One of the biggest questions of the NASCAR Xfinity Series now has an answer. Jeffrey Earnhardt has secured a part-time schedule at Sam Hunt Racing having previously left JD Motorsports with Gary Keller.
The Xfinity Series team made the announcement on Friday, January 14 during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The team said during the segment that Earnhardt’s tentative schedule in the #26 Toyota Supra covers seven of the 33 races. SHR then provided further information with a press release, confirming that ForeverLawn will make the move with Earnhardt.
“Having Jeffrey join Sam Hunt Racing is really exciting for our entire team and the Toyota Racing family,” team owner Sam Hunt said in a statement. “Jeffrey is a great guy and I’ve always admired the way he carries himself on and off the track. He’s a great person and his sponsors at ForeverLawn align in many ways with what SHR stands for. It’s going to be a fun season with him and the ForeverLawn team and we look forward to getting to work.”
Earnhardt announced on November 9, 2021 that he would be leaving JD Motorsports with Gary Keller. He stated at the time that he wanted to fight for victories and would remain open to both full-time and part-time opportunities. Now he will join a team that in 2021 consisted of eight riders with two top 10s and one top 5 finish.
Earnhardt has competed primarily in Chevrolets during his NASCAR career, dating back to his time with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. However, he struggled while driving a Toyota in 2019.
Earnhardt joined Joe Gibbs Racing for seven races in that one-off season, split between the No. 18 and No. 81. He achieved top-10 finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway before settling at Charlotte third place secured Motor Speedway.
In addition to his time with Joe Gibbs Racing, Earnhardt also competed in the Cup Series in a Toyota while driving for BK Racing in 2016 and Gaunt Brothers Racing in 2018.
“I am very happy to be back in the Toyota warehouse. My experience with them so far has been incredible and they do a great job of supporting their drivers,” Earnhardt said in a statement. “Sam and I have developed a lovely friendship over the years and I am impressed by what he has achieved in a short space of time. I feel like we share the same work ethic and we both work hard to achieve our dreams.
“Having ForeverLawn in our corner is truly a gift. They have become my family and our relationship goes well beyond racing. We have three like-minded parties working together toward a common goal. It will be an exciting year.”
With Earnhardt joining SHR for the upcoming season, he is now the second driver with solid starts in the #26. He joins Ryan Truex, who will take charge of the Toyota Supra in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.
SHR announced Truex as the first driver of the #26 on Thursday, January 13th. The team said the New Jersey native will be returning to the Xfinity series for the first time since the 2019 season and will have Circle B Diecast as his main partner at Daytona.
Truex’s current schedule only includes the beef. It’s what’s for dinner. 300 at Daytona International Speedway. However, SHR said Jan. 13 that the goal is to allow Truex additional launches during the season.
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