Jeffrey Earnhardt announced Wednesday morning that he has parted ways with sponsor iK9 and the Joe Gibbs Racing team. The unlikely pairing announced before the season that he would run a handful of races in the #18 car surprised everyone. Unfortunately, Earnhardt’s announcement isn’t really a surprise to anyone.
Earnhardt issued that statement Wednesday morning. After he announced the team/sponsor would be skipping the Xfinity Daytona race in July many thought then that was the end of the relationship. Earnhardt hasn’t been in the car since Chicagoland. The sponsor he brought to JGR, iK9, was on the car just last weekend with Kyle Busch in the Xfinity Series.
iK9 issued their own statement on Twitter to fans who complained about the company cutting ties with Earnhardt;
So according to iK9, it was Earnhardt who terminated the relationship. At this point, it’s just both sides being very vague as to what is actually happening. What is happening though is we’re on the verge of whoever runs the iK9 account going full Rich Energy.
Earnhardt earned 2 Top-10’s and 1 Top-5 this season with JGR, he also scored another Top 10 with XCI Racing which was owned by iK9. His season consisted of only 7 races but he showed signs of being competitive. It’s hard to get in a car after weeks off, there’s something to be said about a regular schedule. Could Earnhardt have done better? Sure, and he’d likely say that but something doesn’t line up here.
iK9 will be on the #18 this weekend at Mid-Ohio with Jack Hawksworth behind the wheel of the Toyota Supra. Apparently, they will continue their support of the team. Questions still remain about the funding, where their money is coming from if their foundation is even real and just how soon they’ll become the next DC Solar.
This story is far from over.
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