JR Motorsports in Xfinity Series for 2018 season

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Tyler Reddick will drive full-time for JR Motorsports next season in the Xfinity Series, replacing William Byron with a multi-year agreement the team announced Thursday.

The announcement means the team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. will remain a four-car operation. The team will also field a fifth part-time car.

Details on Reddick’s sponsorship, crew chief and car number will be announced later.

Reddick, 21, will join Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett at JRM.

This year has seen him drive part-time in the Xfinity Series in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevrolet, splitting time with Kyle Larson.

MORE: Xfinity Series Spotlight: Tyler Reddick

A three-time winner in the Camping World Truck Series, Reddick’s part-time Xfinity effort has seen him earn one top five (Iowa I) and three tops 10s in 14 starts.

“This is an amazing opportunity for me,” Reddick said in a press release. “Having the chance to race full-time with an organization like JR Motorsports is something I’ve worked toward my entire life. It’s a thrill to be joining such an accomplished group of teammates in going after a championship next year.”

Before joining Ganassi this season, Reddick competed for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Truck Series for three years in 63 starts. His three wins came at Daytona, Dover and Las Vegas.

“Tyler is a very talented racecar driver and someone we’ve enjoyed watching over the years,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports in a press release. “We’ve seen him make a lot of strides in the short time he’s been in the Xfinity Series. He’s a strong complement to our driver lineup next season, and we’re confident that with consistent seat time he’ll find additional success at this level.”

Reddick follows Byron, who has three wins through 25 races this season.

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Xfinity playoffs loom for William Byron, but Cup future is secure no matter what

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William Byron “didn’t expect” any of this.

The 19-year-old didn’t expect to be promoted to the NASCAR Cup Series by Hendrick Motorsports next year after just one season in the Xfinity Series.

He was also “pretty surprised” by the phone call he received from Rick Hendrick last Thursday as he prepared to race at Road America.

Hendrick wanted to know how he felt about taking over the No. 24 in 2018 as Chase Elliott transitioned to his family’s famous No. 9.

“I was kind of expecting to be whatever number I was going to be,” Byron told NBC Sports just a few hours before Hendrick announced Liberty University would sponsor Byron and his team for 12 races in 2018 and 2019. “It was definitely a surprise, but a good one.”

Other than telling his parents, Byron had to keep the news a secret  until it was officially announced.

Before a press release announced the news just after 7:30 p.m. ET, Byron and Elliott shook their heads at their situation.

“I knew it was kind of funny nobody had any idea about it and Chase and I were kind of joking about that yesterday right before it came out,” Byron said. “We were kind of laughing about how nobody was going to expect this one. It’s pretty neat.”

Now the formalities over what Byron is doing next year are over. The JR Motorsports driver still has 10 races, seven of them in the playoffs, before he can devote much attention his future.

With three wins (Iowa I, Daytona II and Indianapolis) the rookie doesn’t have to worry about being locked into the playoffs.

All he has to worry about is getting through Saturday’s race at Darlington Raceway as smoothly as possible and then races at Richmond and Chicagoland Speedway before the playoffs begin in Kentucky.

“Just an opportunity to get prepared the best we can for this last stretch of races and do the best we can,” Byron said. “We want to win this championship really bad. We’ve got a job to do. We’re ready for it and we’ve been putting a lot into it. Had a couple of good test sessions the last few weeks to prepare for the playoffs in an Xfinity car and hopefully everyone on our 9 team can have a really good weekend here at Darlington.”

But Darlington isn’t a track Byron visited in his one full-time season in the Camping World Truck Series. However, he had a two-day test there in May, his experience on iRacing and the advice of the many drivers at Hendrick and JRM to lean on when it comes to tackling the track “Too Tough to Tame.”

With its patented “Darlington stripe,” Byron got pretty pointed advice from his team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

” ‘Hey, you’re gonna hit the wall at some point,” Byron recounted Earnhardt telling him. ” ‘You might as well expect it, not be worried about it and be able to shake it off and go on to the next lap and really find that rhythm to be good around there.’ ”

Surprisingly, it took awhile for Byron’s No. 9 Chevrolet to get its first stripe during his May test at Darlington.

“It actually took until the second day,” he said. “During testing you’re kind of more precise and you have more time to figure things out. It’s easier to stay off the wall. When we get back there, when the track is rubbered up and it’s a little slicker it’s going be tough to stay off the wall. But we’ll try our best.”

Once the playoffs arrive, Byron will tap into the thoughts and feelings he’s kept “reserved” since last November. In the last race of the second round of the Truck playoffs, Byron was leading at Phoenix Raceway with 12 laps to go when his engine gave out.

Combined with an eighth-place finish at Martinsville and a sixth at Texas, the DNF kept the six-time winner from advancing to the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. While Byron won the race, he had to watch Johnny Sauter celebrate winning the title.

“It’s kind of showed me what it’s like to lose a championship,” Byron said. “It was out of our control. It wasn’t a mistake, it wasn’t lack of performance. We were leading the race and we just had an engine blow up. I think going into it it’s just added motivation for knowing what it’s like to lose one and knowing how much it means. It’s going to be a chip on my shoulder and I’ll use that for an edge.

“I’ve kind of reserved that for something to use for a little motivation until the end of this year. Hopefully that is able to apply for us. Who knows, maybe we can win Phoenix or something and kind of get redemption.”

Not that he needs it.

After two years of full-time competition in NASCAR, just over five years after he was asking for iRacing advice on YouTube, Byron is secure in a future he “would never have imagined.”

(Updated with video) JR Motorsports mourns team member Adam Wright, killed in car crash

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UPDATED: 1:25 p.m. ET, Thursday, August 24

JR Motorsports today released a touching video honoring the life of team member Adam Wright, who was killed Sunday in a one-car crash near Statesville, North Carolina.

Wright was a mechanic for JR Motorsports on the No. 5 Xfinity Series car of Michael Annett.

Here’s the video the team released:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. also posted a tweet that included his condolences and a copy of the video as well.

Original story follows:

JR Motorsports is mourning the passing of team member Adam Wright, who died Sunday night in a one-car crash near Statesville, N.C.

Wright, 33, was traveling on Flower House Loop around 10:50 p.m. Sunday “when he ran off the road twice and his vehicle became airborne,” according to Statesville.com, per North Carolina State Patrol Trooper J. S. Swagger.

Swagger added that Wright, who worked as a mechanic on Michael Annett’s JRM Xfinity Series team, was not wearing a seatbelt and was partially ejected from the wrecked vehicle.

Wright was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers are still investigating the crash.

Wright is being remembered on social media by many in the NASCAR community:

 

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler having fun mentoring William Byron

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If there’s anyone in the Xfinity Series William Byron should turn to for advice during his rookie season in the series, it’s Elliott Sadler.

A veteran of more than 800 NASCAR races across all three of its national series, Sadler has taken the lead in advising the 19-year-old driver this season. During his appearance on NASCAR America, Sadler praised the driver and the time he’s spent with him.

“That kid is special,” Sadler said. “I want to be that guy (that helps), because I had that guy. I had Jeff Green when I started, I had Dale Jarrett, people I could lean on all the time that could help the learning curve.”

Sadler leads the points standings with four races left in the regular season, but he is winless so far. Byron has earned three wins and is second in points behind Sadler.

“He’s a student of the game,” Sadler said. “I’ve been in meetings with young kids that come along, we’ve been in the meeting and kids are still playing on their phones. I’m in a meeting with William … and he’s still learning and taking notes. He’s got great questions. We’re usually sitting beside each other on the airplanes and we’re talking about things for that particular weekend. I can’t help him drive the car faster. But I can help him maybe with restarts and getting on pit road. Maybe things to think about on Friday to maybe make your car better for Saturday.”

Watch the video for more from Sadler on Byron and his friendship with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler paying tribute to Cale Yarborough with Darlington paint scheme

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Xfinity Series points leader Elliott Sadler will honor childhood racing hero Cale Yarborough with his paint scheme for the Sept. 2 race at Darlington Raceway.

Cale Yarborough poses with his Hardee’s car during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Exhibit Unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 22, 2012. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The JR Motorsports driver revealed the paint scheme Tuesday on NASCAR America. His No. 1 Chevrolet will have the same color blocking, but not colors, of Yarborough’s famous No. 28 Hardee’s car.

Sadler is not the only driver that will have some form of the Hardee’s paint scheme at Darlington. Dakoda Armstrong, driver of JGL Racing’s No. 28, will have the exact colors of the Hardee’s car and a logo on the hood commemorating Yarborough.

A five-time winner at Darlington and a three-time Cup champion, Yarborough is a native of Timmonsville, South Carolina, which is roughly 20 miles from Darlington.

Watch the video for the full reveal of the car.