JR Motorsports and GMS Racing have partnered to establish Drivers Edge Development in hopes of grooming “the next generation of racing superstars.”
The program is presented by Chevrolet and will look to help drivers work through the racing system via a tiered competition pipeline. There will be five types of developmental series in which JRM or GMS will field cars.
Per details from the news release this program will allow JRM and GMS to complement each other as drivers will have options with JRM’s late model program leading into GMS’ NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA entries. Potential seat time will also be an option in the Truck Series with GMS. The program’s top level is JRM entries in the Xfinity Series.
“Equally as important as the competition focus, Drivers Edge Development provides added training to enhance participants’ professional growth off the track,” the release announcing the program stated. “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.”
While the program will be mainly performance-based, there are no set criteria for a driver to be selected into the program. To be considered, the ideal age of a driver will be 14 to 21. Six drivers are already enrolled in the program: Noah Gragson, John Hunter Nemechek, Zane Smith, Sheldon Creed, Sam Mayer, and Adam Lemke.
Gragson (a JRM driver) and Nemechek (a GMS driver) will be competing full-time this season in the Xfinity Series. Smith has an eight-race schedule with JRM in the No. 9 Xfinity car. Creed will be full-time in the Truck Series for GMS.
Mayer is a late model driver for JRM and this year will be competing in select Truck Series races for GMS while also running in the ARCA and K&N Series. Lemke is a late model driver for JRM.
“We have always prided ourselves on being a stepping stone for drivers that want to get to the top level of racing,” said JRM owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. “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.”
Said Mike Beam of GMS: “We couldn’t be more pleased to get this program off the ground. Between GMS and JRM, I feel our two programs are very complimentary 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.”