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CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 28: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #31 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28, 2021 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) | Getty Images
CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 28: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #31 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28, 2021 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Late Start, No Problem: Jordan Anderson Racing Making a Name for Itself in Xfinity Series

By Dustin Albino

Jordan Anderson spent three seasons building up Jordan Anderson Racing in the Camping World Truck Series, and he knew it was time to take the next step. But what to do and how to do it were both major unknowns. 

There was the potential to add a second full-time truck to its stable. But, the ability to go full-time racing in the Xfinity Series, while still running the solo Truck Series team, was an option, too. Anderson, someone who likes a challenge, chose the latter. 

“That was one thing that was always on the radar to try to grow the team,” Anderson recently told Jayski.com “That was one thing we needed to do with the development of the team.” 

Bommarito Automotive Group, owned by John Bommarito, has supported Anderson since midway through the 2017 Truck Series season. That year, the driver split time between two teams, though the majority of his starts came with TLJ Motorsports. 

Like Anderson, Bommarito wanted to compete in the Xfinity Series and get his brand in front of more eyeballs. He was fully supportive of starting the team. 

“We knew that was a good step for us,” Anderson said of starting an Xfinity team. “We knew we needed the right situation for us to make the jump. I think what made it a perfect storm for us was through our relationship with Chevrolet.”

Through Anderson’s ties to Chevrolet, last December he met with Richard Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing; Torrey Galida, president of RCR; and Danny Lawrence, director of RCR’s Xfinity Series program. The RCR leadership group took Anderson through a tour of the Welcome, N.C. race shop before having lunch at Childress Vineyards. A deal was struck and it was time to go racing. 

On Jan. 25, 2021, less than three weeks before the NASCAR season got underway, Jordan Anderson Racing announced it would run the full Xfinity Series season.

“It went from a meeting at lunch to a team in less than a month and a half,” Anderson stated. “It was a lot to take in and we were really hustling just to make it to Daytona at that time.” 

Anderson purchased five chassis from RCR. The No. 31 team formed a partnership with Earnhardt Childress Racing to provide engines to the team. Still, it was a late decision to start a full-fledged Xfinity team. 

“I told him he was crazy and I couldn’t do it,” Artie Haire, crew chief of the No. 31 team, who came over to JAR towards the end of the 2020 season, said. “He took me to dinner and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got something I want to bring up to see what your thoughts are’ and he told me his idea was to run full time in Xfinity for this year. I said there was no way it could happen, because, including myself, we had three employees running the Truck deal.”

LEBANON, TENNESSEE - JUNE 19: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #31 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet, waits on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 19, 2021 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images
LEBANON, TENNESSEE – JUNE 19: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #31 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet, waits on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway on June 19, 2021 in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Anderson went out and hired more employees, now sitting in the double digit range. But the team was scrambling to find the necessary parts and pieces to be successful. 

Meanwhile, Daytona was in sight and the No. 31 team just needed to get down to Florida. It did, knowing Anderson would have to qualify into the race on time. The only problem was qualifying got rained out and the car had no points to fall back on. 

After having a memorable evening just one night earlier by finishing second in the Truck race, Anderson left Daytona disappointed. 

“That rainout was such a bummer,” Anderson said. “But it was a blessing because I told the guys after that happened, ‘Hey, you guys will have jobs, we’re going to keep working through this and make our stuff better.’ 

“[Bommarito] and I sat there and looked at each other and said, ‘Man, what are we going to do? We’ve got all these cars sitting there ready to go.’ We worked out our plan, laid it out and we were able to execute on it. I had a lot of smart people help me put that together.”

The unfortunate news was Jordan Anderson Racing couldn’t attempt to make its debut race until Circuit of The Americas three months later, when the next qualifying session occurred. But hindsight always being 20/20, it was a blessing and a curse to not compete at Daytona. 

Even though there was no purse money coming in, the team was getting better. 

“It gave us a lot more time to build our cars because we had just acquired most of them in early to late January and we were still trying to find parts and pieces and get everything built up,” Haire added. “We were still waiting on engines to show up from ECR. It gave us time to adapt to what we would need to run full time in Xfinity.”

During those 98 days, the team found valuable assets to assemble racecars and update its pit box. It formulated a plan knowing there was a potential stretch of nine consecutive weeks on the road should the No. 31 car qualify in at COTA. And it did. 

Tyler Reddick qualified fifth in the No. 31 car at COTA, only to finish eighth later in the day. The following week at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the two-time Xfinity Series champion earned the team’s first top-five finish.

In just two starts, the No. 31 jumped to 41st in the owner standings, 10 makers outside of the top 40. In order to compete in an Xfinity Series race with no qualifying, teams must be inside the top 40.

With a race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next on the schedule, Anderson took advantage of the qualifying metric. Should a team compete with a driver that’s already won that season, that car is allowed to race. Enter Josh Berry, who won in April at Martinsville Speedway. 

But it was the first time in Berry’s illustrious racing career that he would compete on a road course. 

“I think it was the most pressure I felt all year going into a race,” Berry said, “because they had to score X amount of points just to be able to continue to compete in the series and I had never road raced. But it all worked out.”

LEXINGTON, OHIO - JUNE 05: Josh Berry, driver of the #31 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet, and Miguel Paludo, driver of the #8 BRANDT Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Xfinity Series B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 05, 2021 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images
LEXINGTON, OHIO – JUNE 05: Josh Berry, driver of the #31 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet, and Miguel Paludo, driver of the #8 BRANDT Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Xfinity Series B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on June 05, 2021 in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Berry managed to escape the chaos and finished eighth. In its first three starts, the No. 31 Chevrolet had three top 10s. 

“Even if I was the slowest car on track, I had to finish the race because, if I was in the garage, there was no way our plan would work,” Berry stated. 

Since Mid-Ohio, the No. 31 team has moved to 27th in the owner standings, with five races to go in the 2021 season. There’s an outside chance the team cracks the top 20 come the season finale at Phoenix Raceway (currently 82 points below). 

Still, it’s been an implausible comeback for Anderson’s team in its debut year, while giving drivers, such as Kaz Grala and NASCAR newcomer Sage Karam, the ability to shine. 

“I try not to think about what could have been too much,” Anderson said. “We want to end the year on a strong note, hopefully take care of our equipment, finish and learn as much as we can for next year.”

Since the Xfinity Series playoffs got underway, the No. 31 team has finishes of eighth with Ty Dillon and, as a driver, Anderson earned his first top-five effort last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. 

With the race season winding down, the No. 31 team is in a good position entering the offseason. 

“It’s kind of like a proud father moment, when you run good and finish good,” Anderson said. “It’s a fulfilling feeling to see it all come together. The guys on the team have taken ownership of the team as well, and they’ve been proud with what we’ve been able to accomplish.”