When Jeffrey Earnhardt joined JD Motorsports for the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, it was supposed to only be for a fraction of the schedule. Twenty-nine races later, he will have the opportunity to run every event. On Monday, the team announced Earnhardt will drive the #0 Chevrolet Camaro on a full-time basis in 2021.
After skipping the first four races of the 2020 season, all of which were before the season was stopped due to COVID-19, Earnhardt went on to run the rest of the season in the #0. Two of his starts—both road course races at Indianapolis and Road America—came in the #15. Contesting what was his first major Xfinity action since he ran the full 2014 season for JDM, he finished twenty-third in points with thirteen top-twenty finishes and a best finish of eleventh at the Charlotte Roval in October.
“We got a late start and the plan was to run six to twelve races but something good was happening and by Bristol you could sense the momentum we were having,” Earnhardt stated. “We came home in 15th in our third race and that’s an accomplishment when just a few weeks earlier we had no plans to work together. We had great partners join us and the season had some real bright spots to build on.”
In 102 career Xfinity starts dating back to 2009, he has three top tens. His best finish was third on the Charlotte oval in 2019 with Joe Gibbs Racing. He has also made starts in the Camping World Truck and Cup Series, including running all but the road course races in the latter’s 2017 season en route to a thirty-sixth-place points finish.
“We are all aware we are underdogs,” Earnhardt added. “We’re prepared for the hard work it will take to make the playoffs and with additional sponsorship I think we’ll turn some heads. I’m really excited to return to the No. 0 and look forward to working with Johnny (Davis, team owner) to give the fans a ‘blue collar’ team to cheer for.”
Earnhardt, the nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and grandson of the great Dale Sr., is the second confirmed 2021 driver for JDM. A week prior, Colby Howard was promoted to a full-time schedule in the #15 car. The team has not revealed plans for their third car, the #4, since the departure of Jesse Little for B.J. McLeod Motorsports.