Martinsville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - JR Motorsports will make its debut in the Camping World Truck Series this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, with Cole Custer driving the No. 00 Haas Automation-sponsored Chevrolet for the team.
JRM, which is co-owned by Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and Sprint Cup team owner Rick Hendrick, has competed at the regional late model level since 2002 and NASCAR's second-tier series (now known as the Xfinity Series) since 2006. Chase Elliott and Regan Smith drive full-time for JRM in Xfinity. Elliott won the championship in that series last year.
Custer, the 17-year-old son of Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Joe Custer, is scheduled to make his season debut in trucks after competing in nine races in the series last year. He became the youngest driver ever to win a NASCAR national touring series race by taking the checkered flag for truck event last September at New Hampshire. Custer is also the youngest pole winner in trucks, accomplishing the feat this past June at Gateway Motorsports Park.
"After a long offseason, I'm more than ready to get to the racetrack," Custer said. "It's exciting to be coming back at a track like Martinsville with Haas Automation and JR Motorsports. Our goal is to pick up where we left off last year.
"Martinsville is a place where we have shown speed before, and I feel like we can run fast again this weekend. It's still a learning experience for me. Managing the traffic there will be a challenge. That's something I'll be focused on."
Custer made his first career truck start one year ago at Martinsville. He started ninth and finished 12th in the race, which was delayed one day due to rain. Custer was involved in an accident and placed 29th there in October.
After Saturday's race at Martinsville, Custer is scheduled to compete in nine more truck events for JRM this season: Dover (May 29), Gateway (June 13), Iowa (June 19), Eldora (July 22), Bristol (Aug. 19), Canada (Aug. 30), New Hampshire (Sept. 26), Martinsville (Oct. 31) and Phoenix (Nov. 13).
Joe Shear Jr. will serve as Custer's crew chief throughout the season. Shear guided his efforts in the series last year.
When the series ran its last race on Feb. 28, Matt Crafton, the two-time defending champion, won at Atlanta and moved to within two points of leader Tyler Reddick, who scored the victory in the Feb. 20 season-opener at Daytona. Crafton won last year's spring race at Martinsville.
Thirty-six teams are on the entry list for the Kroger 250. Joey Logano and David Gilliland are those Sprint Cup regulars scheduled to compete in this race.
Series: NASCAR Camping World. Date: Saturday, March 28. Race: Kroger 250. Site: Martinsville Speedway. Track: 0.526-mile oval. Start time: 2:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 250. Miles: 131.5. 2014 Winner: Matt Crafton. Television: FOX Sports 1. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.