MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 13, 2010) – JR Motorsports will undergo a driver change to its No. 88 NASCAR Nationwide Series team effective this weekend when the series races at Texas Motor Speedway, general manager and co-owner Kelley Earnhardt announced today.
The organization has released 25-year-old Kelly Bires from his contractual driving duties of the No. 88 Chevrolet. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/McDonalds Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, has agreed to a deal that puts him in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevy for nine races. Those races include the six upcoming Nationwide Series events – Texas (April 17), Talladega (April 24), Richmond (April 30), Darlington (May 7), Dover (May 15) and Charlotte (May 30) – plus Chicagoland (July 9), Atlanta (Sept. 4) and the return trip to Charlotte (Oct. 15). Hellmann's will be the primary sponsor in all but two of those races, and the Suave Men brand will be featured on the No. 88 at Chicagoland Speedway.
A native of Joplin, Mo., McMurray is the reigning Daytona 500 champion. He is a seven-time winner in the Nationwide Series with 27 top-fives, 59 top-10s, and three pole awards. No driver decisions for the No. 88 have been determined beyond McMurray's nine races.
"We are extremely appreciative of Kelly Bires and wish him the best," Kelley Earnhardt said. "Internally, it was evident the chemistry that is imperative for us to succeed in this highly competitive industry was simply not there. That is the fault of no one person. We owe it to our fans and sponsors to make necessary adjustments in an effort to put our best product on the track, and we'll continue evaluating our progress until we are confident that our full potential is being reached."
Under the direction of crew chief Tony Eury Sr., the No. 88 team has finished third in the Nationwide Series point standings each of the past two seasons, accumulating six total victories. In six races this season, the team has one top-10 finish (seventh at Auto Club Speedway). Bires competed in six races for JRM dating back to last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He raced the No. 88 in five of the six Nationwide Series events this year, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
The alteration to the No. 88 team does not change plans for the No. 7 team, which presently is to run the full Nationwide Series schedule with multiple drivers. Landon Cassill began a part-time stint last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, becoming the third driver this season to get behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolets prepared by crew chief and co-owner Tony Eury Jr. He will race the car this weekend at Texas. Danica Patrick has 10 of her scheduled 13 races remaining on the 2010 slate. Scott Wimmer recently completed a two-race commitment and posted season-best finishes of 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway and seventh at Nashville Superspeedway. Driving vacancies left on the No. 7 schedule are still to be determined.
Release courtesy of JR Motorsports
PHOTO FROM NASCAR MEDIA
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