Jeffrey Earnhardt driving for his uncle's Nationwide Series team this week at Richmond International Raceway will be a big career boost for him.
Earnhardt, the son of Kerry Earnhardt and grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt, will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide race at Richmond. His uncle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and aunt, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, are part owners of JRM.
The 23-year-old Earnhardt is scheduled to make his 16th career Nationwide start but his first for JRM. He has five starts this season, driving the No. 79 Ford for Go Green Racing. His career-best finish in NASCAR's second-tier series is 19th, which came in the July 2011 race at Daytona.
"Just being here at Richmond and having this opportunity with JR Motorsports is more than exciting to me," Earnhardt said.
In addition to his racing career, Earnhardt is a mixed martial arts competitor. He has been in the MMA for almost a year now.
The Earnhardt family has 12 NASCAR national touring series victories at Richmond, including three Sprint Cup Series wins for Dale Jr. and five for Dale Sr.
"To be a part of something so great is a huge honor, and I hope that I can carry the Earnhardt name as well as I possibly can," Jeffrey Earnhardt said. "It is pressure, but it seems like over the years, it's something that I've been able to deal with a lot better than I would have thought.
"Everyone always expects you to come to the track and be one of the fastest or to win the race. It's not always like that. I'm out here learning just like everyone else."
The 250-lap Nationwide race at Richmond is scheduled for Friday night. Teams practiced here on Thursday, with Earnhardt posting the 13th fastest lap.
"I feel we're capable of being a top-10 car, if not a top-five car, by the end of the race tomorrow night," he said.
Forty-six teams are on the entry list for the ToyotaCare 250. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski are those Sprint Cup regulars scheduled to compete in this event. Busch has won four of the first six Nationwide races this season.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, April 26. Race: ToyotaCare 250. Site: Richmond International Raceway. Track: 0.75-mile oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 250. Miles: 187.5. 2012 Winner: Kurt Busch Television: ESPNews. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.