For the second race in a row, young Jeffrey Earnhardt has been yanked from his Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) ride in favor of another driver. Earnhardt is the great-grandson of racer Ralph Earnhardt, grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt, and son of Kerry Earnhardt.
Jeffrey Earnhardt is currently a development driver for DEI in the Camping World East series. Last year, Earnhardt competed for Andy Santerre Motorsports and finished fifth in the point standings under the tutelage of past champion Santerre.
Earnhardt also has the same charisma of his famous uncle Dale Earnhardt Jr. In 2007, he followed in his uncle's footsteps, winning the Most Popular Driver award at the end of that season.
Jeffrey has continued to hone his skills in the DEI stables and has been hanging around in the top ten in the point’s standings in the Camping World East series. He had been scheduled to run the full season of this series, as well as a few select Nationwide series races.
But inexplicably, young Earnhardt was pulled out of his No. 8 DEI ride at the Monster Mile in Dover. He was replaced by Aric Almirola, who was in need of additional seat time. Almirola went on to win the race.
Earnhardt was looking forward to competing in the final Camping World East series race, originally scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 26. The race was impacted by Tropical Storm Kyle and had to be postponed to this weekend.
And then it happened again. Jeffrey Earnhardt was again yanked out of his ride and will sit out the final race at Stafford Motor Speedway.
DEI Driver Development Director Mike Greci confirmed that Earnhardt has been replaced by Ryan Truex, and if you think that name is familiar, you are right. Ryan is the younger brother of Martin Truex Jr., the remaining DEI Cup driver with a sponsor.
So, is Teresa Earnhardt now focusing on ruining the career of yet another Earnhardt heir? Is this the end of the Earnhardt driving legacy under the DEI banner?
Or perhaps this was the only "deal" that could be made with Martin Truex, Jr. in order to keep him at DEI?
Jeffrey Earnhardt most certainly deserves a chance to prove himself and to determine if those racing genes of his grandfather truly have been passed on to him.
It appears that fans will now have to wait until 2009 to see if the legacy will live on.