Jeffrey Earnhardt hoping to add to family's legacy at Talladega
Jeffrey Earnhardt’s resurgent NASCAR season takes another big step this weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
For the first time in his career, Earnhardt will pull double duty, competing both in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event.
On Saturday, Earnhardt – the 29-year-old grandson of the late seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – will make his third start of the season with Joe Gibbs Racing, driving the No. 18 Toyota.
In his three previous starts this season, Earnhardt has finished 15th, sixth and eighth, including leading 29 laps in the season-opener at Daytona.
On Sunday, Earnhardt will make his Cup debut with the Xtreme Concepts Racing, driving the No. 81 Toyota. The team has a technical alliance with JGR.
Xtreme Concepts Inc., owned by Landon Ash, is an existing sponsor of JGR and sponsoring Earnhardt’s nine Xfinity races as well as several others with drivers at JGR this season.
“Double duty will definitely be a new experience for me, but it’s something we’ve been preparing for,” Earnhardt said. “The JGR cars have been fast every race.
“We’ve seen Kyle (Busch) go out and absolutely dominate in the No. 18, and we’ve been able to pull out some really great runs. So, I’m excited to have another shot at it, especially after doing so well at Daytona.
“The Cup race will be a bit different. The Xtreme Concepts team is still new and it’s only our first Cup start this year, but we’ve had a lot of help from Joe Gibbs Racing to prepare.”
Talladega’s history is filled with highlights from the Earnhardt family.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won six Cup races and one Xfinity race at Talladega while Dale Sr. set the bar with 10 Cup victories and one Xfinity win.
Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega will be Jeffrey’s first at the superspeedway since May 2, 2015, when he finished 12th driving for Viva Motorsports. It will also be his first Cup start since last October at Kansas.
“Talladega has always been a special place, not just for me, but the whole Earnhardt family. We’ve all seen the success my grandfather and uncle have had there. For the most part, it’s treated me well,” Jeffrey Earnhardt said.
“There’s something different about Talladega. The fans are so emotionally connected to what is going on, and the feeling you get when you pull into this huge track with all of the campers and people in the infield. You’ll never see or feel that anywhere else.
“I think knowing the family history and what they were both able to accomplish definitely adds to that feeling for me.”
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