We all knew something may be up with iK9 and Jeffrey Earnhardt when the two didn’t show up to the July Daytona race as originally planned. Now, they won’t show up together for this weekend’s race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course either.
iK9 will still be on the No. 18 Toyota still, but not with Earnhardt, grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr., as the driver. Earnhardt, announced via social media on Wednesday morning that he no longer will be in the ride for the future either.
Just wanted to let ya’ll know that iK9 and I have parted ways and wanted to thank them for the opportunity to race with @JoeGibbsRacing & @ToyotaRacing . Wish them the best in their future. — Jeffrey Earnhardt (@JEarnhardt1) August 7, 2019
That has everyone speculation as to why. I mean Earnhardt brought this sponsorship to Joe Gibbs Racing and now the sponsorship is staying but not the driver. Earnhardt and his team are sticking with his initial statement while the sponsor says it was Earnhardt who walked away from the team instead.
Jeffrey canceled his contract with us. Please direct your frustration to his page. — iK9 (@iK9_Global) August 7, 2019
You would need to ask Jeffrey. His lawyer requested his contract to be canceled. We accepted and moved to do the best for our organization. We wish Jeffrey the best of luck, he hopefully will have big news in the future to tell us all. — iK9 (@iK9_Global) August 7, 2019
This is a bizarre saga as I don’t know why Earnhardt would step away from such a good opportunity. This season Earnhardt was to be driving a partial schedule with powerhouse JGR in the XFINITY Series all with Xtreme Concepts’ company iK9 adorning the car, as they’re sponsoring a significant chunk of the season at 24 of the 33 races. Cup drivers Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin will also drive the car, while NXS regular Brandon Jones will have his No. 19 Supra in iK9 colors for two races as well.
Additionally, Earnhardt will drive the No. 81 Supra in five more XFINITY Series races for XCI Racing, a new company under the Xtreme Concepts banner, and the two Cup races at Talladega Superspeedway, not far from Xtreme Concepts’ home base of Birmingham, Alabama.
In the Cup races Earnhardt will pilot the No. 81 Camry, and in both series XCI Racing will have support from JGR to filed competitive cars.
He had three top 10 finishes in seven tries and looked like he was starting to hit a stride. The whole timing of this is bizarre.