STARTER: You just raced your first Cup Series at Talladega – can you tell us about what that was like?
JEFFREY: It was exciting to say the least. My feeling before that race was probably the most nervous I’ve been in years. There were so many firsts that day that my adrenaline was pumping 3 days early. We had a strong car and we were able to run in the top 15 with ease. Racing has a lot to do with things outside of your control so when the other car took us out it was unfortunate but we finished on the lead lap and did our best to put on a good show for the fans.
STARTER: What is prepping for a big race like for you?
JEFFREY: There’s usually a lot of routine things you have to do as a driver to be ready. I eat healthy and do a lot of exercise on race week to make sure I’m physically 100%. I like to load up on Pedialyte and try to ease the mood with my team so we’re all on the same page for the race.
STARTER: Do you have any special rituals?
JEFFREY: Not really. I’m not a superstitious person so I don’t have anything that jumps to mind as being a ritual. I say a prayer and make sure I have some Trident original to chew. Other than that I just do my thing.
STARTER: What was your reaction to getting the call from Starter looking to sponsor you for your upcoming NASCAR races?
JEFFREY: It’s no secret that I’ve been working hard to get to Sprint Cup. My last name is Earnhardt but I don’t get any assistance or hand outs from my family. Everything I do is because of the support of my sponsors and team. When Starter became our partner I knew we were taking the next step in my career. They’re a world famous brand with so much history in professional sports. I’m thrilled to be the Starter driver!
STARTER: How has it been partnering with the iconic sports brand so far?
JEFFREY: It’s outstanding. Starter is the perfect sponsor for me because I feel like I’m an old school driver. I hang out with the fans before and after races and I like the idea of those fans wearing the same stuff I wear. We’ve already shared some cool ideas with the people at Starter and I’m really looking forward to what the future brings.
STARTER: You’re the fourth generation in a legendary NASCAR family. Can you tell us about how that has influenced your racing career?
JEFFREY: I’ve said it before and consider it a great blessing, so many other kids grew up loving spiderman or superman or wonder woman, I had a real life super hero with my grandpa. He literally represented everything I wanted to be when I grew up. Our family has been driving since my great grandfather so to be the 4th generation driver from our family is very special to me and I am working hard to get competitive and give the fans a reason to cheer.
STARTER: What is your first memory of when you knew you wanted to be a race car driver?
JEFFREY: Probably running around in the go carts. I used to watch my grandpa and pretend I was him running the carts. I knew from an early age this is what I wanted to do.
STARTER: Doug Richert crew chiefed for your grandfather when he won his championship, and then for you at Talladega. Can you tell us about how that full-circle experience was?
JEFFREY: Talladega really took on a life of it’s own. Getting Starter onboard to make it happen was really cool. Then to find out that Doug was going to be the crew chief was the cherry on the sundae. I got to know him a little better during race weekend and he was everything I could ask for in a crew chief. He calmed me down and gave me confidence throughout the race. I can see why he won the championship with my grandpa when he was such a young crew chief. He has that sixth sense to bring patience to the driver. I really appreciated him being in my corner.
STARTER: Coming from a family with a ton of race car experience, what is the best advice you’ve received from a family member in your time racing so far?
JEFFREY: I won’t say a family members given me any advice that really sticks in my mind. The thing I hang onto most is my grandpa’s work ethic and competitiveness. He busted his butt to earn his seat and become a champion. That’s what keeps me going when things get tough. Just keep digging and never let up.
STARTER: What is a piece of advice you would tell someone looking to get into the sport?
JEFFREY: There are a lot of talented drivers out there but this sport requires a lot of money to be competitive. So I think the one thing people should keep in mind is to enjoy what they do because they enjoy it. It’s like the high school athlete. Don’t worry about the college scholarship or making D1 ball. Do your best and make that day’s experience the best it can be because there’s no guarantees. If you bust your butt in todays game or race hopefully the hard work will pay off. But have fun!
STARTER: Outside of race car driving, what can we find you doing in your downtime?
JEFFREY: If I’m not behind the wheel of a race car I’m probably in a boat, duck blind or treestand. I’m an avid outdoorsman and love hunting, fishing and just being outdoors in general.
STARTER: What is one thing your fans might not know about you?
JEFFREY: I regularly hang out at the track in the infield with the fans during race weekends. Lots of times we’ll swing into the infield and have a few beers with the fans. They like to share stories and I’ve made some great friends over the years. I think this is what the sports missing and I hope to bring it back to what fans expect when they come to a NASCAR race. People don’t want fences and rope lines. They want to hang out and be friends. I’m all for it.
STARTER: 2016 has been a huge year for you, what exciting things can we look forward to seeing from you in 2017?
JEFFREY: We’re working hard to improve our competitiveness. This year gave me a lot of experience and now I need to take the next step and help a team work on something for everyone’s future. I look at the Furniture Row model and that’s what I want to participate in. A long term plan that develops over the course of a season or two and gets us winning races and competing for a championship. Starter is a key player in that program and I can’t wait to get to Homestead this weekend to get back behind the wheel of the Starter car.