In its 15 years of existence, JR Motorsports has had a knack for signing young race car drivers to its stable and developing their talent.
On Tuesday, the organization co-owned by NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced that it has signed 15-year-old Christian Eckes to join its Late Model lineup for 2016.
You read that right, Eckes is just 15 years old.
But he comes to JRM with very impressive credentials.
In 67 U.S. Legends Cars races, Eckes compiled 25 wins and 52 top-five finishes. He also finished runner-up in the INEX Legend Car Young Lions national championship point standings in 2014.
Last season, Eckes got his first taste of Late Model racing, earning one win, eight top-five and 14 top-10 finishes (including four for JRM).
Now, the Middletown, N.Y., native will run 20 Late Model events under the JRM banner, including the full CARS Tour and select events at tracks in the Southeast.
“We take pride in our Late Model program and its ability to give guys an opportunity to advance their careers,” Earnhardt said in a media release. “Christian is very young and we feel like he has a lot of raw talent. I think he’ll fit in well with our team and learn a lot at the different tracks they plan to run this season.”
Eckes, who began his racing career in Bandolero’s at the age of 9 in 2010, will team with veteran driver Josh Berry, who will drive the No. 88 Chevrolet. JRM’s Late Model has amassed an outstanding 24 wins in the last two seasons and two championships since 2012.
“This is the type of opportunity you dream about,” Eckes said. “I can’t wait to get the season going and I’m really grateful to everyone at JR Motorsports.
“They’ve had a lot of success with their Late Model program over the years and it’s a thrill to be a part of it. I think I can learn a lot by being part of the team this year.”
Among tracks Eckes will visit this season are the Motor Mile, South Boston, Hickory, Myrtle Beach Speedway and Martinsville.