If you had Jeffrey Earnhardt going to Joe Gibbs Racing in you “where will Jeffrey end up pool” you’re a liar.
Jeffrey will drive nine Xfinity races with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2019, the team announced Saturday. Xtreme Concepts will serve as the sponsor. That is the same sponsor that has been with him on the #96 Cup car in the second half of the season. All of this is 100% true, we fact-checked multiple times.
Earnhardt will make his debut in the No. 18 Toyota Supra on Feb. 16 in the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway. The site of his career best Cup Series finish of 11th. Details on the rest of his schedule will be announced before the start of the 2019 season.
Jeffrey Earnhardt is an actual Joe Gibbs Racing driver now. How the hell did this happen? Well first off money is the main factor. That’s not to disparage Jeff’s driving ability but let’s be honest here, he’s not a top talent. Gibbs has Kyle Benjamin and Drew Herring under a test/sim contract and both of those drivers have a bigger upside than Jeff. Kyle Busch is going to be giving Jeffrey tips. All of this is lunacy.
Statistically speaking Jeffrey’s resume isn’t something you’d write home about. No Top 10’s in the Cup or Xfinity Series. His last full season of Xfinity action in 2014 with JD Motorsports he had an average finish of 26.3. However, his average start was 28.4 so he did gain in most races which is really what you’re looking for.
Still, though, that feels like we’re grasping for something. Then again Ryan Preece didn’t have the most glorious resume before his two-race deal with Gibbs when he stormed onto the scene. Jeffrey is taking Preece’s lead and “betting on himself” in the hopes of better future opportunities. So far it has worked for Preece and Ross Chastain. Both took a chance and both have full-time competitive rides for 2019.
Toyota was pumped when Gibbs first came to the table. “We got Earnhardt” and the TRD execs looked on with a glow in their eyes. “Jeffrey Earnhardt!” and that glow faded. The marketing team will be slapping Earnhardt on everything. Hell Jeff might get his own commercial.
Like the rest of you, I’m still scratching my head. This is the weirdest out of the blue signing since Gibbs ran Kenny Habul and JRM ran Greg Sacks in 2010.
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