Jeffrey Earnhardt will get another crack at a full NASCAR Xfinity Series season in 2023 as he becomes the permanent driver of Alpha Prime Racing‘s #44 Chevrolet Camaro. The team announced the signing on Tuesday, making him their first full-timer since co-owner Tommy Joe Martins ran the entire 2020 and 2021 seasons under the previous identity of Martins Motorsports.
“We’re so excited to have Jeffrey with us next season,” said Martins. “Jeffrey has been a competitor and a friend to me for a few years now. When Caesar (Bacarella, co-owner) and I started this team last year, we both talked about having Jeffrey at the top of our roster. To see this all come together for 2023, he and I both feel like we finally got our guy.”
Earnhardt previously contested the entire 2014 and 2021 Xfinity seasons for JD Motorsports, respectively finishing eighteenth and twenty-sixth in points. Outside of these years, he has mainly been a journeyman competing for multiple organisations.
In 2022, he ran thirteen Xfinity races for Sam Hunt Racing, Emerling-Gase Motorsports, and Richard Childress Racing. The RCR start came at Talladega and was a special occasion as he joined the team his family has long been involved with, used his grandfather Dale Earnhardt’s #3 at a track where the older Earnhardt saw much success, and won his first career pole before finishing second.
“I’m really pumped this came together with Tommy and Caesar,” Earnhardt commented. “We were evaluating different options and after speaking with them we knew this would be the perfect fit. They are making major moves to strengthen their programme and they made me feel welcomed. I’m fortunate to have my sponsors from last season continuing their support and we’ve got some new partners onboard. I’m looking forward to putting on that bowtie and leading this team to their first victory next season.”
Alpha Prime was formed from Martins Motorsports in 2022 and fielded the #44 and #45. Multiple drivers including Martins and Bacarella drove the two vehicles, with Josh Bilicki, Rajah Caruth, Howie DiSavino III, Ryan Ellis, Sage Karam, Kaz Grala, Andy Lally, Julia Landauer, and Stefan Parsons all making starts. Karam and Parsons scored a top ten in each car, with the former finishing fifth at Daytona in the #44 while the latter notched an eighth at Bristol in the #45. The #44 finished twenty-fifth in owner points, three spots ahead of its partner.
Karam and Ellis will return to the team in 2023 on part-time schedules.