Racer, TV commentator, race series director, Champ car team boss, and race team owner – JDX Racing’s Jeremy Dale has built quite the knowledge bank in the 45 years since he first climbed into a race car.
That knowledge is now being passed onto the stars of the future in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, with JDX Racing established as a championship-winning team with a clear focus on developing young talent.
JDX finished third in the inaugural season of Carrera Cup North America in 2021 with Parker Thompson and then – operating as a one-car team in 2022 – took Thompson to championship success with a run of six podiums (including three wins) in seven races to finish the season.
The team led the “British invasion” last year, with Will Martin and Alex Sedgwick finishing third and fourth in the title chase and JDX taking second place in the team’s title.
With further expansion planned for 2024 in Carrera Cup as well as Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama, the season ahead looks busy for the Colorado-based squad.
“Our intention is to expand to run four cars in Carrera Cup next year. Last year, we had three guys who were brand new to the series. They had not done a race, not seen most of the tracks, but overall, I think we performed well,” Dale said.
“We’d like to bring all three back again in 2024. We feel we laid a really good foundation with each of them, and they can all be competitive in 2024.
“For JDX, Carrera Cup is all about the Pro class. The guys in the other classes are an important part of our series, but for us, it’s all about young, aspiring drivers – that’s why we’re involved in it to help move these guy’s careers forward.”
Recently announced as a member of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, Dale enjoyed a decorated career behind the wheel, starting with finishing “top of the class” at the Skip Barber and Jim Russell racing schools as well as the famous Winfield school in France.
Seven race wins in the Barber-Saab Pro Series led to a factory drive with Dodge in the IMSA Firehawk series in 1988. Dale continued to climb the steps with Dodge in IMSA GTU, a factory Nissan drive, and then as lead driver for the Brix Racing / Oldsmobile IMSA World Sports Car team.
Numerous IMSA victories, a runner-up position in the championship, and a pair of class wins at Daytona followed until 1995 when Dale’s driving career came to a sudden stop – literally.
He suffered a career-ending injury when he slammed head-on into the side of the spinning and near-stationary Ferrari 333SP WSC car of Fabrizio Barbazza at the last corner of the Road Atlanta course after Barbazza was collected in a related accident between two slower GT cars.
Multiple surgeries, a year in a wheelchair, and a year on crutches followed. He returned to the world of motorsports in 1996 as a TV commentator for ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FOX SportsNet, SpeedVision, and Speed Channel.
After years of working as a driver coach and test driver in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, in 2000, he took his first steps in guiding future young stars as Managing Director of the championship.
“When you look back at Barber Dodge, the list of stars that came through that series is pretty remarkable. Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Hunter Reay, the list is amazing.
“Helping those young guys became near and dear to my heart because people helped me when I was coming up, and it is so important. I don’t care how much money you shower at it. Without good advice and help along the way, you just can’t move forward.
“I had a lot of people help me – with driving, with building relationships in the sport, ideas, direction, and how to help navigate this as a career.
“Back then, it was much less structured than it is now. You have to be in the right place at the right time because everyone is so hyper-focused. This is the great thing about the Porsche system, and why we are involved – back then, there was no Carrera Cup, no Porsche Young Driver’s shootout, no junior programs.”
Allmendinger went on to win a Formula Atlanta championship with the Dale-run RuSPORT team which subsequently turned into a race-winning Champ Car organization from its Colorado base – now the home location for JDX.
Dale now loves seeing his drivers succeed aboard a JDX car, but seeing them progress after they have left the team makes him even prouder.
“After winning the championship with us, the fact that Parker Thompson is now a full season, fully signed, multi-year, factory driver with Lexus – there’s nothing better for us. That’s the most satisfying thing of all.
“The Porsche guys will tell you – ‘Hey, would we love to have them in the family and under the Porsche tent,’ but there is not always an opening available when they ‘cross the bridge’ – that’s the metaphor I like to use.
“When you look at Road Atlanta – it’s actually true. All the young guys in Carrera Cup would like to cross the bridge one day and move from the support paddock over the WeatherTech paddock.
“I think it gives Carrera Cup that much more credibility and that much more legitimacy when that stuff is happening. We need it to happen every year for one of these kids to come out of Cup and get an opportunity – then the new guys look at it and say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what I need to be.’
“Anyone in the top five in Carrera Cup could step into WeatherTech or SRO and really hold their head up high and be competitive.
“That’s part of the reason why we want to run four Pro drivers because you need to keep the pipeline full. With the level of competition, you are not going to drop into Carrera Cup and dominate – you need to learn the ropes. That is exactly how Riley Dickinson progressed into a championship winner.
“For Elias da la Torre in our team last year, he had very little experience before he started, but by the last race at COTA, he was running in the top seven before he got hit and taken out – completely not his fault. I think you’ll see him make another big step next season.”
Dale and JDX are not just “filling the pipeline” in Carrera Cup, the team will continue to run in Sprint Challenge again in 2024.
“If all our plans come together, we’d like to run a couple of young drivers in Caymans in Sprint Challenge this year and start them on their path,” Dale said.
“Last year, we had Madeline Stewart in Sprint Challenge, where she finished third in the championship in the 992, and we’re working on using that as a springboard for her into 2024.
“That is the great thing about working with Porsche. They have created this amazing development program where they are really supporting young drivers. The junior programs, the female development program – nobody is even close to having what Porsche has, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that.”