Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jeffrey Earnhardt gets the chance of a lifetime at Richmond

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs.

When you think of the name Earnhardt, you either think Dale Earnhardt Sr. or Dale Jr.

On Friday, Jeffrey Earnhardt will make his first start with JR Motorsports. Earnhardt will be driving the No. 5 at Richmond for his uncle Earnhardt Jr. I feel this opportunity is a big break for the young Earnhardt, who’s starting to make his name in the racing business.

But it’s not always easy racing in NASCAR; money and sponsorship can be hard to find. For Earnhardt, getting this big break from his uncle could hopefully open doors. JRM is powered by Hendrick Motorsports engines, one of the top teams in this sport. With great equipment like that, I’m anxious to see how well the young Earnhardt will run.

When I look at Jeffrey's opportunity, I in ways picture how Earnhardt Jr. got his start in this sport: by racing for his dad’s company. Then he went on to race in Cup, and is now racing for Hendrick Motorsports.

I look at the opportunity the younger Earnhardt has, and I see it as a new generation of Earnhardt beginning to take flight. After getting this chance to race for JRM, a known race team, I feel Jeffrey is going to get the recognition needed to make it in this sport.

There’s also another aspect to look at: the value of family. NASCAR has and always will be a family sport, and family always sticks together.

JRM hasn’t had the best of luck the last two seasons: when former driver Brad Keselowski left, the success seemed to leave with Keselowski. Last season also saw the fallout of the Eurys' departure from the team, which caused big changes at JRM for 2013 with the arrival of Regan Smith. So far this season, JRM is second in the point standings.

As for the younger Earnhardt, he hasn’t had the chance to run with a team like JRM. He is running for Rookie of the Year in Nationwide and was set to drive for Go Green Racing. However, due to sponsoring conflicts, his races have been limited.

Racing for JRM gives Jeffrey the chance to show his true potential, whether he gets a ride full-time with them, or the chance of him catching the eyes of another team looking for a young driver. The whole reason Earnhardt Jr. started his team is to give upcoming drivers a chance.

For his nephew Jeffrey, I see this as the chance of a lifetime for the younger Earnhardt. A chance to show his true racing skills. 

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