Double Duty for Earnhardt at Dega

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 24, 2019) – Just two months into the 2019 NASCAR season, Jeffrey Earnhardt is already having a career year. The fourth-generation racer led a career-high 29 laps in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, scored a career-best finish of sixth in the Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, earned stage points in each of his three Xfinity Series races this year, and secured back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in his career across any series with his sixth-place run at Atlanta and his eighth-place drive at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

This weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway marks another milestone for Earnhardt as the grandson of seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. competes in both the Xfinity Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. In his first time pulling double duty, Earnhardt will pilot the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in Saturday’s Money Lion 300 Xfinity Series race before climbing into the No. 81 Xtreme Concepts Racing Toyota Camry for Sunday’s GEICO 500 where he’ll make first NASCAR Cup Series start of 2019.  

It’s a first on two fronts, as the start comes with Xtreme Concepts Racing (XCI Racing), which will make its Cup debut at Talladega. The team prepared for its maiden Cup race by fielding an entry for Earnhardt in the Xfinity Series race a month ago in Texas, finishing a solid eighth.

Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega will be Earnhardt’s first at the 2.66-mile oval since May 2, 2015 when he finished 12th in the Winn-Dixie 300. It will also be his first Cup race since last October at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.

Talladega is a fitting location for this double-duty attempt because of its long-standing connection to the Earnhardt name. Dale Jr. won six Cup Series races and one Xfinity Series race at Talladega while Dale Sr. set the bar with 10 Cup Series victories and one Xfinity Series win. The father-son duo made 79 combined Cup Series starts at Talladega with 35 top-fives and 44 top-10s and 12 combined Xfinity Series starts with seven top-fives and 10 top-10s.

While adding to his family’s winning legacy at Talladega would certainly be a career-defining moment, Jeffrey Earnhardt is more focused on capitalizing on what he has referred to as the best opportunity of his career. And with a JGR-prepared Toyota Supra on Saturday and an XCI Racing-prepared Toyota Camry on Sunday, Earnhardt gets to double down at ‘Dega.

And it won’t just be on the track where Xtreme Concepts will make its presence known. The Birmingham, Alabama-based company will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Wi-Fi in the new Talladega Garage Experience, which opens during the track’s fall race in October. The Talladega Garage Experience Wi-Fi presented by Xtreme Concepts will allow fans to be immersed in the sport of NASCAR like never before, as it will cover the entire 140,000 square-foot Talladega Garage Experience and provide “locker-room” access via walkways inside the NASCAR Cup Series garage along with an open-air social club, new victory lane and fan engagement areas.

Jeffrey Earnhardt, Driver Q&A
For the first time in your career, you’re pulling double duty. What can everyone expect from you at Talladega?
“Double duty will definitely be a new experience for me, but it’s something we’ve been preparing for. 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. If you look back at Texas, that was the first Xfinity race for Xtreme Concepts. We fought for position all day and ended up in the top-10 before it was all over. I think you can look at that and see we aren’t just here to finish. We’re here to finish up front and fight for every spot. It will be the same on Sunday.”You said at the beginning of the year that you were looking forward to returning to Talladega. Is this a track you’ve had circled on your calendar?
“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. 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.”Is there added pressure because of the Earnhardt family’s success at Talladega?
“This weekend is about putting on a great show and coming out of Talladega with two good finishes between Joe Gibbs Racing and Xtreme Concepts Racing. The support from these two groups has been amazing, and the best way for me to show that is to go out, take care of the equipment and be there at the end with a chance to win. We don’t know what to expect at Talladega. You never know how the race is going to play out, but if you can hang around and make it to those final laps, you’ve got a chance to take home a trophy. There have been a lot of learning moments this year and I’m sure we have some more coming, but we’ve had fast Toyotas and I know that isn’t going to be any different this week. ”
Jeffrey Earnhardt Talladega Performance Profile


No. 18 iK9 Team Roster
Primary Team Members:
Driver: Jeffrey Earnhardt

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Ben Beshore
Hometown: York, Pennsylvania

Car Chief: Chris Meyers
Hometown: Olney, Maryland
Race Engineer: Dustin Zacharyasz
Hometown: Berea, Ohio

Engine Tuner: Jesse Warren
Hometown: Mentor, Ohio

Spotter: Rick Carelli
Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Over-The-Wall Crew:
Front Tire Changer: Clay Robinson

Hometown: Simi Valley, California

Rear Tire Changer: Lee Cunningham
Hometown: Leaf River, Illinois    

Tire Carrier: Eric Groen
Hometown: Sioux Center, Iowa

Gas Man: Kenneth Purcell
Hometown: Savannah, Georgia

Jackman: David O’Dell
Hometown: Springfield, Illinois

Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: Steve Fiedler

Hometown: Yankton, South Dakota

Mechanic: Kevin Gladman
Hometown: Cadiz, Ohio

Mechanic: John Egbert
Hometown: Akron, Ohio

Tire Specialist: John Lanham
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

No. 81 Xtreme Racing Team Roster
Primary Team Members:
Driver: Jeffrey Earnhardt

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Jacob Canter
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Car Chief: Wesley Sherrill
Hometown: Robbinsville, North Carolina
Race Engineer: Levi Porter
Hometown: Wyben, Massachussetts

Race Engineer: Landon Foster
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Engine Tuner: Kirk Butterfield
Hometown: Carrollton, Ohio

Spotter: Mark Green
Hometown: Owensboro, Kentucky

Over-The-Wall Crew:
Front Tire Changer: Mike Mead

Hometown: Sherrills Ford, North Carolina

Rear Tire Changer: Jason Pulver
Hometown: Tucson, North Carolina

Tire Carrier: Matthew Mattern
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Gas Man: Ed Watkins
Hometown: Richmond, North Carolina

Jackman: Brad Donaghy
Hometown: Orange, Virginia

Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: David Charest

Hometown: Statesville, North Carolina

Truck Driver: Jerry Hess
Hometown: Huntersville, North Carolina

Mechanic: Jason Shapiro
Hometown: Newburgh, New York

Mechanic: Tom Peterson
Hometown: Burnett, Wisconsin

Mechanic: Zachary Miller
Hometown: Vista, California

Tire Specialist: Kerry Ferris
Hometown: Perry, New York