Just two months into the 2019 NASCAR season, Jeffrey Earnhardt is already having a career year. The fourth-generation racer led a career-high 29 laps in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, scored a career-best finish of sixth in the Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, earned stage points in each of his three Xfinity Series races this year, and secured back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in his career across any series with his sixth-place run at Atlanta and his eighth-place drive at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
This weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway marks another milestone for Earnhardt as the grandson of seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. competes in both the Xfinity Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. In his first time pulling double duty, Earnhardt will pilot the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in Saturday’s Money Lion 300 Xfinity Series race before climbing into the No. 81 Xtreme Concepts Racing Toyota Camry for Sunday’s GEICO 500 where he’ll make first NASCAR Cup Series start of 2019.
It’s a first on two fronts, as the start comes with Xtreme Concepts Racing (XCI Racing), which will make its Cup debut at Talladega. The team prepared for its maiden Cup race by fielding an entry for Earnhardt in the Xfinity Series race a month ago in Texas, finishing a solid eighth.
Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega will be Earnhardt’s first at the 2.66-mile oval since May 2, 2015 when he finished 12th in the Winn-Dixie 300. It will also be his first Cup race since last October at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Talladega is a fitting location for this double-duty attempt because of its long-standing connection to the Earnhardt name. Dale Jr. won six Cup Series races and one Xfinity Series race at Talladega while Dale Sr. set the bar with 10 Cup Series victories and one Xfinity Series win. The father-son duo made 79 combined Cup Series starts at Talladega with 35 top-fives and 44 top-10s and 12 combined Xfinity Series starts with seven top-fives and 10 top-10s.
While adding to his family’s winning legacy at Talladega would certainly be a career-defining moment, Jeffrey Earnhardt is more focused on capitalizing on what he has referred to as the best opportunity of his career. And with a JGR-prepared Toyota Supra on Saturday and an XCI Racing-prepared Toyota Camry on Sunday, Earnhardt gets to double down at ‘Dega.
And it won’t just be on the track where Xtreme Concepts will make its presence known. The Birmingham, Alabama-based company will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Wi-Fi in the new Talladega Garage Experience, which opens during the track’s fall race in October. The Talladega Garage Experience Wi-Fi presented by Xtreme Concepts will allow fans to be immersed in the sport of NASCAR like never before, as it will cover the entire 140,000 square-foot Talladega Garage Experience and provide “locker-room” access via walkways inside the NASCAR Cup Series garage along with an open-air social club, new victory lane and fan engagement areas.