Earnhardt Back in #18 iK9 Toyota Supra at Charlotte

Jeffrey Earnhardt: Driver, No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra
NASCAR Xfinity Series Overview

Event:  Alsco 300 (Round 11 of 33)
Date:  May 25, 2019
Location:  Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway
Layout:  1.5-mile oval

Jeffrey Earnhardt Notes of Interest

●  The Alsco 300 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway is the 11th event of the 33-race NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule and the fifth race of the 2019 season for Jeffrey Earnhardt. He will drive the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).

●  Joining iK9 on the No. 18 Toyota Supra will be the USO. The USO is a private, nonprofit organization strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.

●  Earnhardt has made five Xfinity Series starts at Charlotte with a best finish of 25th on May 24, 2014 in the History 300. The 29-year-old driver looks to rebound after his last race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway where he was caught up in an accident while battling for the lead with just three laps remaining.

●  In the second race of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Earnhardt raced to a sixth-place finish. It was his best Xfinity Series result in 68 career starts, with his previous best being a 12th-place effort on Aug. 22, 2014 in the Food City 300 at Bristol and again on May 2, 2015 in the Winn-Dixie 300 at Talladega.


●  Earnhardt’s result at Atlanta was his best career finish across 153 combined starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series. His previous best finish was seventh on Feb. 18, 2011 in the season-opening Truck Series race at Dayton (Fla.) International Speedway.

●  Earnhardt kicked off the 2019 season with a 15th-place result at Daytona after starting from the second position and leading a career-high 29 laps. He followed that up a week later with his sixth-place drive at Atlanta.

●  In the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona, Earnhardt qualified second and led the first 29 laps, making him the first driver to put the new Toyota Supra into the lead of an Xfinity Series race. Earnhardt’s second-place qualifying effort earned him his best starting spot in 152 career starts across the NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series. And Earnhardt’s 29 laps led were more than he had led in 15 previous races at Daytona in the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series.

Jeffrey Earnhardt, Driver of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra

You have two top-10 finishes in four Xfinity Series starts this year and you have run up front in each event. What do you and the No. 18 iK9 team have to do to get that coveted first win?

“The start of this season has really been a learning opportunity for me and a chance to get a better understanding of the JGR Xfinity program. It’s easy to run up front when you’re in the best equipment out there, but there are 30 other cars out on track and you can’t control what they do, so we have to be on our game the whole time and know that we’re making the right calls for ourselves. I think we’re at a good point now to say that we can contend for wins. We’ve been to each type of track now with the exception of a road course, so we have plenty of info we can add to the playbook the team already has from their past success. I feel like we’re close, but there is always something to work on. We’ll go to Charlotte, qualify well and run up front. The next piece of the puzzle is to finish the job, and we’ve got a group of guys capable of that on this iK9 Toyota team.” 

Ben Beshore, Crew Chief of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Team

What do you hope to see out of Earnhardt and the No. 18 iK9 team this weekend in Charlotte?

“Jeffrey has done a great job this season. He has shown that he can race hard, but make smart decisions to get himself up front. Like he said, we just need to be there at the end and complete the job at hand. That’s something that the whole team is responsible for. He’s behind the wheel of the iK9 Toyota Supra, but it’s a team effort. We have to give him what he needs to have that chance on the last lap, and we’re prepared to do that. I think we’d love to do that on any weekend, but it would mean a lot more to do it in Charlotte in front of our family and friends.”

Jeffrey Earnhardt Charlotte Series 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



●  iK9 is a global leader in canine security services and training. The company offers comprehensive canine solutions with professional handler education for celebrities, veterans, government agencies and military. iK9’s primary focus is furnishing dogs to special operations units and providing top-tier training, but iK9-trained dogs are most often seen with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and police departments collectively making the country safe and secure. Guided by a commitment to deliver highly disciplined and well-bred dogs to customers around the world, iK9 employs industry-intelligent expertise utilizing the latest in canine science and technology. With an expansive network of canine professionals and enthusiasts, iK9 clients are empowered with the skills and support necessary to utilize their highly-specialized working dogs with the utmost confidence.

The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support. The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners, and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.

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