His famous uncle may have retired at the end of the 2017 season, but Jeffrey Earnhardt is doing all he can to keep the Earnhardt surname going in NASCAR in 2018.
Earnhardt, who lost his ride last month when The Motorsports Group parted ways with partner Circle Sport, is pursuing sponsorship for a 2018 Cup ride.
Earnhardt is a fourth-generation racer, preceded by great-grandfather Ralph, grandfather Dale Sr., father Kerry and uncle Dale Jr.
If the youngest member of the Earnhardt racing clan does not appear in the Daytona 500 — or any race in 2018, for that matter — it would mark the first time since 1975 that a member of the famous Earnhardt family has not appeared in at least one Cup race in a season.
It would also be the first time since 1979 that there hasn’t been an Earnhardt who has raced full-time in the Cup ranks.
According to a post on Jeffrey Earnhardt’s Facebook page by a crew member, “We found an incredible opportunity that requires a certain level of sponsorship to make things work. In a very short period of time we’ve put together most of the puzzle. Out of respect for all involved Jeffrey has to maintain confidentiality until there is 100% certainty in sponsorship. With the Daytona 500 not far away this deal has to come together in weeks not months. Urgency to execute is understatement.”
The Motorsports Group announced Tuesday that it is parting ways with Circle Sport, a “sudden” move decided upon by Circle Sport owner Joe Falk on Monday.
As Circle Sport with The Motorsports Group, the two managed the No. 33 Chevrolet primarily driven by Jeffrey Earnhardt in 2017. Boris Said drove it in two races.
TMG said it plans to field its own Chevrolet in 2018. It does not have a driver or sponsor attached yet.
“This is sudden for us, but we put a plan together rather quickly,” TMG owner Curtis Key Sr. said in a press release. “We’ve had discussions with potential drivers, but it’s only been a day since the news and we have more calls to make. We look to have a driver announce(d) in early January.”
Circle Sport owns the charter used on the No. 33. Circle Sport did not respond to a request for comment.
ESPN reports Earnhardt, the grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr., was released from a contract extension by the team and is in search of a ride.
Eddie Pardue will stay with TMG as crew chief. He assumed the duties on the No. 33 following the July Daytona race.
Earnhardt’s best finish in 34 starts was 26th three times.
Before the teams merged for 2017, The Motorsports Group fielded the No. 30 Chevrolet in 2016.
Brad Keselowski captured Stage 1 of Sunday’s Apache Warrior 400 at Dover International Speedway.
Keselowski led 29 of the stage’s 120 laps laps, while pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr. led all drivers with 47 laps led.
Kyle Busch ended the stage in second place, followed by Truex, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick.
Sixth through 10th were Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, David Ragan and Denny Hamlin.
This race marks the end of the first round of the NASCAR Cup playoffs. When the race ends, the four drivers lowest in the standings will be eliminated from advancing to the second round of the playoffs, which begin next Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
On Lap 86, Jeffrey Earnhardt lost control of his No. 33 Chevrolet while coming on to pit road. The grandson of NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt was coming in too hot, spun and backed into the sand barrels at the entrance to pit road.
The race was stopped under red flag conditions to allow crews to replace the wrecked barrels. See the video above of Earnhardt’s mishap.
The red flag lasted 15 minutes, 9 seconds before cars began moving again under a yellow caution flag.
Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, will honor his grandfather during Darlington Raceway’s upcoming second annual throwback weekend.
The fourth-generation racing member of the Earnhardt family will drive a Ford Fusion for Go Fas Racing in the Bojangles Southern 500 Sprint Cup race on Sept. 4 — televised live on NBC — that will carry a special paint scheme similar to the type his late grandfather drove in the 1981 Winston Cup season. The car will be sponsored by CorvetteParts.Net.
“Sometimes things just fall together at the right time,” Go Fas Racing owner Archie St. Hilaire said in a media release. “When we were going through the process of which paint scheme to run for this year’s race at Darlington, the idea of a tribute to Dale Earnhardt’s 1981 season stood out to all of us above the rest.
“Throw in the fact that we get to have Jeffrey showcase his family’s heritage and pay tribute to his grandfather as well, that’s just icing on the cake.”
Dale Earnhardt was one of the most popular and successful drivers in NASCAR history. He is tied with Richard Petty for most Cup championships (seven each), earned 76 wins, 22 poles, 281 top-five finishes and led 25,684 laps. He was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in its inaugural class of 2010.
“I’m pretty excited to have the famous yellow and blue paint scheme in honor of my grandfather for this year’s Southern 500,” Jeffrey Earnhardt said. “My grandfather ran this paint scheme in 1981, when he started the season as the No. 2 car driving for Rod Osterlund.
“When Richard Childress purchased the team halfway through the season it became the famous No. 3 car, so you have that 32 connection, so it’s pretty cool to have the chance to bring it back this year. I know we’ll have a lot of fun with it, and hope the all the great fans enjoy it as well.”
Jeffrey Earnhardt, son of Kerry Earnhardt and grandson of seven-time Sprint Cup champion Dale Earnhardt Sr, will set out on his rookie campaign in the Sprint Cup Series this year.
The 26-year-old will drive the No. 32 Ford Fusion for Go Fas Racing. Earnhardt made his Cup debut in 2015 with GFR and competed in two races in the No. 32.
Last week, GFR unveiled the Can-Am sponsored car Earnhardt will drive this season.
Can-Am is also the sponsor of the twin qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500.