Jeffrey Earnhardt clinches maiden pole at Talladega

Jeffrey Earnhardt clinches maiden pole at Talladega

Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson to Dale Earnhardt, won his maiden pole in the No. 3 car for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

In the last round of Xfinity Series qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday, Earnhardt, the grandson of NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Sr. and nephew of fellow Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr., set the quickest average lap speed (182.560 mph).

The 32-year old, who was third fastest in the first round, won his first career pole by edging his RCR teammate Austin Hill (182.351 mph). The had announced earlier this month that Earnhardt would ride in the legendary No. 3 Chevrolet for the first time in Saturday’s race.

“I tell you, this is unbelievable, man,” Earnhardt said.

“This has been a dream of mine for years to get this opportunity and everything has fallen in place. The good Lord has taken care of us.

“All the guys at RCR – it’s more them than it is me,” Earnhardt added. “They’ve proven time and time again they bring fast cars to superspeedways… not a bad starting spot, we’re going to try to keep her there all race.”

“Hopefully, we can put this thing in Victory Lane.”

After completing the fastest lap in the first round, Ty Gibbs, who had earned three straight poles, finished third in the final round. Daniel Hemric finished fifth, and Sheldon Creed was fourth.

Landon Cassill, Ryan Vargas, Kaz Grala, Drew Dollar, and Ryan Sieg round out the top ten.

Jeffrey has raced in all three NASCAR national series – Cup, Xfinity, and Trucks  and is now competing in Xfinity with Sam Hunt Racing on a part-time basis. His best finish so far this year has been 13th at Atlanta in March.

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Earnhardt has 76 Cup starts, 10 Truck starts, and 135 Xfinity starts. He had his greatest season in 2019, when he competed in five races for Joe Gibbs Racing and finished third for the first time in his career at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I have to thank Richard (Childress, team owner) for giving me the opportunity to drive the No. 3,” Earnhardt said.

“It’s something we’ve been trying to put together for years.”

Earnhardt Sr. won six of his seven Cup series championships with RCR, tying for the most in NASCAR history. Earnhardt Jr. won three Xfinity races with RCR during his career, including the summer Daytona race in 2010.

Larry McReynolds, who was Earnhardt Sr crew chief when he won his only Daytona 500 in 1998, is this weekend’s crew chief for Jeffrey Earnhardt. McReynolds presently works for Fox Sports as a TV analyst.

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