Program Aims to Groom Next-Generation Talent
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 24, 2019) – Building on a successful technical alliance, JR Motorsports and GMS Racing jointly announced today the establishment of Drivers Edge Development, a program presented by Chevrolet aimed at grooming the next generation of racing superstars through a tiered competition pipeline coupled with comprehensive off-track education.
Drivers Edge Development will give participating drivers, all with differing levels of experience, the opportunity to race in five types of developmental series with JRM or GMS-fielded entries while staying aligned with Chevrolet. The program allows the two teams to complement each other by offering participants competition options with JRM’s regional late model program leading into GMS’ NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA entries. The next tier presents potential seat time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with GMS. Finally, at the program’s top level, JRM entries await in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Equally as important as the competition focus, Drivers Edge Development provides added training to enhance participants’ professional growth off the track. Drivers will have access to a host of programs focusing on their physical, mental and technical development. An emphasis will be placed on educating them in areas such as brand building, social media and digital content, media training and fan relations as well as support for partner procurement and retention.
“We have always prided ourselves on being a stepping stone for drivers that want to get to the top level of racing,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., JRM team owner. “JR Motorsports was designed with that in mind, and now with the help of GMS and Chevrolet, Drivers Edge Development will provide a clear-cut path and more options for drivers to get there.”
Although mainly performance-based, there are no set criteria for selection into the program. Ideally, drivers between the ages of 14 and 21 years old will be considered. Currently, six drivers are enrolled in the Drivers Edge Development program:
· Noah Gragson (NXS driver for JRM)
· John Hunter Nemechek (NXS driver for GMS)
· Zane Smith (NXS driver for JRM in eight races)
· Sheldon Creed (Truck driver for GMS)
· Sam Mayer (Truck/ARCA/K&N driver for GMS and Late Model driver for JRM)
· Adam Lemke (Late Model driver for JRM)
“We couldn’t be more pleased to get this program off the ground,” said Mike Beam, GMS team president. “Between GMS and JRM, I feel our two programs are very complementary of each other and will give Drivers Edge Development participants multiple series options.
“We have to give Lorin Ranier some credit, too. He has been working behind the scenes and is a great help in scouting drivers for the program. He is really plugged into the local and regional short-track scene and has already worked with some of the drivers in the program.”
Drivers Edge Development participants will also benefit from the mentoring of veteran racers from both the JRM and GMS stables.
“Drivers Edge Development is going to be critical to the future of the sport and our race team,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, JRM general manager. “The fact that you have JRM, GMS and Chevrolet involved in getting this off the ground speaks to that importance.
“We’re emphasizing on-track experience in multiple series while still keeping the drivers under the Chevrolet umbrella. Off track, we’re going to offer these drivers decades of industry knowledge and best practices with the goal of helping them become the best versions of themselves in all aspects of the sport.”
The six drivers enrolled in Drivers Edge Development are joining established and successful operations. The JRM late model teams have delivered 40 wins in the last three seasons and own a total of four championships. GMS Racing has nine wins and a championship with its ARCA program. Its Truck teams have amassed 23 wins along with a championship in 2016. Over 13 years of competition, JRM’s NXS program lays claim to 44 wins and three championships, including consecutive titles in 2017-18.
ABOUT DRIVERS EDGE DEVELOPMENT:
Drivers Edge Development is a program which aims to groom the next generation of racing superstars through a tiered competition pipeline coupled with comprehensive off-track education. Developed jointly by JR Motorsports and GMS Racing, and presented by Chevrolet, participants have options to race in five types of developmental series with entries fielded by the two teams. The tiers include JRM’s regional late model team, GMS’ NASCAR K&N Pro, ARCA and Gander Outdoors Truck Series teams, and JRM’s NASCAR Xfinity Series teams. Off the track, drivers will have access to a host of programs focusing on their physical, mental and technical development with an emphasis on brand building and support for partner procurement and retention. For more information, follow Drivers Edge Development via Twitter @DriversEdgeDev, through Facebook or by visiting www.DriversEdgeDevelopment.com.
ABOUT JR MOTORSPORTS:
JR Motorsports is the management company and racing operation for Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s 15-time Most Popular Driver and winner of more than 50 NASCAR-sanctioned races. Now in its 18th year of overall competition, JR Motorsports races in multiple divisions, including the NASCAR Xfinity Series where it won championships in 2014, 2017 and 2018. The company also competes in Late Model competition and owns four championships in regional late model divisions. To learn more about the organization, its drivers and its sponsorship opportunities, visit www.jrmracing.com.
GMS Racing competes full-time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with drivers Brett Moffitt and Sheldon Creed, and in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with John Hunter Nemechek. The team also expanded their competition to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, as well as in the ARCA Racing Series with Sam Mayer. Since the team began in 2014, GMS Racing won the 2016 NGOTS Championship and has grown to occupy several buildings located in Statesville, N.C. The campus also includes operations for GMS Fabrication. More information can be found at https://gmsracing.net/.