A few months after losing his ride for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Jeffrey Earnhardt has a spot in the Daytona 500.
Earnhardt will pilot StarCom Racing’s No. 00 in the season-opening Daytona 500 and for the full season, the team announced Tuesday (Jan. 30).
StarCom Racing, which debuted toward the end of 2017 with driver (and team manager) Derrike Cope, recently obtained a charter for the 2018 season, meaning it is locked into the Daytona 500 and the rest of the 36-race schedule.
“I am so appreciative of everyone at StarCom Racing and VRX for having confidence in me and making this a reality,” Earnhardt said in a press release. “There’s been an Earnhardt driving in the 500 for 39 years, so to be able to keep that streak going for a 40th year means a lot to me, and I’m sure a lot of Earnhardt fans are going to be happy to hear this news.”
Earnhardt’s entry in the Daytona 500 means the Earnhardt name will continue its streak of having at least one entrant in the series’ biggest race. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Earnhardt’s uncle, retired from the series at the end of 2017.
Previously, he was slated to return to the No. 33 team for which he drove in 2017, owned by Circle Sport and The Motorsports Group. However, Circle Sport owner Joe Falk parted ways with TMG at the end of 2017, taking his charter to Go FAS Racing.
TMG has not announced its plans for 2018.
In Earnhardt’s first full-time season in the Cup Series in 2017, he finished the year 36th in points, running 34 of the 36 races (Boris Said stepped in for the road courses). His best finish was 26th three times.
StarCom, meanwhile, ran two races at the end of 2017 with Cope, with a best finish of 32nd.