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Jeffrey Earnhardt parts ways with sponsor IK9, won’t race at Mid-Ohio for JGR

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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:

iK9 will back Hailie Deegan in six ARCA starts

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Hailie Deegan has landed iK9 as a supporter for her six scheduled starts in the ARCA Menards Series this season.

Deegan will make her series debut at Toledo Speedway on May 19.

The canine security services and training company will be a primary sponsor of Deegan in the May 31 race at Pocono Raceway and an associate sponsor in the remaining five races.

After Toledo and Pocono, Deegan will compete at Madison International Speedway (June 14), Elko Speedway in New Market, Minnesota (July 13), Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana (Oct. 5) and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 18).

iK9 will make its debut with Deegan ahead of the ARCA races as her primary sponsor in the April 6 K&N Pro Series East race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to build my NASCAR career and I’m extremely proud to represent iK9 along with Toyota, TRD, Monster Energy and Craftsman,” Deegan said in a press release. “Partnerships are key to earning these kinds of opportunities, and iK9’s mission appeals to who I want to be as a racer and also as a person.”

Deegan competes full-time in the K&N Pro Series West. She won the season-opener in Las Vegas on a last-lap pass to earn her second career victory.

The next K&N West race is March 30 at Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, California.

iK9 has been aggressive in its sponsorship in NASCAR so far this season. It serves as a primary sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota in the Xfinity Series and sponsored last weekend’s Xfinity race at ISM Raceway.