The remainder of the 2019 racing season for Jeffrey Earnhardt is unclear after the grandson of seven-time NASCAR champion and Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt tweeted this morning that he has “parted ways” with sponsor IK9.
IK9 had sponsored Earnhardt in five of his seven Xfinity Series starts this season. Those five races were in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Earnhardt’s other two Xfinity starts were for XCI Racing. IK9 also sponsored Earnhardt’s sole Cup start for XCI Racing this season at Talladega.
Earnhardt tweeted: “Just wanted to let ya’ll know that iK9 and I have parted ways and wanted to thank them for the opportunity to race with @JoeGibbsRacing & @ToyotaRacing. Wish them the best in their future.”
As recently as Aug. 5, Joe Gibbs Racing tweeted Earnhardt would be competing in this weekend’s Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
According to a JGR team statement, “IK9 remains a sponsor with us and will be on the car this weekend as scheduled. He (Earnhardt) is parting ways with IK9 as he indicated in his tweet. We will announce the driver for this weekend for the No. 18 IK9 Supra soon.”
The son of former racer Kerry Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeffrey Earnhardt has one top-five (a career-best third at Charlotte) and two other top-10 finishes (sixth at Atlanta, eighth at Texas) in his seven Xfinity starts this season. All three of those finishes were with JGR.
“Jeffrey has a great relationship with JGR and Toyota and that has not changed,” a Jeffrey Earnhardt Inc. spokesman said in an email to NBC Sports.
It’s unclear whether Wednesday’s news will impact the 30-year-old Earnhardt’s tenure with XCI Racing.
Earnhardt has 76 career Cup starts, 73 Xfinity starts, 10 Truck Series starts and has also competed on the Pinty’s (Canada), K&N East and Whelen Euro series.
IK9 issued this tweet Wednesday afternoon: