Jeffrey Earnhardt's moment of truth: Fourth-generation NASCAR driver joins Joe Gibbs Racing
Jeffrey Earnhardt will have his best opportunity yet to show that he can be a winner at the highest levels of NASCAR.
Earnhardt will compete in nine NASCAR Xfinity Series races in 2019 with Joe Gibbs Racing, with sponsorship from Xtreme Concepts Inc., a security services company.
Earnhardt is the 29-year-old grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. He will make his debut in the No. 18 entry at Daytona International Speedway in February. Eight more races will follow, allowing him to possess front-running equipment on a consistent basis for the first time in his career.
"I’ve worked incredibly hard for this opportunity and I’ve got to thank Xtreme Concepts for making it happen," Earnhardt said. "You see the level of expertise Joe Gibbs Racing has and the caliber of equipment they bring to the racetrack every week. As a driver, it’s exactly where you want to be. It’s the best opportunity I’ve had in my career and I plan to make the most of it."
Earnhardt has made 151 starts across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, but none have been with an organization with the depth and resources of JGR.
Earnhardt is hoping to follow in the same path of Ryan Preece, who gave up a full-time ride with JD Motorsports to take a part-time spot with Gibbs. Preece has enjoyed overwhelming success in that equipment, parlaying that into a full-time Cup Series deal with JTG Daugherty Racing next season.
Coy Gibbs, vice chairman of JGR, hopes to provide that same shot for Earnhardt.
"From the time we first came to NASCAR in 1992, we’ve always put forth maximum effort to have the best possible results on the racetrack," Gibbs said. "Our Xfinity Series program is the perfect example of what happens when preparation meets execution. We’ve had both up-and-coming and veteran drivers achieve success in our race cars, and that success has translated to the partners they’ve represented. We think Jeffrey Earnhardt has the talent to win races and deliver strong results for Xtreme Concepts."
The exact number races will be announced prior to the season.