Jeffrey Earnhardt is heading to the dirt tracks
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Jeffrey Earnhardt is set to run the remainder of the 2018 NASCAR Playoffs schedule. He’s currently piloting the #96 for Gaunt Brothers Racing on the asphalt circuit.
Come January, Earnhardt is set to jump behind the wheel of a dirt car. He made the announcement over the weekend that he’ll be heading the biggest dirt midget race in the world.
Jeffrey Earnhardt will enter the 2019 Chili Bowl Nationals.
“I come from an open wheel background,” Jeffrey Earnhardt told Lee Spencer of RacinBoys.com during the NASCAR race week at Las Vegas. “That’s where I first started. But, I’ve never run an open wheel car.
“Just to be able to go and compete there is a huge accomplishment. Hell, if it goes good or it doesn’t go good, it’s still something you can check off your bucket list.”
The Chili Bowl Nationals doesn’t pay a lot but it’s a huge race regardless. It’s an event that’s basically sold out forever. Yearly renewals take up a bulk of the grandstand seating.
You essentially have to be grandfathered into grandstand tickets as only a handful are available each year. Most fans just buy a pit pass to attend the event. It creates a sea of race fans throughout the entirety of the complex. The open seating that’s available, fills up in a hurry.
“Hopefully, JJ [Yeley] can give me some pointers and we’re at least decent when we show up. I don’t know if Karsyn Elledge is going to go or not. But, that’s going to be embarrassing if she whoops my ass.”
Karsyn Elledge is the 17-year-old daughter of Kelley Earnhardt Miller. Kelley Earnhardt is the daughter of Dale Earnhardt. Elledge has been racing for several years and recently made the transition to dirt track racing.
“Hopefully, it’s something we continue to do every year until I’m making it to the A Main. There’s a bunch of cars that show up. A bunch of guys that are really talented in them cars. It’s not an easy thing to do, to make it to an A Main.”
Jeffrey Earnhardt will pilot the Xtreme Concepts sponsored dirt midget machine. The company signed on for 14-races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level earlier this year. Now, they are dipping their toes in the dirt racing scene.
JJ Yeley is preparing the car for Earnhardt in the famed dirt race. Yeley will be running a car of his own in the Chili Bowl event as well. Yeley will also be running the Gateway Dirt Nationals in St. Louis, Missouri in the weeks leading up to the Chili Bowl Nationals event.
“Definitely not going to go cold turkey. I told him if I was going to run it I wanted to at least go practice somewhere. At least go race somewhere as well. It’s really hard to find somewhere that’s exactly like the Chili Bowl. He [Yeley] named a couple opportunities to go and get some test sessions in.”
On the cup side, Jeffrey Earnhardt feels positive about his NASCAR Cup Series program with Gaunt Brothers Racing. He feels the car has been improved in recent weeks. In addition, he spent time in the simulator leading up to Las Vegas.
Earnhardt feels the team has made major improvements on the race car. They clicked off his best 1.5-mile finish of the season on Sunday with a 25th place run.
Night one of the Chili Bowl Nationals will begin on January 14th, 2019. The Tulsa, Oklahoma dirt race is hosted indoors.
“Hopefully it doesn’t bite me in the ass. I think it will be fun though,” Jeffrey Earnhardt concluded.