For more than a half-century, the Earnhardt name has been a fixture in NASCAR, from racing patriarch Ralph to seven-time champion Dale Sr. to current Sprint Cup Series star Dale Jr. Now along comes the fourth generation of this racing clan, Jeffrey Earnhardt, who is competing full-time this season in the Grand Am Rolex Series GT class.
Earnhardt will be at Barber Motorsports Park March 30 through March 31st to compete in the Porsche 250 Grand-Am race, which will be held in conjunction with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy. And though he has never been to BMP and is a newcomer to the Grand Am Series, Earnhardt said he knows he will have some fans in attendance simply because of his last name.
“The Earnhardt name is huge. It’s pretty unreal all the people who are diehard Earnhardt fans,” said 22-year-old Jeffrey Earnhardt, who is the son of Kerry Earnhardt, the grandson of Dale Sr. and the nephew of Dale Jr. “It’s neat for me to see how much people looked up to my grandfather. It definitely makes it a lot of fun and interesting to do autograph sessions and be able to mingle with the fans and hear their stories about meeting my grandfather or my dad or my uncle.”
While his last name is his current source of fame, Jeffrey Earnhardt is working toward making a name for himself with his racing. Over the past four years he has made appearances in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series and K&N Series East. He has shown a fondness for road courses, turning in solid showings at Watkins Glen, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal and Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. He is driving for Rick Ware Racing in the Grand Am Series this year, with a long-term goal of eventually making it to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“For some reason road courses were something I took to in stock cars,” Earnhardt said. “Road racing is a lot of fun. I really enjoy doing it. And the opportunity was there this year with Rick Ware Racing. It’s another step toward Sprint Cup. We’re going to take it one step at a time, get track experience and work our way up.”
The next step for Earnhardt is to race at Barber Motorsports Park. Despite never having seen the facility in person, he said he has been practicing in recent months on the iRacing computerized simulation.
“I know on iRacing it seems like a lot of fun,” Earnhardt said. “I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Barber. Everybody says it’s a really nice facility and a lot of fun to drive on. I’m excited about getting there and running on it for real. I’m ready to go racing.”
Spoken like a true Earnhardt.
The Porsche 250 will take place Saturday, March 31st at Barber Motorsports Park as one of six races throughout the three-day Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama weekend. Tickets start at $15 and kids 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.barbermotorsports.com.
About Barber Motorsports Park and ZOOM Motorsports:
Barber Motorsports Park opened in the spring of 2003. Since its inception, ZOOM Motorsports, LLC has been the exclusive event promoter for the events at the Park. The 2.38-mile racing circuit is 45 feet wide, with 17 turns and elevation changes of more than 80 feet. The Barber Motorsports Park has been considered one of North America’s finest road courses for car and motorcycle racing, and has served as the venue for several international product launches. The Barber Motorsports Park also features the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. This 144,000 square‐foot facility houses more than 1,000 vintage and modern motorcycles from 17 different nations and more than 125 manufacturers. For more information, please visit www.barbermotorsports.com.
Source: Barber Motorsports Park/ZOOM Motorsports, Press Release
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Living up to a family legacy in any sport is tough, just ask the Manning brothers. It's the same in racing.
This weekend there will be several second and third generation drivers racing at Bristol Motor Speedway, but there will be only one fourth generation driver and with the name Earnhardt there are some big shoes to fill.
The legacy of NASCAR's fastest half-mile oval has been built on legendary drivers. They're honored outside the main office with bronze plaques, with names like Dale Earnhardt.
Read More: Here
Also check out the video: Here
14 March 2012 – Car & driver are ready and there are a lot of “firsts” happening at Bristol Motor Speedway on St. Patty’s day 2012.
The easiest way to explain is in a list: First Nationwide Series race of 2012 for Jeffrey First NNS race at Bristol Motor Speedway for Jeffrey First time an Earnhardt has driven a FORD since Dale Earnhardt raced the #15 in 1983 First race Jeffrey & Dale Jr. compete together
It’s been a while since the name Earnhardt appeared twice on the drivers sheet and we’re excited for this weekends race. March 17th, 2012 ESPN 1pm.
Did you know that Jeffrey Earnhardt will be in Alabama at the end of this month? The fourth-generation Earnhardt and full-time Rolex Series driver for Rick Ware Racing was recently on 97.3 The Zone in Birmingham to talk about his upcoming race at Barber Motorsports Park. Listen to the stream at the link below:
Thomasville, NC (March 6, 2012) – Bristol Motor Speedway has been the site of many firsts but for 4th generation NASCAR driver Jeffrey Earnhardt, March 17th 2012 will be significant. Earnhardt will be making his Bristol debut in the Sam’s Club #15 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing at the location of his grandfathers first Cup victory back in 1979. It will also be the first time an Earnhardt drives a Ford since 1983 when Dale Earnhardt drove the #15 Ford for Bud Moore.
Looking forward to his first Nationwide race of the year Earnhardt said, "I’m excited to race Bristol. My family has quite a few wins there and I hope to continue that success. I look forward to driving hard for all the Sam’s Club members out there and will see them at the new Hendersonville club on the 21st.” Jeffrey will be attending the grand opening of the newest Sam’s Club in Hendersonville, TN on March 21st, 2012 to meet members and sign autographs.
“Racing is a sport that so many of our Members in Hendersonville follow closely, and we are honored to welcome a local favorite like Jeffrey Earnhardt to our club in celebration of the grand opening,” said Jeff Godbey, Sam’s Club manager. “We wish him the best of luck in Bristol and hope that the community will come by the club to meet him on March 21.”
Earnhardt is competing full time in the Rolex Grand Am series and he’s been securing sponsorship for multiple NASCAR Nationwide races in 2012. In addition to Sam’s Club, Jeffrey’s Mustang will be sponsored by a brand he’s been using for years. “It’s awesome to have MET-Rx on board. They’re the #1 name in sports nutrition and we look forward to promoting their products to NASCAR fans” commented Jeffrey.
Team owner Rick Ware said, “Our sponsors have been great partners and having Sam’s Club and MET-Rx on the #15 Ford Mustang for Jeffrey’s Bristol debut is a great way to start 2012.” The race will be televised on March 17, 2012 on ESPN at 1pm EST.
January 28, 2012- The 50th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona had all of the excitement one would expect during a golden anniversary event. The #15 Poynt/Fastwax.com Mustang packed the power necessary to compete with the best of the GT class but after several hours of competition a mechanical issue sent the team home early. After the race Jeffrey commented, “It was disappointing but there were a lot of bright spots during the laps completed. It’s a new car so you never know what might happen. I had some good laps and the rest of the team seemed to get a rhythm during their sessions. Rick (Rick Ware Racing) knows what needs to be adjusted and he began working on it the day it returned to the shop.”
The next Grand AM race is the PORSCHE 250 on March 31st at Barber Motorsports Park. The race will be televised on SPEED TV at 4pm and Jeffrey & team will be ready for competition!
The Earnhardt family has had no shortage of success at Daytona International Speedway. For Jeffrey Earnhardt, he hopes that legacy continues in the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona next month where he will debut the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang. The fourth-generation driver sat down to discuss the initial shakedown of the new car and his love for road racing.
What are your initial thoughts on the new Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang?
The Mustang is pretty sweet, I'm not gonna lie. It's got a lot of potential. We hadn't even had the car on track until this test and we didn't have any major problems. Obviously not having been on track before you're going to have some little things here and there that you'll have to fix, but it's been pretty smooth. It's impressed quite a few people for sure.
What are the differences between the Mustang and the Porsche you raced in the Rolex 24 with last year?
At first I wasn't sure how it would handle compared to the Porsche, the Mustang being a front-engine car when the Porsche was rear-engined and had all of that weight in the rear. But I was really surprised at how it drove and I was really pleased with it.
Both yourself and Rick Ware Racing have a lot of NASCAR background, what can we expect from you in the Rolex Series?
We're fully committed. Rick has really surprised a lot of people already with all of the effort that he's put into it. Just looking at the car and how far it's come in such a short amount of time, even I was surprised at all of the efforts that were put into this program.
For myself, on the NASCAR side I always tend to do better on the road courses. I finished second in the K&N race at Watkins Glen; my first two Nationwide starts were at Watkins Glen and Montreal and I ran well at both of those events. Then coming here for the Rolex 24 last year, we may have not had a car that was competitive for the win, but for a first-time team coming in and finishing 11th, I didn't think it was that bad of a result considering how strong the GT field was. We were a respectable first-time team, but this year I think we're fully capable of being a podium team, and I'm not expecting anything less.
Did you have any sports car background before you started competing in the Rolex Series?
Not really. I really liked the road racing in stock cars, it's a lot better than running in circles all day. You get to bang gears, heel-and-toe and all of that other stuff associated with sports car racing. It's neat to learn and it's neat to try new things. When the idea came up last year to run the Rolex 24, I went out to California and got to learn how to heel-and-toe and these other things and I had a lot of fun with it. Everyone seemed to be impressed with my driving and seemed to think I was a decent road course driver. Even yesterday when I got in the car I ran pretty respectable lap times and I hadn't even been in a car since last year's Rolex. I'm excited to get more time behind the wheel and see what we can really do.
How was the experience of your first Rolex 24 last year?
It's a whole different world here for sure. I remember going to the first driver meeting for last year's Roar Before the 24 and I came in wearing a hood and blue jeans. Everyone else was in their sponsor jackets...I kind of felt out of place. But really it's just race car drivers that want to race and that's no different than what you have on the NASCAR side. It's just a different style of it. I actually like GRAND-AM more because it's so relaxed and so fan friendly. We have all of these boy scouts out here and they can just walk up to you and get your autograph. There's no hassle. Even at the races fans can get right up there in the action, and that's something you don't get in any other series. That's why I love GRAND-AM, because it's so friendly and they really cater to the people that care about the sport.
What are your thoughts about the current state of the GT class with all of these new cars, teams and drivers?
It's really cool. I was shocked to see all of these drivers. I'm happy because there's more competition and it makes us as drivers step up our game and push even harder. There's several stacked teams with excellent drivers so we have our work cut out for us. But it's a 24-hour race and you have to make it to the end. That's what we have to keep preaching to ourselves. We did that last year and we made it to the end and that's the important part. This is an endurance race, not a sprint.
Is it different for you as a GT driver having to yield to the faster Daytona Prototypes?
I'm definitely not used to letting people go. Those prototypes are so much quicker. It's funny, your spotter will come on and tell you they're 15 car-lengths back and then next you know they're right on you. It's really neat. Again, it adds more excitement for me because it's something different. It's like the Trucks running against the Cup cars, that's how great the difference is.
Do you think at all about the history of the Earnhardt family name when you come to race at Daytona?
My grandpa was phenomenal here. The entire Earnhardt family has been successful at superspeedways and especially here at Daytona. Just to be here racing period, whether it's the road course or the oval, it's a lot of fun. It's a cool feeling walking around and seeing all of these old pictures of my grandfather at the Daytona 500, and my uncle...it's pretty cool.
You were selected for this Q&A by our followers on Facebook and Twitter. Here is a question from one of our followers:
When are you going to learn how to Tweet? @48Horseshoe
Haha. I've been trying. I have a few of my friends who are involved in PR in racing and they keep telling me ‘You've got to tweet, you've got to tweet' and they've even offered to do it for me. I don't know, Facebook is hard enough. I'm not really that good with computers. I'm still learning how to do the whole tweeting thing... I guess I'm going to have to keep working on it now.
I'm going to have to step up my tweeting game.
GRAND-AM.com will be doing a special Q&A each day during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 and fans can pick the drivers! Follow us on Twitter at @RolexSeries and @CT_Challenge, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GRANDAMRoadRacing to nominate your favorite driver and get the chance to ask a question!
October 31, 2011
While the additions of Ferrari's F458 Italia and the Audi R8 LMS to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series grid have taken the bulk of the attention as of late, there’s another high-profile entry that could eclipse both of those efforts, with a famous racing name to boot.
Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, has been confirmed as the lead driver in Rick Ware Racing’s GT class program, which will see the Thomasville, N.C.-based team field as many as three cars in the production-based ranks next year.
Following his sportscar debut at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, which saw the fourth-generation driver finish a respectable 11th in class in a RWR-entered Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, Earnhardt is looking forward to mounting a full-season attack in one of the team’s new GT-class Ford Mustangs.
“I’ve always wanted to run for a championship,” Earnhardt said. “I thought we were going to be able to do it in the Truck Series but we had a sponsor pull out on us. It ended up being a bad deal there.
“Rick brought this to me and said, ‘Hey, let’s go run for a championship.’ I wanted to do something full [season] and not do it halfway. I definitely like the opportunity and I think our chances are good.”
Ware confirmed last month that they will build a pair of Prep 2 Mustangs, with technical assistance coming from Roush-Yates, for the 2012 season.
The in-house build, which Ware calls a cross between a Trans-Am and NASCAR stock car, is scheduled to be completed in time for testing at Daytona next month before returning to the famed high banks next year for the 50th Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“A year and a half ago, I could start seeing the writing on the wall,” Ware said. “That’s why we got involved a year ago and ran the Rolex 24. With NASCAR being a parent company, I knew how they would go about attracting manufacturers. That’s what’s kept them strong while going through all of these storms in motorsports lately.”
While Earnhardt’s co-drivers have yet to be announced, Ware said they could end up fielding as many as three cars during the Rolex Series season, with its Porsche Cup car likely being put back into action for the twice-around-the-clock Florida classic.
RWR's Mustangs are not considered a factory effort, but the NASCAR team owner is confident in having a strong package for next year, especially with Roush-Yates horsepower.
They’ll no doubt have fierce competition from the likes of Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, Audi, Chevrolet and Mazda in the highly competitive GT ranks, which appears to keep getting stronger by the week.
“The fact that they’re all coming makes it way harder to shine,” Ware said of the competition. “But the upside is that it’s going to be strong for the series, great for the manufacturers. It’s going to force manufacturers to get more involved to make a name for themselves.
“They’re going to continue competing for that market share and have an interest. And when manufacturers have an interest, the dollars will be there to keep racing. I think it’s fantastic. They’ve done a great job promoting it and I think it really is the road racing version of NASCAR.”
For Earnhardt, who plans to also continue driving in select Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races next year, the opportunity to prove himself not only as a driver, but as a road racer, comes as his next biggest challenge.
“I feel like I’m comfortable enough as a driver,” he said. “With a little bit more testing, I could compete with a lot of these guys. And with a good co-driver, we could sit on podiums and win races. I’m excited to see how the season is going to go.”
Jeffrey Earnhardt has watched his family have their way with Talladega Superspeedway for decades. The youngest family member climbed into his #1 Poynt Chevy Silverado with the intentions of carrying on that tradition, this time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Earnhardt qualified in the 28th position and showed just how quick his truck was in the draft by moving into the 13th position on lap number two.
As the racing became dicey early, Earnhardt decided to drop near the rear but that became costly as he was caught up in an 8 truck wreck on lap 13.
"I dropped to the bottom to miss the wreck but got tagged in the right rear as I hit the apron and it ended our day," stated Earnhardt.
"The truck was great and we were trying to buy sometime til the end of the race but when trucks start wrecking at 190mph, there is just no where to go."
Earnhardt finished 34th on the day.
Jeffrey will now put his focus on the 2012 Grand AM Series preparations. "I was hoping to put a great finish on the 2011 season before focusing on next year. We had everything we needed but luck. I can't thank Poynt and the RWR team for everything they did for the weekend."